Being an adult means that you hold a job, pay bills, and eat ice cream whenever you want. Other unwritten rules of adulthood include accepting that the world isn’t all about you, and that throwing a tantrum doesn’t solve your problems.
Try telling that to Baby, though, because at this age she can&;t really grasp that perspective. It might help to put yourself in Baby‘s shoes more often. This way, you’ll be able to better understand why she acts the way she does.
How toddlers see the world
In some ways, you and Baby live in different worlds with completely different rules, structures, and expectations. She is just starting to understand her independence, and is realizing she can do things on her own.
Toddlers don’t have a good concept of time (which is why things like waiting and hurrying up are so hard for them). They also have a really hard time identifying imagination and reality. A toddler might think their bed sleeps in their room while they’re away, or that smokestacks make clouds, or that a really big bird could carry the house away, or that they could get flushed down the toilet. No matter how eccentric the idea, a toddler might think it.
How to see things through your toddler’s eyes
As a seasoned adult, it’s impossible to see the world in the exact same way Baby does. But you should still try and put yourself in her shoes. Whether Baby is insisting she do something on her own, getting distracted and making you late, stealing other toddlers’ toys, or screaming in fear when you turn on the vacuum, it might help for you to step back ask yourself what these things would look like if you were an inexperienced toddler whose brain was still developing.
You’ll probably realize that Baby needs more help, instruction, and clarification. For example, instead of getting frustrated and telling your toddler to hurry or you’ll be late, you could help her get her things together, and plan to leave earlier next time. Or instead of asking your toddler why she won&;t share, you can explain to her that it’s something she has to do every so often if she wants to keep her toy. Right now, it’s best to try and merge the two separate worlds that you and she inhabit.
Lessons from toddlers
It’s not always easy being a toddler. But being so young does have its advantages. Without all the limitations and rules that adults live by, toddlers see a world with endless possibility. They find enjoyment from simple things and use their imaginations to make anything more interesting. Your toddler feels comfortable expressing emotions and wants, and doesn’t really care too much about what other people think when she protests an injustice or cry because she misses her toy. Most importantly, toddlers have the unique skill of being happy for no reason at all. Certain kinds of toddler behavior really wouldn’t be appropriate for adults, but maybe we could take a page from a toddler’s book every now and again.
There are also a lot of positives to getting older, like getting more perspective about the world and how it works. Baby needs your help and support as she starts to figure out exactly where she fits. Seeing the world through Baby‘s eyes allows you to support her, which in turn makes the entire growing-up experience much more enjoyable for the two of you.
- “Child development (6): two to three years.” Betterhealth. Department of Health and Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia, 2016. Web.
- “Temper Tantrums.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, 2016. Web.