How parents should take care their child during its 2nd and 3rd year of life

The 2nd and 3rd year of a child’s life are crucial for their physical, mental, social and emotional development. During this period, children learn to walk, talk, explore, play and interact with others. They also develop their personality, self-esteem, curiosity and creativity. As parents, you can support your child’s development by providing them with a healthy, balanced diet, a stimulating and safe environment, and a loving and nurturing relationship. Here are some tips on how to do so:

  • Provide a healthy, balanced diet: Children need a variety of foods from all the main food groups to get the nutrients they need for growth and development. These include grains and other starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, protein foods, dairy or fortified soy alternatives, and healthy fats. Children need about 1,000–1,400 calories a day, depending on their age, size and activity level. You can use the following points as a guide for how much food to offer your child from each food group. [description]
    • Grains: 3–5 ounces (1 ounce = 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta)
    • Fruits: 1–1½ cups (1 cup = 1 small apple or banana or 8 large strawberries)
    • Vegetables: 1–1½ cups (1 cup = 1 large carrot or 2 cups of raw leafy greens)
    • Protein foods: 2–4 ounces (1 ounce = 1 egg or ¼ cup of cooked beans or tofu or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter)
    • Dairy or fortified soy alternatives: 2 cups (1 cup = 1 cup of milk or yogurt or 1½ ounces of cheese)

    How parents should take care their child during its 2nd and 3rd year of life

  • Offer foods that are rich in iron, calcium and vitamin D: These are important nutrients for your child’s health. Iron helps prevent anemia and supports brain development. Calcium and vitamin D help build strong bones and teeth. Some good sources of iron are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, dried fruits and fortified cereals. Some good sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese, paneer, soy milk, tofu, green leafy vegetables and sesame seeds. Some good sources of vitamin D are sunlight exposure (with appropriate sun protection), fortified milk and cereals, eggs and fish. [description]
  • Limit foods that are high in sugar, salt or fat: These foods can cause dental problems, obesity and other health issues. Avoid giving your child sweets, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, chips, fried foods and soft drinks. Instead, offer them fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, roasted makhanas or homemade snacks as occasional treats. [description]
  • Encourage your child to drink water: Water is the best drink for your child as it keeps them hydrated and prevents constipation. Limit your child’s intake of juice to no more than 4 ounces (120 ml) a day as it can cause tooth decay and fill up their stomachs. Avoid giving your child tea, coffee or other caffeinated drinks as they can interfere with their sleep and appetite. [description]
  • Provide a stimulating and safe environment: Children learn through play and exploration. They need opportunities to use their senses, muscles and brains to discover new things and develop new skills. You can provide your child with a stimulating and safe environment by:
    • Giving them age-appropriate toys that challenge their imagination and creativity. For example, blocks, puzzles, dolls, cars, books and musical instruments.
    • Providing them with natural materials that they can touch, smell, taste and manipulate. For example, sand, water, clay, leaves and flowers.
    • Encouraging them to play outdoors where they can enjoy fresh air and sunshine. For example, in the park, garden or playground.
    • Supervising them closely to prevent accidents and injuries. For example, by keeping sharp objects, small items, electrical appliances, medicines and poisonous substances out of their reach.
  • Provide a loving and nurturing relationship: Children need love, affection and attention from their parents to feel secure and confident. You can provide your child with a loving and nurturing relationship by:
    • Spending quality time with them every day. For example, by reading to them, singing to them, playing with them and cuddling them.
    • Listening to them and talking to them in a warm and respectful manner. For example, by asking them questions, praising them for their efforts, explaining things to them and apologizing to them when you make a mistake.
    • Setting clear and consistent rules and boundaries for their behavior. For example, by telling them what they can and cannot do, giving them choices and consequences, and following through with rewards and punishments.
    • Respecting their individuality and supporting their interests. For example, by acknowledging their feelings, preferences and opinions, encouraging their talents and hobbies, and exposing them to different cultures and languages.

By following these tips, you can help your child develop in the best possible way during the 2nd and 3rd year of their life. Remember that every child is unique and develops at their own pace. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, talk to your doctor or a child development specialist.