Toddlers are a lot of things: cute, hilarious, honest, and brave. They are often the center of attention, not only because they want to be but also because their family members can't help but marvel over how totally adorable they are at every single moment. A toddler never met a compliment (or a cookie) that they didn't like. They are bold, take risks, truly believe in themselves, and they are so sweet.
This is such an interesting time in a child's life since they are starting to learn about the world and develop in a lot of different ways. They're eating more than they did as babies, they're showing that they have a personality, and they just can't be ignored in general. Toddlers are the best... and moms who raise toddlers are also very grateful for overflowing cups of coffee.
The thing about raising toddlers is that sometimes, moms tend to baby them way too much and treat them much differently than they probably should. There are some behaviors that toddlers should adopt and others that they should forget about. Read on to find out 10 things that moms should make toddlers do and 10 things to avoid.
Let's start with the 10 things mom might want her toddler to be doing...
20 Try To Get Dressed On Their Own
Honestly, there is no reason why moms should be dressing toddlers... at least all of the time. Sure, we get that some items of clothing are tricky to put on, and maybe toddlers will squirm for so long when trying to put on pajamas that moms will just step in and help them.
But for the most part, toddlers should at least attempt to dress themselves. They can definitely pull-on pants, sweaters, and shirts, right? Moms can let toddlers be more independent here. What's the least likely scenario that can happen? They'll put their shirt on backwards? Hey, that will be super cute.
19 Feed Themselves
When it comes to something else that toddlers should do, they should also feed themselves. There are tons of foods that can be cut up small enough for toddlers to eat them super comfortably.
Think cheese, chicken and any other kind of meat/protein, vegetables, fruits, and so on.
A toddler can even feed themselves a piece of toast (and if they hold onto it with both hands, it's really cute). If moms think that they should still be feeding their toddlers, it's honestly not the best idea. They're not babies anymore and they will be happy to feed themselves. It's actually good for them.
18 Walk Up And Down The Stairs
According to Parents Canada, toddlers should also walk up and down the stairs. As far as "development milestones" go, a 15-month-old baby can use their knees and hands to go upstairs, an 18-month-old baby "can walk upstairs with some assistance" and kids who are 30-36 months old " can negotiate stairs by alternating feet."
A toddler who is 30 months old is two-and-a-half, so moms can remember that it's not the best idea to carry their toddlers up and down the stairs anymore.
It's cool to let toddlers climb up and down the stairs themselves, and chances are, they're going to be really thrilled to do so.
17 Actually Answer When Their Mom Talks To Them
This is a common scene that we have all experienced: we're around a toddler (maybe a friend's kid or a relative) who is just not listening to their mom. It's like they absolutely refuse to answer them, and they stare straight ahead as if no one has said anything at all.
Many moms talk about this, and it's definitely not something that should be happening. Toddlers should always answer their mom when she talks to them. It's super important and it's just plain awkward and strange otherwise... plus it goes in the "bad behavior" category for sure.
Kids need to learn this at this early age because once they're a bit older than a toddler, they definitely need to answer adults who speak to them. It's just polite and part of socializing.
16 Get Messy (Without Worrying)
As this mom put it for Cafe Mom, "Mud! As parents, we [dislike] it, but toddlers LOVE it. And that's exactly why parents have to let kids get [messy] and not [be afraid of] the mud, the worms, and [everything else.]"
When it comes to something else that toddlers should do, it's get messy... without worrying about getting messy.
It's awesome when toddlers embrace getting into the mud and if moms can be cool with this and encourage this behavior, toddlers will have lots of fun. After all, they're still so young, and it's the best time to play in the mud and spend some time in nature.
15 Get In The Kitchen A Little Bit
Okay, so moms don't expect toddlers to whip up an entire dinner like lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs. They know that toddlers can't cook and can only help a little bit (like stirring cookie or cake batter or perhaps putting some flour or other ingredients into a bowl... along with on the floor and everywhere else).
