Toddlers bring so much joy to our lives. They are energetic bundles of sweetness and any parent of a toddler will understand how incredibly rewarding this stage of childhood is. However, toddlers also have a bad rep for being … well, bad.
Despite their pure innocence, their good intentions, their adorable nature and their hilarious antics, toddlers often have a hard time staying in control. They cry at the drop of a hat, tantrum at the most inappropriate times and argue about pretty much anything, from the colour of the cup you give them to whether a nap is required or not.
Toddlerhood is often seen as one of the most challenging stages in parenting and here are the reasons behind what makes toddlers, well, toddlers.
Toddlers are emotional little firecrackers
While adults have the ability to identify negative emotions, such as sadness, frustration, anger and jealousy, and act accordingly (most of the time), toddler’s don’t.
They need help to regulate these emotions and be taught how to react.
It won’t happen overnight. Actually, it probably will be something you constantly work at, but, in time, they will start to understand that there are better ways to vent their frustration than screaming, biting, kicking or tantruming (is that a word?) in the car park.
Toddlers are often overwhelmed with life
It’s not just emotions that can be overwhelming to a toddler. Life can be pretty crazy too. There is so much to discover that it’s easy to become overstimulated.
Again, it’s up to us to teach them how to relax and take a break.
Include plenty of down time, a strict sleep schedule and quiet play in their daily routines to help them wind down rather than melt down. After all, the world will still be there to explore after nap time. And it’s so much more fun exploring when you’ve both had a bit of a break.
Toddlers have a lot of energy!
It seems impossible for such a pint-sized person to exert so much energy day in and day out, but studies have confirmed that the most active time in anyone’s life is around the age of two.
This could explain why it takes mums three cups of coffee (okay, five) just to stay on par with the little ones’ stamina.
Sometimes, toddlers like to take things slowly
Although they’re are little balls of energy, they often prefer to take the road less travelled. And, on this road, it is only natural to want to stop to touch every single bug, piece of grass and flower they stumble across.
Embrace this slow pace, even if it takes three hours to walk down the driveway. Sometimes it’s nice to stop, smell the roses, and take it all in (over and over and over again).
Toddlers progress at their own pace
So (please) stop comparing. It’s hard when every mother wants to discuss their child’s progress, but try to focus on your own child’s journey. Every child will be different and this is the case with pretty much everything – from learning to speak to learning to use the toilet, from transferring to a sippy cup to transferring to a big bed, from giving up the breast to giving up the dummy.
It doesn’t matter when they reach each milestone, as long as they are making progress and enjoying the adventure along the way.
And, most importantly, toddlers aren’t trying to annoy you.
Toddlers just really love being with you. All the time. Period.
While they have the ability to play, to explore and to perform certain tasks on their own, the truth is, it’s more fun when you are there.
To your toddler, you are more than just mum – you are their guide through life, their personal cheerleading squad, safety net and best friend. Truth be told, you are their everything.
While one day your toddler will be ready to explore the world without you, they’re probably not quite ready just yet. So, for now, accept (and embrace) the fact that there is no one your toddler would rather be with than with you.
Need more help with the terrible twos/threes? Here’s an article on surviving a toddler tantrum.