10 truths about parenting a toddler. Parenting tips to help make parenting your toddler smoother and easier. Know what to expect in the toddler years.
10 Truths About Parenting Toddler
Toddlers are Toddlers
No matter what you have done to this point, toddlers will be toddlers. Toddlers have tantrums. Toddlers don’t always listen. Some toddlers fight sleep. Toddlers can be selfish. This doesn’t mean you have done something wrong. Behavior will not be perfect.
I wish I could have made myself understand this as a first time mom. I still remember the first time Brayden refused to cooperate in public and I was so distraught. I was pregnant and emotional, but couldn’t figure out why my sweet little boy was suddenly so disobedient! What had I done wrong?!?!? I hadn’t done anything wrong. He was just being a toddler. Toddler tantrums are not fun, but they are normal toddler behavior.
Manda said: That no matter how well you parented them up to that point, a toddler is still a toddler: they will still have tantrums, push boundaries, disobey rules, make impossibly big messes, etc. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong- it just means they’re 2. You just keep up the routine, the consistent expectations, the firm boundaries, and do it all as calmly and cheerfully as possible. It’ll all settle down when they get older.
Briana said: Manda can I get an amen. I tell our daycare parents all the time, the worst thing you can do is loosen up or give up when it seems like it isn’t working. Because then you come out of the toddler storm with a child who isn’t used to discipline.
Toddlers Like to Mimic
Toddlers are great mimics. They copy everything other people in their lives do. A toddler with an older sibling will focus on copying that older sibling. A toddler with older children in the home will copy them. If not, the toddler will copy mom, dad, or grandma. Perhaps your little one will copy all of them.
Ashley said: If a toddler is a younger sibling, they will want to be just like the older sibling. They will throw age-appropriate toys out the window so they can be like older brother. They still have physical limitations and speech limitations, but they will push their ability to be older. It’s one big boundary push, that’s for sure!
Toddlers Make Messes
Toddlers are messy. A 2-4 year old is the messiest years as far as kids getting out toys and making gigantic messes with those toys. A toddler can make an impressive mess. Be wise in how much access your toddler has to the toys. Be wise about the amount of time is spent unsupervised. Having your toddler help clean up after herself can help her not be quite as messy in her play.
Toddlers Love to Learn
Toddlers are curious. They love to learn, and these kids learn at a rapid rate. Your toddler will find wonder and beauty in everything around her. Nothing will escape her notice. This makes the world new and exciting to you again. This means little learning activities at home will be fun and exciting. It is such a fun time!
Of course, that curious toddler also is curious about everything in the house. That means house-proofing and child-proofing.
Manda said: …when house-proofing your toddler, balance it with safety and sanity. Yes, it’s worth it to really work on obedience and boundaries by not locking every cupboard, not leaving the tree undecorated, and not padding every surface. However, it’s still worth peace of mind to lock one or two cabinets for dangerous chemicals, keep family heirlooms up high, have a baby gate on the stairs, and have a playpen where you can let the toddler play safely when you need to focus on something else (making dinner, taking a shower, making an important phone call, etc.).
Read: Child-proofing: Knowing When to Pick Your Battles
Toddlers Get Picky
Your toddler, who has always been an amazing eater, might suddenly be picky about food. This is super stressful! Your toddler might eat one or two bites of food and be “full.” Also stressful!
This is all normal. Be intentional in your battles. Do not start down a slippery slope of allowing picky eating, but also allow your 2 year old to gauge her own hunger. If she refuses to eat lunch, don’t start snacking habit. Do not give dessert when vegetables weren’t eaten.
A child will not let herself starve. Stay confident in that.
See Overcoming the Picky Eater, Appetite vs. Hunger, and Creating a “Good Eater”
Toddlers Fight Naps
The day will come when your toddler fights nap time. Yes, there will be those few toddlers who love to nap, but most will at least test the boudary to see if they can stop napping. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase, “You are so lucky your three year old still takes naps! My kids all refused to nap as two year olds.”
Your toddler isn’t going to love napping. Your toddler wants to continue playing. Sleep is not fun. Stick it out! Luck has nothing to do with it. When your two year old refuses to nap, you stay in your parent role and you decide nap time is still a thing.
Toddlers Can Do Chores
A toddler won’t do chores perfectly, but he can start contributing to chores. See 12 Chores Your Toddler Can Do for a list of things toddlers can do at home
Toddlers Have Conversations
I still remember when Brayden, my oldest, started to have real conversations with me as a toddler. I was so excited! After months and months of being home all day with a person who didn’t interact as a human usually does, I could have little conversations in the daytime! A toddler can talk and share his observations and opinions.
Toddlers Can Handle Some Disruptions
A toddler can skip a nap here and there. A toddler can go out and about and have a long day out of the house. This opens your world up and makes various fun activities more feasible and less of a negative impact on the home.
Toddlers Need Consistency
With the toddler growing to be more flexible, it can be easy to start to let days get random. Toddlers still need consistency. Just because your toddler can handle some disruptions does not mean it is a good idea to have disruptions every single day or most days of the week. See Overstimulation for Toddlers to see how far to take it (and not take it).
Hannah said: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned with my toddler so far is that consistency is key!! Especially with discipline.