When it comes to parenting, there is no perfect guidebook. Every child is uniquely different, and they should be approached in their own way. But there are always some general guidelines that parents should take into consideration and follow, and we have assembled a list of things that parents let their kids get away with but really should know better.
Kids will always be curious and want to explore, especially toddlers, but that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to play with everything or do anything they want, because their safety should still be every parent’s main priority. So instead of allowing a child to play with small toys or climb and jump off of things, teach them to listen, and make sure that when mom or dad say no to something potentially risky, they know it’s the end of the story, no negotiating. As much as it might be hard to deny a child something they really want to do, know that at the end of the day, it's about always having their best interest at heart.
So here they are, 20 things parents still seem to let their toddlers do, even though it’s almost 2019 and we all should really know better by now.
20 Not Playing Properly On The Playground
One thing a lot of parents don’t teach their kids in time is how to properly play on the playground. Kids need to use the playground the way it was intended to, and if they climb on things they’re not supposed to, they can not only endanger themselves but also other children around them. Some kids love to explore things on their own which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but every parent needs to make sure they teach them what is safe exploring on the playground, and what is dangerous and they shouldn’t do under any circumstances.
19 Running Around In The House
Kids, especially toddlers love running around their home, but the home can be so risky if they run around to fast and end up falling or bumping into things. If you allow your children to run around the house, please do make sure that there are no corners and slippery floors on their way. Young children don’t really know what can hurt them too well, and they sometimes have poor balance. Best thing is to try and make sure your child gets enough physical activity by running around in the yard or park, so that they are calmer at home.
18 Hit Grown Ups
Some children tend to be more aggressive towards other children and grown-ups, and while most parents usually react when their child hits another child, a lot of times they do allow their children to be aggressive towards adults, including themselves. When a child is small and hits someone, and the grown-ups laugh because they think it’s cute, they only encourage the child to behave in that manner even more. And obviously, the older the child gets, the less cute this is, in contrary, it becomes a pretty risky habit. Which is exactly why children should never be encouraged to indulge in such behavior.
17 Let Them Stay Alone In A Car
Toddlers should never be left alone in a car. Never. Even if your kid is super good and always follows your orders, and even if it’s just for five short minutes, you shouldn’t do it. If you can bring the kid along, that’s always a much better option than leaving them. Even the best-behaving kids can accidentally do something in a car that can end up hurting them. Besides, kids usually don’t even like being left alone in there, so why do it. If you know you’re going somewhere where you can’t bring your kid, think of that in advance, and try to bring another adult that can stay in the car with them along.
16 Let Them Eat Too Many Sweets
Everyone loves sweets. But the habit of eating a lot of sugar and candy can turn into an addiction from a very early age on. So while your precious little one may looking at you all cutely and begging for another piece of chocolate, if you already gave them their allowed daily dose of sugar and sweets, don’t cave in and give them more. Just keep reminding yourself that it is better for their health and they will be thanking you once they are older. They may not like it right now, but one day they will understand why you did what you did.
15 Stick Their Arm Or Head Out Of A Car Window
This is such an obvious danger that a lot of parents still let their toddlers and kids do. Seriously, guys, it’s almost 2019 by now we should know what is risky car behavior. And sticking any body parts out of a moving vehicle is not a good idea for any human, regardless of age, but especially for toddlers who aren’t aware of the potential consequences. So making sure they know not to do this under any circumstances is a lesson that all parents should teach them. Sure, kids may love doing it and it gives them a sense of adventure, but that really isn’t worth the risk.
14 Ride Bikes On A Sidewalk
Letting a young child ride a small bike (or any toy vehicle for that matter) on a sidewalk next to a street with cars, especially unattended can be very risky and parents should never allow that. Not to mention that if the child isn’t secure enough in their riding skills, that’s even worse. But even those toddlers who are very good at handling their toy bikes can accidentally stumble upon something and fall. Instead of allowing them to ride on the sidewalks, just take them to a park area, where any potential accidents are way less harmful, as there are no driving cars nearby.
13 Try Coffee Or Alcohol
Sometimes parents like to give their young ones a sip of coffee or even worse, alcoholic beverages, just to see their reactions to it, and while their grumpy face might be cute and hilarious for a second, it’s definitely not healthy to do that. Children should not try any caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, simply because they are still growing and developing, and consuming those isn’t healthy at all for them. It isn’t even healthy for grow-ups, but giving a young child even the smallest sip is something no parent should really do. Even If the child is begging.
12 Open Kitchen And Bathroom Cabinets
Making sure that young kids are taught to not open kitchen and bathroom cabinets is something all parents need to do. Kids tend to be very curious, and if they’re left unattended for even the slightest second they will do some exploring on their own, especially if they haven’t been told that they aren’t allowed to do something. But for other kids, knowing they’re not allowed to do something might trigger that sense of exploring even more, which is why parents should always make sure to keep any substances or equipment in places that are hard to reach for kids.