But toddlers can do a few things in the kitchen, and they should. It's good for them.
According to Must Have Mom, toddlers can absolutely get in the kitchen a little bit. There are a few things that they can put together, and the website suggests things like cheese and crackers or a sandwich.
14 Clean A Little Bit
Must Have Mom believes that toddlers are totally capable of cleaning up a little bit, and we would have to agree.
This mom writes, "Once your toddler hits age 2 they should be able to help clear their spot and put dishes in the sink. This is yet another life skill that they need to practice. Will they do it perfectly? Of course not, but practicing it is more important than how clean they are able to get their place."
We love this idea and can just see sweet little toddlers cleaning up and helping out. It's part of their independence and moms should work on this with them for sure.
13 Not Have Toys Everywhere
The mom writing on Must Have Mom thinks that toddlers shouldn't have toys everywhere, and we agree with this wholeheartedly.
We can all relate to having super messy houses because there are toys everywhere that we look. Moms always assume, "Oh, they're a toddler, they're going to be messy and there are going to be toys and there's nothing that I can do about that."
Is that really true, though? What if we had our toddlers clean up and we tried to find some order here?
Getting some control of the toys is something that both moms and toddlers can do, and it's part of a toddler's independence.
12 Wear Actual Clothes
Babble has a great (and funny) story about stuff toddlers do that only this age group can "get away with" and one thing is wearing a costume to various places.
Should toddlers be wearing costumes everywhere, though? Sure, it's cute and we see this a lot, but is it really necessary?
If there's something else that toddlers should do, we think it's wearing actual clothes and not just a costume. The problem is that soon, a toddler will be four and then five years old, and they're going to need to wear actual clothing. They can't wear a costume forever. It's best to start them wearing regular clothes now.
11 Share Without Getting Upset Or Pouting
Parents.com notes that toddlers should be able to share, and we agree that's super important. We think that toddlers should be able to share their toys without whining or pouting. We've all seen toddlers refuse to share and get really upset when their mom or caregiver asks them to.
It's not a fun situation and it's really crucial that toddlers figure out that it's okay to lend their toys to others for a few minutes.
Nothing is going to happen except their little friend is going to have fun with the toy, just like they have. It's a good thing, and it's good if toddlers see sharing in a positive light.
And here are the 10 things mom might want her toddler to avoid...
10 Not Wanting To Walk
In the Babble story mentioned above about stuff only toddlers can do, the writer mentions toddlers who want to be carried all the time. We often see toddlers being carried by their moms or being pulled in a wagon... and we can honestly say that toddlers should avoid these things.
Toddlers should walk, period. They can walk -- they've learned how. They're not going to be eight years old and pulled in a wagon or carried by their mom (at least, we hope not...) and so it doesn't make sense to encourage this kind of behavior at the toddler stage. Plus, it's tiring for moms to carry their toddlers around all the time.
9 Not Being Nice With Other People's Stuff
Scary Mommy writes about how sometimes, a toddler will literally be pretty wild and not be nice with other people's stuff, and their mom won't say anything about it or fix it or even stop it. This mom says, "I’m growing more and more wary of parents who think bad behavior is cute. It’s really not."
Toddlers should absolutely avoid this. It's not a good thing to do and it's not a good habit to get into, either. Moms might want to act like their kid isn't doing this because it can be awkward and unpleasant but, hey, kids do misbehave sometimes. It's okay to admit it and then fix the problem. Toddlers need to know that it's good to have respect for people and their things.
8 Whining Instead Of Talking
According to Baby Center, sometimes toddlers will whine instead of talk, and that's another thing that toddlers need to avoid.
Again, this goes into the category of "Oh, they're a toddler, it's fine. This is how toddlers are. Why would they act any differently?"
Moms can remember that toddlers may be young but they can behave well and basically be like little adults. Sure, they won't be able to keep it together all the time (they are still toddlers) but it's good to start learning better actions and behaviors. Moms and toddlers can both figure this out together and it'll get better in time.
