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Bright Futures Parent Handout: 2 Year Visit


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Here are some suggestions from Bright Futures experts that may be of value to your family.

How Your Family is Doing

  • Take time for yourself and your partner.

  • Stay in touch with friends.

  • Make time for family activities. Spend time with each child.

  • Teach your child not to hit, bite, or hurt other people. Be a role model.

  • If you feel unsafe in your home or have been hurt by someone, let us know. Hotlines and community resources can also provide confidential help.

  • Don't smoke or use e-cigarettes. Keep your home and car smoke-free. Tobacco-free spaces keep children healthy.

  • Don't use alcohol or drugs.

  • Accept help from family and friends.

  • If you are worried about your living or food situation, reach out for help. Community agencies and programs such as WIC and SNAP can provide information and assistance.

Your Child's Behavior

  • Praise your child when he does what you ask him to do.

  • Listen to and respect your child. Expect others to as well.

  • Help your child talk about his feelings.

  • Watch how he responds to new people or situations.

  • Read, talk, sing, and explore together. These activities are the best ways to help toddlers learn.

  • Limit TV, tablet, or smartphone use to no more than 1 hour of high-quality programs each day.

    • It is better for toddlers to play than to watch TV.

    • Encourage your child to play for up to 60 minutes a day.

  • Avoid TV during meals. Talk together instead.

Talking and Your Child

  • Use clear, simple language with your child. Don't use baby talk.

  • Talk slowly and remember that it may take a while for your child to respond. Your child should be able to follow simple instructions.

  • Read to your child every day. Your child may love hearing the same story over and over.

  • Talk about and describe pictures in books.

  • Talk about the things you see and hear when you are together.

  • Ask your child to point to things as you read.

  • Stop a story to let your child make an animal sound or finish a part of the story.

Toilet Training

  • Begin toilet training when your child is ready. Signs of being ready for toilet training include

    • Staying dry for 2 hours

    • Knowing if she is wet or dry

    • Can pull pants down and up

    • Wanting to learn

    • Can tell you if she is going to have a bowel movement

  • Plan for toilet breaks often. Children use the toilet as many as 10 times each day.

  • Teach your child to wash her hands after using the toilet.

  • Clean potty-chairs after every use.

  • Take the child to choose underwear when she feels ready to do so.


  • Make sure your child's car safety seat is rear facing until he reaches the highest weight or height allowed by the car safety seat's manufacturer. Once your child reaches these limits, it is time to switch the seat to the forward-facing position.

  • Make sure the car safety seat is installed correctly in the back seat. The harness straps should be snug against your child's chest.

  • Children watch what you do. Everyone should wear a lap and shoulder seat belt in the car.

  • Never leave your child alone in your home or yard, especially near cars or machinery, without a responsible adult in charge.

  • When backing out of the garage or driving in the driveway, have another adult hold your child a safe distance away so he is not in the path of your car.

  • Have your child wear a helmet that fits properly when riding bikes and trikes.

  • If it is necessary to keep a gun in your home, store it unloaded and locked with the ammunition locked separately.

What to Expect at Your Child's 2½ Year Visit

We will talk about

  • Creating family routines

  • Supporting your talking child

  • Getting along with other children

  • Getting ready for preschool

  • Keeping your child safe at home, outside, and in the car

The information contained in this handout should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. Original handout included as part of the Bright Futures Tool and Resource Kit, 2nd Edition.

Listing of resources does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of external resources. Information was current at the time of publication.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not review or endorse any modifications made to this handout and in no event shall the AAP be liable for any such changes.

© 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.




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