Why Twos Aren't So Terrible

They Actually Want to Help

Maybe you've always wanted an extra helping hand around the house. Well, if you're lucky enough to have a 2-year-old, you'll get service with a smile. Why? "Toddlers love to imitate their parents," says Owen Lewis, M.D., vice president for education and research at the Children's Mental Health Alliance, in New York City. "Even better, they really want to please them."

Happily, at this developmental stage, 2-year-olds' motor and cognitive skills have matured to the point where they can help with simple tasks, such as gathering socks to put in the washing machine.

Then again, there are times when a toddler's ability to help far exceeds a parent's expectations. Just ask Kristine Brown. "One day, when I was in our backyard with Carson, I fell and punctured my foot. My husband was out of earshot, so I told Carson to go into the house to get help from Daddy."

The 2-year-old took off through the yard, calling for his father, who rushed out and drove his mother to the hospital. "If Carson hadn't been on hand to alert his dad, I could have been out there for hours," says Brown. So the next time your toddler begs to help, let him -- even if it initially seems more trouble than it's worth. You never know when he'll come in handy.

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