7 Misbehaving All The Time Because Mom Says "Oh It's Fine, They're Just A Toddler"
We've all said this... and we've all heard it. In an article about toddler behavior, Today's Parent mentions the idea that moms think that this is the way that this age group behaves.
Toddlers should avoid misbehaving all the time, and they definitely should avoid misbehaving all the time because moms say that this is the reality of having a toddler. It doesn't have to be that way at all, and we know that, so why do we keep saying these kinds of things?
If moms could stop saying things like this and allowing this kind of behavior to happen, then it would be a lot better for everyone involved.
6 Asking For Cookies/Treats 24/7
It's pretty common to see toddlers asking their moms and caregivers for cookies and treats all the time... and it's something that toddlers should definitely avoid doing.
It can seem like a simple fix: a toddler is upset or whining, and mom or caregiver thinks, "It's okay, I'll just give them a cookie and they'll be happy." But it's not the best habit to get into and just makes this seem like something that the toddler can always do.
Toddlers don't need cookies and other desserts all the time. It's totally up to their mom to decide how often they should eat sweets, but sugar isn't the healthiest thing, and this shouldn't be happening every day (or even more than once a day).
5 Ignoring Their Moms
ScaryMommy mentions that sometimes children can be "disruptive" and not listen. We can agree that when it comes to what toddlers should avoid, ignoring their moms should definitely go on the list.
Toddlers shouldn't act like no one can tell them what to do or how to act. They're so little and they need to learn how to behave. It's just part of their development. Moms shouldn't feel bad about showing them how to act or talking to them about the best way to behave in different situations. It's part of motherhood and it's what they should be doing for sure.
4 Running Wild Through The House
Today's Parent has a great article about "bad toddler behavior" and it brings to mind another thing that toddlers should avoid: running wild through the house.
We've seen toddlers do this. And we've all heard people say things along the lines of, "That's just what toddlers do."
But do we really think that way?! Do we really want our toddlers to be super loud and always running and basically leaving things super messy all the time? Nope, we don't.
We can all admit that toddlers can be a bit calmer and more peaceful, and everyone will be good with that.
3 Not Listening
We've seen it so many times: toddlers who won't listen to their mom or dad, or anyone else. They act like they don't have to answer to anyone at all and act super sure of themselves even though, of course, they are only two or three years old.
If there's a major behavioral problem that toddlers should avoid at all costs, it's not listening.
Toddlers honestly really need to work on their listening skills and this is something that moms can help them with. It's only going to benefit both mom and toddler and make everyone's lives a lot easier.
2 Constant Screen Time
A mother posted on Reddit and asked about how much screen time is too much screen time for toddlers. They wrote, "I have a son. He loves playing outdoors, he is extremely active, runs/jumps, etc. Nothing wrong with him and he is well rounded... However: He is 2.5 years old, and he probably watches kids youtube videos (learning, trucks, buses, colors) off and on 3-4 hours a day."
Toddlers should avoid constant screen time. This is something that moms think about a lot and it seems like it's something that moms know. Even the fact that this mom asked this question on Reddit suggests that there is such a thing as watching too much TV or being on the iPad too much.
Kids do need to get outside, learn to read, and play with others, and screens don't help much.
1 Throwing Tantrums To Get What They Want
We've all seen this... and way too many times to count. Toddlers really need to stop throwing tantrums to get what they want. It may be what we expect from this age group, but that doesn't mean that we need to be okay with it and assume that it's okay.
If toddlers are going to avoid this behavior, then moms have to stop giving in because it does take two to tango (and to let a toddler's tantrum go on and on).
Toddlers are definitely cute and raising them is a lot of fun, but if they can do these 10 things and avoid these 10 things as well, toddler life will be a lot less chaotic and a lot more peaceful. But moms will still need those cups of coffee, of course.