We can all agree that toddlers can be EXTREMELY challenging at time. Some are definitely more challenge consistently, compared to others. But hey, remember we aren’t doing the comparing game so just read on only thinking about your little babe.
When you think toddler, do you think – “terrible twos” or “threenager” ? Chances are you naturally think that way because those phrases have just been engraved into our minds. They’re super catchy and most of the time they seem extremely accurate. What I want you to do now, is try to erase that and shift your perspective with these common misconceptions. If you take a step back and really think about this, toddlers are not terrible at all & having more compassion for them is the key to helping them flourish.
Toddlers Are incapable – Nope, they’re fiercely capable.
It isn’t until we have our own children that we realize how enormously capable children are from such young age. As they approach 18 months old, they start to notice where we are going in the car well before they are able to recognize things along the route. If they see a giraffe in a book, they’ll go grab their giraffe stuffed animal from the toy basket.
By allowing our young children to participate in tasks around the house, or every day jobs (chores), the growing child’s brain feels a sense of accomplishment. This then boosts their self-esteem that will be greatly beneficial to them as they progress through life. Providing a young child with tasks they are capable of completing also keeps the child engaged and curious of what other skills they can acquire.
When we assume our child isn’t capable of doing something, when if fact they are, this is when you’ll see an internal struggle with your child. The internal struggle of knowing their capabilities and not being able to show them, then turns into outburst of frustration.
Toddlers Hold Grudges – You’re giving them too much credit
Picture a toddler who wants to stay at the park when it’s time to leave. They melt down. The tantrum may even last half and hour. But once they calm down (sometimes you have to step in and help), they go back to being their cheerful, curious selves – unlike us adults. We can wake up on the wrong side of the bed and be a crabby patty for the entire day.
When Responding to a child who is having a tantrum, keep in mind that they are having a hard time, not giving you a hard time. Toddlers ability to move past the tantrum is how their brain develops. It is our responsibility to teach them that it’s ok to be consumed by our emotions, it’s ok to not get your way and be upset about it, but the show must go on. (ahem, life in general) Toddlers are hot and cold because this is their prime brain development for emotional regulation. They have to feel all of the big feelings and then learn how to not explode over every little thing. Keep in mind, it’s a work in progress and definitely doesn’t just stop when they turn three, or four, or five, etc.
Toddlers Aren’t Nice – Wrong again, they’re impulsive
I don’t think any toddler is malicious. If they see someone playing with a toy, they may simply think, oh i’ld like to play with that toy right now! and then take it from the other child. Or maybe they’ll do something to get a reaction (I’m going to drop this glass and see how my mom reacts) or be frustrated that something did not go their way.
But, they are never mean-spirited, or vengeful. The basics of what they are is simply impulsive – they will follow their urges, whatever they may be.
Toddlers Are Rude – Quite the opposite, toddlers are wildly honest
Toddlers are such a joy to be around because they are extremely direct and honest. Their authenticity is so contagious. They say exactly what they mean and they wear those great big hearts right on their sleeves.
Toddlers will point out any little thing that is curious to them. Like, if you’re on the bus and there is an elderly man in one of the seats you walk past. Your toddler might say something like “wow he’s old” and you’ll be flushed with embarrassment but your toddler thinks nothing of it.
In that same sense, it make being around toddlers very easy. They don’t play mind games, there aren’t any underlying motives and there are absolutely not politics involved.
They know how to be themselves. They don’t doubt themselves. They don’t judge others. Our world would be better if we were more of a toddler mindset.
There are many, many more misconceptions about toddlers that jade the way we parent and respond to them. If you only take these four and shift the way you are with your toddler, you’ll be better for it. I challenge you to see toddlers for the amazing beings they are. Toddlers are pure, loving, curious, feisty, honest, silly, adventurous, wild, carefree, joyful, magical little people. And don’t forget to enjoy this short period of time when you have a toddler. It may seem like it’s “taking forever” for your little babe to grow out of this stage, but it absolutely goes faster than you think.
Hug that toddler of yours today.