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Comfort, Play & Teach: A Positive Approach to Parenting™ helps you encourage your child's social, emotional and intellectual development.
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What to expect and how you can help, as your child grows and develops.
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Social Development: 2 to 3 years

Social Development means being able to make friends and get along with others, to work as part of a team and be a good leader, all of which are built on self-confidence, cooperation and trust.

Emerging Skills
  • Play in a group of children
  • Assert independence (for example, when dressing and undressing)
  • Understand and follow simple rules
  • Greet familiar adults
  • Express preferences about playmates and experiences
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your toddler, 2 to 3 years.


    Through the comfort and responsiveness of an adult, toddlers will learn how to handle their emotions and how to seek help when needed.

    Parents Can:
  • Use everyday experiences to praise and encourage positive behaviour
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to develop social skills
  • Feel good about herself in groups
  • Feel a sense of belonging

  • Parents Can:
  • Offer opportunities to play in water and sand
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy the sensory experience of these materials
  • Enjoy messing about, and creating on his own terms

  • Parents Can:
  • Share a quiet activity together, such as reading a book or watching a favourite TV show
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy spending one-on-one time with you
  • Feel valued because you made time for him

  • Play

    Through opportunities for play, toddlers will experience joyful, free, spontaneous moments of fun while also learning about themselves and others.

    Parents Can:
  • Provide opportunities to play with other children
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy playing in a group
  • Learn about others, and begin to practice playing cooperatively
  • Feel a sense of belonging

  • Parents Can:
  • Take their toddler to the neighbourhood park or playground and support her efforts to play and learn alongside other children
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy activities in a different environment, with others
  • Start to understand the social rules of interaction
  • Experience waiting her turn for equipment, such as swings and slides

  • Parents Can:
  • Introduce simple "let's pretend" games that anticipate typical interactions. For example, "Let's pretend that you're talking to Daddy on the phone" or "Let's pretend we're going to the store for groceries."
  • Child Will:
  • Build on experiences that he has memories of
  • Practice his language skills using his imagination

  • Teach

    Through routines, and emotionally and physically safe and secure environments, toddlers can learn how to think, solve problems and communicate.

    Parents Can:
  • Talk to their toddler about limits in a positive way, saying "Please do this" instead of "Don't do this"
  • Child Will:
  • Be more likely to cooperate and respect limits
  • Be more likely to comply with requests

  • Parents Can:
  • Provide clothing that's easy for their toddler to put on herself
  • Allow their toddler to help choose her clothes for the day
  • Child Will:
  • Be more likely to cooperate with dressing and undressing
  • Feel that her opinions are valued and respected

  • Parents Can:
  • Play simple turn-taking games, such as "Red light, green light"
  • Child Will:
  • Become familiar with games that require rules
  • Practice waiting her turn

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