Before I even begin, I know what you are thinking. How can anyone love the toddler years? Whilst, yes, they can be challenging, all ages have their own struggles. When people hear the word, ‘toddler’, they often associate it with the, ‘terrible twos’, and ‘threenagers’, and they are often spoken about in a negative manner.
My daughter is heading towards 2.5, so we are right in the middle of the toddler years. My son is technically not a toddler anymore, (although he certainly still acts like it sometimes - he’s 3.5), but at one point I had two toddlers in the house - a 1 year old and a 2.5 year old. Now, those were fun times, haha. Rather than focus on the challenges and struggles, I’m here to remind you of some positive things. Here are 7 reasons to love the toddler years.
1. Their Speech
I simply love the way they talk and the cute little words they say. Just today Miss C was asking me for a ‘wol-put’, it took me awhile, but I finally figured out she was saying, ‘lollipop’! I love how she pronounces her brother’s name, and how she calls her favourite blanket ‘bwankey’ or even sometimes ‘swanky’. For a long time, my son used to call my husband, ‘go-a’, don’t ask me how that is related to the word daddy, but it was special and a bitter sweet moment the day he finally said daddy. There is a fine line, between trying to correct them and encourage them to speak properly, and enjoying their cute little language.
2. Cuddles & Kisses
There is nothing like a child holding their arms out, running towards you wanting a cuddle and a kiss. Of all the 7 reasons to love the toddler years, this is one of my favourites. When they’re a baby, of course they enjoy being held and snuggling into you, but it’s different when they’re older and more independent and really choose to give you a big snuggle. As I mentioned before, my son is 3.5, and an active little boy at that, so the cuddles aren’t as regular as they used to be. Earlier today I was feeling really tired, so we all lazed around on the couch watching a movie. As he laid next to me, he moved in for a lovely cuddle and I actually got to close my eyes for a few minutes (it was amazing!) Needless to say, it wasn’t long before he’d had enough and went off to find something else to do, but now he is getting older, I really cherish the cuddles even more. Isn’t it ironic; when they are younger you are required to hold them so much you can’t wait to be able to put them down, but then you miss all the cuddles!
3. Belly Laughs
I love tickling and blowing raspberries on my children’s bellies, and hearing that deep, belly laugh. Even the anticipation of me about to tickle them, sends them into roaring laughter. There is just something so cute and innocent about a toddler’s laugh. This afternoon, I was doing some housework whilst the children were playing. Suddenly, I could hear repetitious, giggling laughter. I peeped into the room, to find my children pressing the button on a little toy car and both jumping around together, dancing to the little tune, thinking it was the most hilarious thing in the world. I could not help but laugh listening to them.
4. Curiosity About The World
To a toddler, the world is a huge, exciting place. I love how curious they are about everything, how it works and what its purpose is. My daughter is going through the stage, where she loves learning the real words for things…even if she can’t quite pronounce them properly. She is constantly saying, ‘what’s this called?’ about the simplest of objects. People often underestimate how much a toddler can understand and learn. Miss C just loves reading books, and her memory never ceases to amaze me. I love their thirst for learning, whether it be over shapes, different vehicles or how the vacuum cleaner works. It is such a precious time, to be able to teach them about the world, even just in your day-to-day life.
5. You Are Their World
Although they are growing up, learning, and exploring more, you are still their world. If they are hurt, they need you. If they are upset, they need you. If they feel scared, they need you. If they are super excited about something, they want to show you. Our reaction, our opinion, our comfort and our love is invaluable to them. A kiss from mummy or daddy on the finger, can make it feel better. We are their safe space, where they can be their true selves, because they know that we will always love them, we will always be there for them, no matter what. I know it can feel exhausting, having little people rely on you so much. Why do they often act up for mum and dad, but not for the grandparents or daycare educators? Of course, they can still form bonds with other people, but their primary caretakers – parents or guardians, are the people they should feel completely safe and relaxed with. They crave our attention. They feel safe to let out their big emotions in a tantrum. We should feel special that they do feel safe enough to do these things. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t say, that I do forget this sometimes. When my daughter has had moments where she is upset and only wants mummy, selfishly I have felt burdened, like why do I have to be the one to rock her to sleep. Instead, I should feel blessed that she loves me that much. One day she won’t want me to rock her to sleep, one day she will grow up and won’t be so dependent on me. We are their role models and they look up to us, how special are we!
6. They Actually Want To Spend Time With You
This of course isn’t restricted to toddler years, but generally speaking, a lot of children don’t want to spend as much time with their parents as they get older. They like to hang with friends, use their devices, play with siblings, or just independently play. Then during the teenage years, it is even less common for them to want to hang with their parents. Personally, this didn’t actually apply to me, and I still went shopping with my mum frequently, until my early 20s. Even then, that only stopped because she moved out of the city. Toddlers, in particular, crave attention and quality time with their parents, and it is so precious they actually want to spend time with us. Sometimes it can be perceived as annoying and a burden, when you need to get something done or just want 5 minutes to yourself. I totally understand. But as I mentioned in my other post, housework can wait, your children won’t, it is so beneficial to spend time with our children and create bonds that will hopefully be everlasting. Try and enjoy the time you have, where they want to spend time with you, because you never know how long it will last. Now, for the final of the 7 reasons to love the toddler years.
7. Easy To Entertain
You can make just about anything exciting and fun for a toddler. Even when they are sitting in the trolley waiting at the checkout, I use my rings to tap on the handle and make different beats while bopping my head and my 2 year old laughs. The simplest of things, like pretending to act like different animals together, dances like heads, shoulders, knees and toes or even the classic peek a boo, isn’t lame or embarrassing to them. Basic craft, playing chase, kicking a ball, swinging on a swing, playdough, reading, blocks and stickers are all relatively basic activities that entertain them. Just about anything works, especially if you are interacting with them and making it fun! Yesterday my children were having a super amount of fun, simply playing with a cardboard box! I’m not saying older children can’t be easily entertained either, but in my experience, they can sometimes think something is boring or lame. Although toddlers often have a small attention span, at least they are happy to go along with just about anything you offer them!
The toddler years can be challenging – believe me, I hear you! However, try not to focus on the negatives, and enjoy the good moments and fun times. Here are 7 reasons to love the toddler years. Do you have anything to add?
Keep Smiling Mamas,