11 Climb Things
Another thing toddlers love doing, but may not be the best idea for them to do, is for them to climb things. Whether it’s trees in the park or furniture at home, kids just love trying to get themselves to a higher place. So if you do allow your child to climb things, please make sure you’re always with them when they do, and they know to never do it on their own. But also telling them they’re not allowed to climb things at all, regardless if you’re with them or not, is a good idea, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Once they’re a bit older you can grant them more freedom in this department, but if they’re young it’s okay to say no.
10 Having Lit Candles Around
If you love scented candles (or really any candles for that matter) – who doesn’t– please make sure you’re always in the same room as your toddler and never leave them unattended with a lit candle. As we mentioned, kids are super curious and often don’t understand risky situations until they find themselves in one. So protect your little one by teaching them that fire – even on a candle – can harm them, and they should never play with it.
9 Jump From Furniture
Remember how we said kids love to climb things? Like tables and kitchen counters? Well, they also love jumping from those, and they often can’t estimate whether something is too high for them to jump off of. So do yourself and them a favor and make sure you teach them that jumping from furniture is not allowed. Once the child realizes it’s forbidden territory it most likely won’t even attempt doing it, but if they still do, you need to keep insisting they don’t. Jumping in general can result in them falling, but especially when they jump from things that are too tall.
8 Eat Flowers Or Grass
Toddlers love exploring things, and not just with their arms and legs, but also with their mouth. In fact, young kids generally put almost anything they find in their mouth, and if you let them play outside and sit on the grass, they might grab some and try to eat it. Eating grass, flowers or dirt from a yard or park is obviously pretty bad, so make sure you always keep an eye on them and what they’re doing/eating. Once they get a bit older they will realize the grass is not food and stop on their own, but for now, make sure you tell them they’re not allowed to eat it.
7 "Drive A Car"
So many parents think it’s hilarious to put their toddler in their lap while they sit in the driver’s seat, and let the kid pretend as if they're driving. It’s also totally illegal to do that if the car is actually moving, but even just doing it while the car is parker is pretty bad. It sends the child the message that they are allowed to drive the car, and you never know what they might end up pressing or pulling. A car isn’t a joke, and kids need to take car safety very seriously, so this kind of behavior isn’t helping.
6 Be In Shallow Water Without Supervision
If your toddler is water obsessed – and why wouldn’t it be, you should definitely always encourage that love. But having that said you still need to be super cautious and always present when they’re playing in water, whether it’s a bathtub, a blow-up pool or an actual lake or ocean. Kids can still slip in shallow water and harm themselves, so make sure your child has the proper equipment and your full attention. Even those kids who are super comfortable and good in water can still have an accident, and you need to be there to help in that case.
5 Play With Toys They Could Swallow
So many parents ignore the safety minimum age on toys, without realizing that it’s actually there for a reason. And the reason is often your child’s safety. Many toys have tiny pieces that are generally not recommended for children under the age of 3, and a lot of kids under that age still get those toys from their parents. Kids can literally take any tiny object and swallow it in a second, so it is a parent’s job to make sure no tiny objects are around. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with putting a toy away and saving it for when they’re older and ready to play with it.
4 Watch As Much TV As They Want
The easiest thing in the world is to just put your toddler in front of the TV and let them watch whatever they want and for how long they want. But that right there is not a good idea because not only does it mean the child can potentially watch something they shouldn't, but it also starts developing a habit of watching too much TV. And so many scientific studies have been done on how screen time influences kids in a negative way, affecting their sleep patterns and health. And your child’s health should be always your number one priority.
3 Have A Sword Fight With Sticks
Young kids love pretending they’re having an epic sword fight like in the cartoons and movies they watch, and with soft blowup toy swords that’s totally fine – as they can’t really harm each other, but with actual outdoor sticks that quickly turns into a pretty risky activity. Which means that it should never be encouraged, instead the child should be taught that playing like that could be harmful and they mustn’t do it. Give them an alternative that they will like, and make sure they know that that is the only option available. They need to know that sticks aren't for playing.
2 Be Loud And Distracting In Cars
Remember when we mentioned car safety? Well, a big part of that also includes knowing how to properly behave in a moving vehicle. And a lot of young children don’t, because their parents haven’t taught them or enforced a good kind of behavior enough, so the kids get away with being loud and unruly. And as everyone know, this can be extremely distracting to the driver and a distracted driver is never a good thing. So teach your kids how important it is that they stay calm and still in a car, and reward their good behavior if they do so.
1 Cry To Get Their Way
Lastly, kids tend to cry about everything. But if you as a parent always let them have their way, you are definitely not doing them a favor. Teaching a child from a very early age on that they are not always going to have things go their way, and that life comes with obstacles and unexpected moments is important. So anytime your child is crying to get their way, remind yourself that by saying no you’re actually doing them a major favor. Often saying no, even though it might break your heart, is the right thing to do!