Children, Youth, Families & Schools, Nebraska Center for Research on


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Crandall, L., Nelson, M., Durden, T., Brand, G., Fox, M., Guzman, J., Poppe, L., Werth, L., & Vonderhoe, R. (2011, November). Ages and Stages: 2- and 3-Year-Olds. NebGuide G2105. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


Copyright University of Nebraska 2011


Two- and three-year-olds are busy, independent, and eager to explore. Learn the milestones of this growth stage and how you can help them develop new and positive skills and abilities.

The life of a two- or three-year-old is exciting, busy, and very demanding. Two-year-olds have grown to be very independent, using favorite words such as “Mine,” “No,” and “I do it!” as they strive for autonomy. When caring for a two- or three-year-old, enthusiasm, patience, and a sense of humor are most important. This is a time when just exploring can look more like trouble-making to an adult. Fair rules are important; a loving consistent firmness teaches your child the rules of your home. This is a great time to capture your child’s eagerness for learning, so rejoice in your child’s new skills, abilities, and accomplishments. Following are several developmental milestones to consider.