What should my 2-year-old’s play look like?

The best way to describe typical 2-year-old play is that they are an onlooker or a spectator. Children at this age are interested in what other children are doing, often watching them and perhaps talking about what they are doing. They do not yet, however, engage in play with another child. Most 2-year-olds also do not understand how to share or take turns.

Children at this age can begin to imitate pretend play actions (e.g. giving a teddy bear a cup of tea) and start treating toys as though they were animate beings (i.e. a doll is treated as though it were a real baby). Children learn best when they lead play, so let them sometimes forge ahead and follow them to see where the play goes!

If you have any concerns about your child’s play skills, a good starting point is your Maternal Child and Health Nurse or GP. If further support is required, the team at the Centre for Child Development is also here to help!

Olivia Smith is an endorsed Educational and Developmental Psychologist and is a strong believer in the importance of working collaboratively with families and other professionals to ensure a holistic approach to child wellbeing. She is passionate about advocating for and working with children presenting with anxiety and/or neurodiversity (e.g. ASD, ADHD and specific learning disorders) and their families. Olivia strives to make therapy sessions engaging, effective and applicable to everyday life, and views the relationship between child and therapist as key to success.

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