When we think about toddlers, we often dwell on their challenging traits and behaviors: Throwing fits, being picky eaters, having mercurial moods, etc.
These traits earned the toddler years the moniker of “The Terrible Twos.” If we really take a look at our toddlers, though, we’ll quickly see that the toddler years really aren’t that terrible. In fact, they’re actually quite terrific.
Why the toddler years are terrific
- Toddlers can tell you what they want and need. Unlike when they were infants, toddlers are able to use words to communicate their wants and needs. Whether it’s a request for more spaghetti while eating dinner or use of the word “owie” while tugging on an ear that hurts, we’re better able to understand what they are trying to communicate to us.
- Toddlers demonstrate their unique personalities. Though every baby is born with a unique personality, it’s not until toddlerhood that their personalities really start to shine. We can see their personalities in the way they play, how they communicate, the books they choose to read, their senses of humor, etc. I love seeing my toddler express her personality through the different ways she dresses herself!
- Toddlers love to laugh and make you laugh. Things as simple as a toppling tower of blocks or animal sounds made while singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm cause toddlers to laugh and laugh. The sound is delightful! Toddlers will go out of their way to do funny things, including attempting to make jokes, in order to elicit laughter from us.
- Toddlers practice independence. Toddlers can climb into chairs on their own, put on their shoes, feed themselves, and will play on their own for short periods of time. For the first time in a long time we can have a little time and space to ourselves because our very dependent babies are becoming pseudo-independent young children!
- Toddlers still want to be close to mommy and daddy. I know I just mentioned toddlers’ independence. Though they are growing independent, they still love—and need—to be close to mommy and daddy. They still want cuddles, kisses, and help completing tasks. We should enjoy this, because a time is coming when they won’t want these things.
- Toddlers love to help around the house. Toddlers want to be just like the adults in their lives, so they gleefully follow us around and mimic our actions. We can take advantage of this to teach them life skills (e.g., sorting clothes, dusting, kneading dough). We can also utilize their help when looking for lost items or by asking them to bring us things when our hands are occupied.
- Toddlers appreciate the little things. Toddlers are captivated by the little things in life: leaves falling from trees, shiny rocks, the sound of pouring rain, etc. We can learn a thing or two about mindfulness from them!
- Toddlers become potty trained. Though the process of becoming potty trained may be somewhat stressful, the state of being potty trained is delightful. We can rejoice and feel a load lifted from our shoulders when our toddlers reach this state.
- Toddlers are curious. Toddlers love to learn! They want to know all about the world around them. By answering their questions and providing them lots of opportunities to engage in unstructured play and exploration, we can foster this love for learning and create lifelong learners.
- Toddlers eagerly share their affection. Big hugs, sloppy kisses, and statements of “Wuv you, Mommy,” are just a few of the ways that toddlers show us their love. It’s heartwarming and energizing to receive this affection from the kiddos we pour out our lives for day after day.
The toddler years will pass in the blink of an eye. Let’s savor them while we can!
What would you add? What other things make the toddler years wonderful?
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