There’s a lot to keep track of at this stage in your toddler’s life. For instance, are you planning to send your child to school? The best 3-year-old preschools focus on play and socialization; kids learn by exploring and interacting. They also gradually learn how to wait their turn, stand in line and follow rules—essential skills that will help throughout your child’s school career.
In our guide below, we provide advice on everything from 34-month-old milestones to suggested activities. We tackle sleep schedules, typical 34-month-old behavior, meal ideas and more. Whether your toddler has become a hilarious comedian or bossy tyrant seemingly overnight, keep reading for the tips and tricks you need to navigate this exciting—and sometimes challenging—stage.
In this article:
Activities for a 34-month-old
34-month-old baby checklist and tips
You'll probably notice your 34-month-old is getting taller and looks less chubby as they near their third birthday.
34-Month-Old Weight & Height
Average weight for a 34-month-old is around 30.1 pounds for girls and 31.1 pounds for boys. Average height is around 36.6 inches for girls and 37.0 inches for boys, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“What should my 34-month-old be doing?,” you ask? Your toddler is on the go, making major strides in their physical and mental development every day. Keep an eye out, as they’ll soon begin hitting these 34-month-old milestones:
- Speech. By now, strangers should be able to understand most of the words your child says, which probably totals somewhere between 200 and 450. Your child should be able to follow three- or four-step directions.
- Motor skills. Around age 3, most kids can walk up and down stairs, jump, do simple puzzles and pedal a tricycle. Whilst walking, they should be swinging their arms opposite of their legs (this is called a synchronous gait).
- Self-care. Your child is working on learning to undress and feed themselves.
- Potty training. Some 34-month-olds are fully potty trained, and some won't be ready until they're 3 or 4. If yours is still wearing training pants, there's no need to rush it. Every kid learns at their own pace. But talking up the potty in a positive way and reading children's books about potty training certainly could help.
- Bossiness. Got a little tyrant at home? Your 34-month-old thinks the world revolves around them—you can't change that just yet. But you can teach them to speak kindly, say please and to not order everyone around.
- Short attention span. Don't worry too much about ADHD at this age. Two-year-olds are normally pretty distractible and want to follow their own agenda.
- Sense of humor. Your little one is learning what's funny and what's not, making just about every task a little more entertaining for everyone. Let yourself get a little silly at times too.
Health is always a top concern for parents, and this age is no different. Some common health questions parents of 34-month-olds have are:
- My 34-month-old has diarrhea. What should I do?
- My 34-month-old is constipated. What should I do?
- My 34-month-old is throwing up. What should I do?
- My 34-month old has a cough. What should I do?
- My 34-month-old has a fever. What should I do?
Feeding your child a well-rounded diet full of many nutrients will help fuel your 34-month-old's growth and brain and physical development.
How Much Should My 34-Month-Old Be Eating?
Two-year-olds should continue to eat three meals per day, plus two snacks. Offer your toddler a variety of foods in all food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy—daily. Portion size isn't big at this age: Expect your kid to eat only ¼ to ½ as much as an adult.
Your 2-year-old should be drinking 1 percent or skim milk (not whole milk). Try to offer low-fat dairy products too, such as yogurt and cheese. Doctors recommend kids ages one to 3 get 700 mg of calcium per day. Fat should account for less than 30 percent of your toddler's daily calories.
What to Feed My 34-Month-Old
Looking for some tasty and nutritious meal inspiration? Check out these food ideas for a 2-year-old:
34-Month-Old Feeding Schedule
34-Month-Old Eating Problems
It's common for kids this age to overdo it with milk and juice. Because of the calories in these drinks, having too many of them could put a child at risk for obesity. Experts recommend 16 ounces of milk per day and 4 ounces or less of juice per day. And skip the soda.
Thirty-four-month-olds sure need a lot of sleep, but that doesn't mean they actually want to go to bed.
How Much Sleep Does a 34-Month-Old Need?
Most 2-year-olds need around 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep, plus a nap of about 1.5 to 3 hours, for a total of about 13 to 14 hours of sleep per day.
34-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
Every kid is different, but your child's schedule may look something like this:
It's good for a 34-month-old to have a mix of solo play, play with a parent and play with someone their own age.
Wondering what to do with a 34-month-old? Fun activities, games and toys for a 34-month-old include:
- Drawing. Show your 34-month-old how to draw a circle and see if they can do it. Once they’ve mastered that skill, you can draw faces together and move on to other shapes, too.
- Puzzles. It's a fun challenge for a 34-month-old to put together simple puzzles.
- Play dates. As your child becomes more interested in making friends and playing with kids their own age, you'll want to give them opportunities to do that. Kids this age still need help and practice in sharing and taking turns.
- Anticipating a change in routine? Give plenty of advance warning. And be prepared to repeat, “You’re right. Usually we do it that way, but today we’re going to do it this way,” at least two or three dozen times.
- Your child's screen time should still be limited. Your child learns better through hands-on play, and you simply don't want your kid to get into the bad habit of too much TV or tablet time. Encourage old-school play as much as possible, with small spurts of screen time.
- If you haven’t already, begin exploring preschool options. Speak with other parents and explore your local schools. But it’s not a necessity to enroll your kid yet if you don’t feel they’re ready. You know best whether or not they are.
- By the time they’re 34 months old, many toddlers have all—or most of—their baby teeth in place. That means it’s time to schedule a dentist appointment. At this stage, toddlers should start seeing a dentist for cleanings every six months. Even if baby doesn’t have all their teeth yet, it’s a good idea to have a professional check on their progress and ensure everything looks healthy.
- Toddlers around this age are beginning to grasp spatial concepts, like “on,” “under” and “in.” Practice these with your 34-month-old by encouraging them to put their toy “in” a basket or to place their cup “on” the table. You can gradually start introducing more complex ideas like “next to” or “beside.”
- Has your 34-month-old baby introduced you to a new imaginary friend? That’s totally normal behavior at this age. These imaginary friends can offer your child comfort and security. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Simply let your toddler enjoy the fantasy. Many children grow out of this phase by the time they turn 6 years old.
- Continue to encourage your 34-month-old’s imagination. Help them build skyscrapers with building blocks and create masterpieces with Play-Doh. It’s also a great time to begin working on drawing shapes and lines together.
- If your toddler is beginning to resist naps, it might be time to transition out of them. Do it gradually, and don’t be surprised if you have a cranky toddler on your hands for a bit. To help ease this transition, try moving your child’s bedtime up earlier.
- Some children begin developing a fear of the dark around this age—and with that may come a fear of monsters too. Work on making bedtime a peaceful experience, provide a stuffed animal for support and security and consider investing in a night light. Be considerate of your toddler’s fears and avoid teasing them about it.
In just two months, you’ll be celebrating your toddler’s third birthday! Where has the time gone? For now, make the most of this age and keep an eye out for all the exciting 34-month-old milestones this month.
Medical content was reviewed by Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.