Toddlers are a funny breed, aren’t they? We’re so busy teaching them things they need to know. And preventing them from learning things they shouldn’t know. It seems one-sided. But maybe we’re neglecting a key element here. What can adults learn from toddlers?
They can be very forgiving
I read a Facebook meme about a parent losing patience with her toddler and overreacting. That’s for sure going to happen. But, when you apologize to them and try to explain, they frequently forgive you instantly and tell you they love you. They know sincerity when they see it.
- Lesson – Try forgiveness with other adults. We don’t always know what’s going on in someone’s head. The best we can do is accept someone’s apology and still love them. Be sincere.
They’re always learning
Their brains are going at high speed and they’re absorbing everything. Toddlers are the original “Life-Long Learners”!
- Lesson – Ask questions. Read. Listen. Ask why – sometimes more than once if you don’t like or don’t understand the answer. Be a learner in everything you do.
Toddlers’ logic is astoundingly simple but amazingly magical
I explained to a child once that a dog we saw didn’t know her, so we had to approach him carefully. Her sister asked, “why don’t you just tell him your name?” It didn’t apply in this situation since most dogs don’t talk (!) but the logic was sound. And simple.
- Lesson – Communicate. Try to get to know other people, even if you’re not sure about the reaction. And let them get to know you. Simple. And sometimes with magical results.
Toddlers listen to their body
If they’re tired, they’ll sleep anytime, anywhere. We’ve seen great pictures online of kids face down in their food. And, if they’re not hungry, no amount of cajoling works. It’s either a battle royale or a standoff. Most pediatricians will tell us that it’s normal for kids to go through phases with eating. Take heart, what they hated last month, they may love today. They know what they need.
- Lesson – Eat when you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty (just talking about water here!) And, stop when you know you’ve had enough. Sleep when your body tells you to. And, if you’re trying something new that your body reacts negatively to – you should probably listen. If you ever tried smoking cigarettes and experienced a coughing fit, it’s your body trying to warn you.
They’re fragile but also amazingly resilient
Kids can get hurt physically and emotionally. It’s not what we want for them, but it happens. With support, love and understanding, they often bounce back and don’t look back. Think about a toddler learning to walk. How many times do they fall before they gain confidence and start walking well?
- Lesson – If it’s possible, let go of the bad stuff and try again. And again. Find someone or something healthy to help you be resilient. One of the major reasons that it’s so hard for adults to move on is because we question and doubt ourselves. Watch a toddler; they usually have no choice but to try again.
One of my favorite quotes – “Fall down 9 times, get up 10”. Toddlers do it all the time.
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