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Month 23

It’s almost time for your baby's 2nd birthday! Who would have thought that time could fly by so fast? You'll have more to look forward to once your child passes the 2-year mark, but until then help your little one grow and develop by offering him or her lots of love and affection tempered by discipline and understanding.

Mental Development
As your child approaches his or her Terrible Twos, arm yourself with patience and understanding and recruit your spouse to aid you in looking after your little one. Since this is part of your child's normal behavioral development, try to stay calm in the face of outbursts and tantrums and take proper disciplinary measures when necessary. Your little ones might begin biting, hitting and pushing when they're feeling frustrated or angry, as they still can't control their impulses. You're going to have to put your foot down and let your children know that biting and violent behavior is not acceptable, and then show them ways to express what they are feeling to limit their frustration.

Give your toddlers plenty of opportunities to engage in "unstructured" play, where they can play with blocks, age-appropriate jigsaw puzzles, and props like toy telephones and kitchen sets. This is good for developing their budding imagination. Your toddler may begin using short sentences, like "Juice all gone", and will be able to answer simple questions like "what is your name?" They should also begin understanding opposites such as "short" and "tall", "big" and "small".

Physical Development
Your children's fine motor skills should have improved enough by now to enable them to put together a simple 3- to 6-piece jigsaw puzzle. They should also be more adept at getting dressed and undressed, as well as drawing circles and lines. Your little one might also be better at building a tower of 6 or more blocks, and is coordinated enough to press "pop" beads together or string large wooden beads on a cord. Give your toddler the opportunity to fine-tune their finger and hand work by letting them scoop up and pour out sand, pour water, and squeeze play dough.

Eating Habits
Don’t' be frustrated if your child can’t seem to decide whether they're hungry or not, as it's normal for their appetite to change from day to day. To make sure your little one gets the most out of what they do eat, resort to feeding them foods that pull double-duty in being nutritious and filling, such as cereal, lean ground beef, eggs, beans, peanut butter, avocado, fruit smoothies, and homemade pizza – that's right, pizza. Such foods are nutrient-rich and will keep your child feeling full for longer hours.

Sleeping Habits
You really need to set regular bedtimes and stick to them if you want your children to get the rest they require to grow into healthy and happy preschoolers. Most toddlers need 11 hours per night of sleep to feel rested the next morning. Don't wait until your children are exhausted to put them to bed, and doing so would leave them feeling cranky and unsatisfied with the sleep they do get.