A two year old has been labeled far too much! You’ve heard the phrase “terrible two.” Well, take a closer look at your child and perhaps the label should read “terrific two.” The two year old has just come from doubling his birth rate in the first year of life to learning words along with their meanings. Wow! That is a lot to take in. As a two year old, his quest for understanding often comes with wanting to know “why” something works, what made it happen that way, when can I do it, and how can I do it. So much of the experiences in his life to this point can be shaped by environment and nurturing. Every experience builds on a previous understanding. In my world that is pretty TERRIFIC! Yes, your child is marvelously made by God.
Now, how does all this affect the teacher of a two year old? Every teacher has an understanding of what normal, typical behavior and development might be for a two year old. How can a teacher adequately meet the needs of the child as they teach from a biblical perspective? Yes, God did create the child with the capacity to learn about Him. Let’s begin to look at how a teacher can do this with excitement and joy!
The spiritual development of a two year old might include:
- Enjoying holding a Bible, turning its pages, and looking at pictures in the Bible
- Recognizing the Bible as a special book
- Hearing songs about God and Jesus
- Responding to love and patience shown by adults
- Experiencing delight in the interesting things he sees in the natural world God made
The two year old will enjoy using her body to explore the world around her. Running, jumping, and climbing will not be unusual. Being mobile allows her to take in more around her. The two year old has come from parallel play (playing alongside other children) to actually engaging in play with others. You might even see a little “I want what the other person is playing with.” The child is learning to take cues from others in order to learn how to be with others. The idea of playing and engaging with others is critical to the child’s healthy emotional development.
Below are some teaching tips that might come in handy as you plan and engage a two year old.
- Use the child’s name frequently when you sing or talk with him.
- Be consistent as you model behavior.
- Provide opportunities to make choices.
- Reassure the child when he is anxious for his parents to arrive.
- Incorporate Bible conversations, verses, and songs throughout the session.
- Display and use the Bible.
Remember that every two year old does not develop in the same way or at the same time. Be patient and learn to redirect behavior. A child’s mind can change on a dime.
Most of all have fun with the child this age. You are important to him as he builds a relationship with you. He will learn to trust you and trust what you say as you share truths from the Bible. That is the reason you teach.