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Tis the season to make New Years resolutions about losing weight and learning new skills and being overall completely better people than we were last year. I made these goals as well, and yes, they were largely unrealistic. In fact I already screwed them all up. Yay, 2019. But one goal that I had for this January was to set goals for my 2 year old.

Up to this point, I feel my parenting and educating has been…improvised. Okay, so most of parenting is improvisation. But still. Personally, I like having plans, goals, something on which to fix my eyes. So here they are, my realistic, though ambitious, goals for my 2 year old in the New Year.

Why I Set Goals for My Toddler

Obviously, Genny doesn’t care if I have goals for her or not. These are honestly for me. I need to have goals for her so that I can create goals for me. Some of these include making sure that I am devoting enough undivided time to her, reminding me to be patient when she doesn’t understand things, and giving me a place to start when I want to foster more meaningful experiences for her.

What Types of Goals

The term “goals” is so broad, let me be more specific. I believe in “holistic” education. In children (and indeed in adults, too, but I digress),¬†everything¬†is learning. Of course, I don’t expect my toddler to sit down and listen to my 25 minute lesson on vowels and their sounds. As with all goals, these must be realistic, and even more-so because I’m talking about a nearly unstoppable, uncontrollable force: a 2 year old.

The state standards for Early Childhood development are broken into four categories: Physical, Emotional, Language, and Intellectual. While I am ambitious, I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we’re going with these.

Beyond these, the U.S. Department of Education considers these three categories to be “critical” to children’ssuccessin “a variety of settings”. From these, the above 4 more specific categories were created.

  1. Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships)
  2. Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication [and early literacy])
  3. Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

You can read this document for more in-depth explanation of these goals.

State Standards for 2 Year Olds

The state standards for toddlers are based upon classroom settings, so some adaption is needed if you’re applying them to your toddler who stays home. Most states have websites dedicated to early childhood and prekindergarten state standards, and ours is

Goals for My 2 Year Old in the New Year

I chose these skills so I can build educational experiences around them and better support Genny’s learning. Some of them I chose based on observing my little girl and comparing them to state standards. They are by no means exclusive, meaning I’m sure she’ll learn lots of things that I didn’t expect. In fact, it’s positive that will happen.

It’s also probable that she will not meet all these goals, but hey that’s part of realistic goal setting – re-evaluation and adaption. We will review her progress and create new goals/continue to work on old goals as we go. In May or June, I will try and conduct a more longterm re-evaluation.

Physical Goals

  • Learn to pull down her pants when she goes potty and pull them back up when she’s done
  • Be able to put on pants and underwear unassisted
  • Jump into things such as a sandbox
  • Kick a ball towards another person
  • Be able to build a toy vehicle using her building blocks, wheels, and toy screws (Brickyard STEM Engineering Blocks)
  • Tear paper into little pieces
  • Glue pieces onto a paper
  • Fasten/unfasten large buttons
  • Complete an ABC puzzle
  • Cut using safety scissors
  • Draw a picture and dictate what it is


  • Self identify by first and last name
  • Be able to identify the cause of her discontent/why she is upset
  • Include other people/kids in pretend play
  • Share toys with another child (this is the dream, right?)
  • Orchestrate pretend play with other people/kids
  • Regulate her feelings by taking deep breaths when upset or frustrated
  • Retell some events of what happened the same day
  • Refer to herself with “I”


  • Listen quietly when adults near her tell her they have something to say
  • Sing the ABC’s correctly
  • Sing some of her favorite songs
  • Generate words/nonsense words that sound alike (“book”, “look”, “fook”, etc)
  • “Read” familiar books from memory
  • Recall events in familiar books
  • Recognize familiar symbols and shapes (stop signs, familiar store signs, etc.)
  • Draw circular shapes and lines
  • Pretend print when asked to write
  • Spell her first name unassisted
  • Listen to an audiobook and follow along with the pictures
  • Recognize print is read from left to right, top to bottom
  • Understand that letters make words
  • Learn phonograms of 26 letters
  • Follow 3-step directions (first, second, last)
  • Be able to answer who, what, when, where, why questions
  • Identify opposites of common words (tall/short, big/little, etc)
  • Use descriptive words (textures, flavors, feelings, etc)
  • Ask “why” questions
  • Correctly use past/present and possessive tenses
  • Turn each page of a paperback book without tearing the pages
  • Clap syllables of own name


  • Describe animals/bugs, where they might live, what they look like, what they might eat, what they do, etc.
  • Match colors and shapes
  • Sort toys based on common attributes (size, color, shape, type, etc)
  • Identify basic shapes (triangle, circle, square, rectangle, heart, star, etc)
  • Climb to reach something using a stepping stool of some kind
  • Turn puzzle pieces to complete a puzzle
  • One-to-one correspondence up to 5
  • Trade objects with someone else
  • Pretend a doll or stuffed animal has feelings
  • Use toys to pretend different roles
  • Observe and discuss changes in the weather
  • Complete simple AB patterns
  • Play “hide and seek”

How to reach these goals

It sounds like a lot, but all of these skills can be practices and honed at the same time. When I was getting my degree, I learned about and fell in love with Project Based Learning, a model I intend to use throughout Genny’s education. I’ll share these when I can (I already have a couple of fun ideas!). Essentially, PBL is combining many different skills with a topic of interest to the child and allowing her interest guide the direction learning takes.

For example, Genny is interested in bugs, so we might read a book about bugs, talk about their attributes, go outside and document any bugs we can find, play with pretend bugs to create patterns or sorting activities, go to the zoo and record any interesting bugs we find, draw pictures of bugs and hang them up on her wall, etc. All in the timespan of days or weeks, however long we want. The possibilities are endless and so adaptable! It frees me as the instructor to not have to plan a bunch of activities and rather just “go with the flow”.

Anyway, I’m excited about 2019 even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned! At least we have a place to start. Happy New Year, all!

It's good to start the year off with some direction, and that's why I've created this list of achievable goals for my 2 year old this year: physical, linguistic, emotional, and intellectual goals for 2019.
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What goals do you have for your child this year? Share with me below!

Love, Emily XOXO

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