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Knowing What's Next

Cameron Muir of South Seaville, NJ, likes to be ahead of the action. The 2-year-old has lunch after music class, so she announces, Eat! Eat! ¿ during the goodbye song. And she says, Uh-oh, ¿ a few pages before Grover sees the monster at the end of the book.

Around 2, your child can remember what he did yesterday well enough to look forward to it today. Routines are comforting, and it's a thrill to be right about what comes next, says Margaret Sheridan, Ph.D., a professor of human development at Connecticut College in New London. To play along:

[BOLD {* Let him predict the future.}] He'll love to show off, so ask him, What do we do after lunch? ¿

[BOLD {* But don't ignore the present.}] If he's so busy announcing the next song on the CD, he may miss out on the one playing now. Tell him, That's right, the ¿Alphabet Song' is next; now let's listen to the ¿Itsy-Bitsy Spider.' ¿

[BOLD {* Give him something new to anticipate.}] When he's mastered what comes next in his favorite book, open a new one and ask him what he thinks will happen next. Pretty soon, he'll know  -- and you'll hear about it!