2 to 3 years

Children at 2–3 years of age are learning about themselves and what they want and don’t want.

Title: Your Child: Two to Three Years. Episode 11 of 15.

Title: Kanae & Steve’s Whānau

[Shots of the inside of Kanae and Steve’s home.]

Steve (voice-over): Children are so curious about the world and I think, when we're in this environment with all these new things for the kids to see and learn about, of course they have so many questions. They want to touch everything and find out what it's all about. It’s wonderful to be a part of that learning experience.

[Shot of Kaila.]

Title: Kaila, 2 years old

[Interview with Kanae and Steve.]

Kanae: My name is Kanae and I'm originally from Japan, and I've been living here for over twelve years now.

Steve: Hi, I'm Steve and I was born in New Zealand. Kanae and I have been together for ten years now, and we now have two beautiful children – Hugo, who is four years old, and Kaila, who's just turned two, and we also have one baby due in the middle of the year.

[Shots of Kanae and Steve’s children playing.]

Steve (voice-over): I think that children have a lot of fun in the house, just playing together. It's really wonderful to see the children with so much laughter, and joyfully chasing around each other, and interacting with each other.

[Carmen arrives at Kanae and Steve’s house.]

[Interview with Carmen.]

Title: Carmen Timu-Parata, Well Child Tamariki Ora Nurse

Carmen: Ko wai au? Ko Carmen Timu-Parata te ingoa. Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou kātoa. My role is that I am a Tamariki Ora Well Child Nurse. I’m undertaking visits into the home, doing an assessment of the child's health.

[Carmen sits with Kanae and Steve at the kitchen table.]

Carmen: How's her nutrition? What's she eating at the moment?

[Interview with Kanae and Steve.]

Kanae: We feel we are well supported by our Well Child Nurses. They are here to support – not only for the baby, but everyone in the family. I really appreciate the holistic kind of support.

[Interview with Carmen.]

Carmen: Often it is someone to say, you're actually doing a really good job, that can help you. Often there are issues around safety – making sure that she's safe, not only in the home, but also when she's outside.

[Kaila opens the mailbox and puts her head inside.]

Carmen (voice-over): Anything that's within reach, they'll be wanting to explore.

[Kanae and Steve cross the road with their children.]

Kanae (voice-over): When we cross the road, I normally make sure that I have Hugo's hand in one hand, and Kaila's hand in the other hand.

[Steve opens the bathroom cupboard to show the safety latch.]

Steve (voice-over): Ways that we try and minimise the risks around the house for the children – especially with Kaila as a two-year-old, she's very interested in looking around things. And we do have a cabinet where we keep cleaning products, which has a latch on it, which means that it's safe.

[Kaila eats a sliced pear.]

Kanae (voice-over): We normally feed them very healthy snacks – trying to put in lots of veggies.

[Interview with Kanae and Steve.]

Steve: It's wonderful to come home and have dinner together and the children eat salad. I think that's a really good sign.

Kanae: For me, the biggest thing is for them to have great habits from the very beginning.

[Interview with Carmen.]

Carmen: There's lots of changes in the child's teeth at the moment. It's really important that you clean them twice a day with a toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste.

[Interview with Kanae.]

Kanae: Normally, I have to use some kind of activities or games for them to happily engage with brushing teeth.

[Interview with Carmen.]

Carmen: Often, temper tantrums can be an issue, so it's really important to know that this can be quite normal behaviour at this stage. Just stay positive with your child.

[Shots of Kaila screaming and Kanae comforting her.]

Kanae (voice-over): So when Kaila has a tantrum, I normally try to verbalise how she might be feeling. At that point, she tends to feel that I'm trying to understand her. She calms down quite a bit then.

[Interview with Kanae and Steve.]

Steve: I think our aspirations for bringing up children is for them to be happy, ultimately. We want to provide a supportive environment where they can really bring out the best of themselves. We hope that in the future they'll be able to make positive contributions to society and the people around them. Through raising children, we really want to try and instil positive values that will be a foundation for them as they grow older.

Title: Our thanks to the families and health workers who appeared in this video for the Ministry of Health. Find out more about pregnancy and child health on www.health.govt.nz/yourhealth.

In this video, we meet Kanae and Steve and their two children, Kaila and Hugo. Kaila is 2 years old. Find out what Kanae and Steve enjoy most about being parents and their hopes for their children.

Your child will like to be helpful and to spend time with you. Their behaviour may change and they may start to have tantrums. Managing your child’s behaviour can be difficult at times, so ask for help when you need it.  

Most children will be ready to start learning to use the toilet any time between about 20 months and about 3 years. Not all children are ready at the same age.

Fussy or picky eating is common in children under 5 years – but most children will eat when they are hungry. 

Click on the links below to find out about caring for your child at 2–3 years of age.

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