The Developmental Crisis of Being Two Years Old

The Developmental Crisis of Being Two Years Old

In the Montessori approach, we acknowledge developmental crises at different stages of our children's life. These are life’s check-in points that ensure we’re ready to move on to the next stage of development. 

If you can recognize that your child is moving through one of these periods, it will make it easier to offer them the support they need. 

Birth is our first developmental crisis as we are thrust into an unfamiliar world and have to adjust our senses to everything around us. Weaning is another. As your child starts eating food, suddenly what and when he brings it to his mouth is in his control much more than it was with a breast or bottle.

One of the most notable developmental crisis is ego-formation, also known as the oppositional phase. Or what your parents might call The Terrible Twos.

At this stage, your child is a clear individual, and recognizes their influence on the environment. This phase also coincides with language development and is characterized by lots of “no,” “me,” and “mine.” This is the first time in your child’s life that he or she is affirming their identity.

Montessori Language Set In the video we are sharing today, you'll learn more about what you can do to support your child during this phase.
  • Replace Yes or No questions, which invite a "No", with two-choice questions such as "Would you like the red shirt or the blue shirt?"
  • Use statements when "No" is not an acceptable answer. (Why do we find ourselves asking "Would you like to get ready for your nap?") A useful statement is, "We will read one more book and then we will lay down to begin relaxing."
  • Remember this is an exciting time for your child and that we want to encourage them as they develop their verbal abilities.

WATCH: Navigating No: Your Child's Developmental Crisis

The best way to work in harmony with your two-year-old is to think about what needs they have that are not being met. Being hungry or tired are common explanations for behavior that we can address by offering a snack or quiet time. Often the unmet need is to exercise independence. 

Offering a challenging task might help your child focus and gain a sense of empowerment. You might ask them to help you with something or show them how much you value their abilities. 

"I have so many things to carry. I can't do it all by myself. Do you think you can help me with one of these things so I don't drop anything?"

"I  think when we get to the park, we might want a snack. Should we bring one? Will you hold this container and I  will pour crackers into it?"

Read more: 10 Montessori Activities for 2-Year Olds


ABOUT MONTI KIDS: Learn more about how we enable Montessori learning at home with a subscription program that helps you provide the right materials and environment at the right stage for your baby or toddler.

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