Having a two-year-old in the family

“He’s only two..”

And yes two-year olds have their own set of rules that we can ONLY laugh about years later.

Two-year-olds don’t know etiquette – they don’t have the verbal, cognitive, emotional or social skills to get what being a good friend or sibling looks like.

I often get asked (or rather told) “How can I expect my two-year-old to share when developmentally he just can’t? When he takes something from his big brother, I just explain that his little brother is just a baby and he doesn’t know better!” True but then I ask, “Who gets to play with the toy at that point?” They answer, “The baby because it is too much work to try to explain it to him.”


It is never too early to teach manners and kindness. Even if your two-year-old looks at you with a blank stare or even responds with a full-blown tantrum you need to show him/her that taking something away from someone else is not O.K. You can and should talk to your children even before you think they can understand you!

Here’s how:

Stating what you see in a pleasant way.

To your eldest child (victim):“Uh-oh. It looks like Jake really liked the toy you were just playing with but it is not OK for him to take it from you.”

Stating in a kind, yet firm way.

To your two-year-old: “Noah was using this toy. It is not OK for you to take it from him. We need to give it back. Maybe (looking lovingly at your eldest) Noah will give you a turn later.” Gently take the toy and hand it back to your eldest.

When you do this your children will be clear that you expect kindness from EVERYONE in the house.


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