Toddlers often have a bad reputation. And often, for good reason. There are many times when I get so burnt out and frustrated dealing with my son’s temper tantrums, constant ‘NOOOOOs’, throwing food on the floor, and the ‘no I don’t want that, wait yes I want that’ stunts. But, toddlers are also fun, amazing, goofy, energetic, lovable and, teachers. Yes, I said teachers.
Watching my toddler go through his short life so far has been more eye opening and inspiring than I could have ever imagined. He has already taught me so much about life, living mindfully and with intention, and he doesn’t even know it. Even if you’re not a parent, these life lessons can be extremely applicable to you and your life.
Life Lessons I’ve learned from my Toddler
- Don’t be afraid to get dirty – Toddlers Do. Not. Care. about how they look. They care about enjoying life and having fun. Even if that means getting absolutely filthy (especially if it means that). So play hard and don’t be afraid to get dirty. You’re not going to regret it, but you may regret not doing it.
- Stop what you’re doing and dance – I can’t begin to tell you how many times my toddler has been in the middle of playing or running around when a fun, upbeat song comes on. Do you know what he does? He literally stops and just starts dancing. Which results in us smiling and laughing and letting go. How freeing is that?
- Learn as much as you can – A toddler’s main goal is to learn, learn learn. They never seem to stop learning. Lately, I have found my husband and I commenting on what my son suddenly knows or things he can do. Think of how much we would learn, know and grow if we were constantly learning like kids do?
- Stop eating when you’re full – As many parents can attest, meal times can often be stressful with a toddler. However, one thing I have learned through the frustration and tears is that toddlers stop eating when they’re full. It’s honestly that simple.
- Never stop moving – Running, jumping, skipping, hopping, (there is no walking, sorry), crawling, rolling….you get the picture. Toddlers are constantly on the move. My son literally moves and doesn’t stop moving until he hits the metaphorical wall and then crashes to sleep. Most of the time, that sleeps seems extremely restful and deep (what’s that like?), because when he wakes up, he is ready to go again. I always seem to have more fun on the days I am moving around like he does.
- Give lots of spontaneous hugs and kisses to those you love – Often my son will be playing by himself, usually running around, and all of a sudden will run up to me and give me a huge kiss and a hug. Of course, I melt into a tiny puddle onto the floor or my heart explodes. But, knowing how that makes me feel, motivates me to do the same to my loved ones.
- Always laugh from your belly! – Kid belly laughs. Those types of laughs are the best. If you aren’t familiar, hearing toddlers and kids laugh makes you want to laugh, even if you don’t know what is so funny. Laughter releases endorphins, so not only is it good practice, it’s beneficial to your mental health.
- Stop and smell the flowers – Literally. Stop and smell the flowers. Stop and look at the rocks on the ground. Stop to examine twigs and leaves and bugs and ……..When I take a walk with my toddler, I have to remind myself that this is not the time for me to get my heart rate up, or burn calories. It’s time for me to slow down, examine the world I live in, and bond over the awesome stuff we find that I would have missed. And honestly, I already have such fond memories of us on our adventures.
- Be true to yourself – Toddlers are who they are; nothing more, nothing less. They don’t waste their time and energy trying to be someone they’re not or impress someone they don’t like. They do what they want (can I get an ‘amen’), and don’t worry how they look to someone else.
We adults tend to over complicate the simplest of things. Toddlers don’t have that problem. They live life to the fullest. They explore, play hard, love hard, and are full of joy (most of the time). If only we can take one or two lessons from them and adapt those lessons to our lives. I think we will find that we all can be a bit more carefree than we think.
What lesson did your baby, toddler, kid or teenager teach you?