I have a 2 year old son who is strong willed, high energy, tenacious and loud. He never walks anywhere but prefers to run everywhere instead. He hates to be restrained and he makes A LOT of noise! He is exhausting!
To many people he is a ‘naughty child.’ He doesn’t listen, he rarely does as he’s asked and he laughs when I raise my voice.
He doesn’t listen because he’s so focused on whatever he is busy with at the time. He doesn’t do as he’s asked because what he is doing is much more interesting than what I have asked him to do and he laughs when I raise my voice because he thinks it’s funny to shout.
He runs everywhere because he can! He is lucky enough to have a body that is fit and strong so he likes to test it out. It’s still new and novel to him. He only started walking 18 months ago so the freedom of running is still very exciting. He’s testing how far he goes before someone comes after him. It is often a game!
Trips to eat out often result in withering glances from those around us and I have been told on many an occasion that ‘you have your hands full there’ by people passing us in the street as I’m either running to catch him, bundling him under my arm or telling him not to do something.
My son is also polite, helpful, kind to his friends, caring, cuddly and inquisitive. He says please, thank you and excuse me without needing to be prompted. He tries to comfort his friends if they are upset or hurt. He says ‘poor mummy’ if he notices I have a cut or bruise and will kiss my ‘baddy’ better. He prefers to sit on my knee than on the sofa beside me. He loves reading books and he asks lots of questions.
There are many explanations for his behaviour. Many of which are either age or development related. Two year olds are bundles of energy, emotion and fun. Their brains are going through a period of major development and the cells within are making new connections at a staggering rate.
Toddlers lack impulse control, they don’t have the ‘gateway of control’ that develops as we get older so if something pops into their brain, they tend to act on it and telling them not to do it will have little impact. Big emotions are a whole body experience for small people, they have not learned how to control them and these powerful feelings can overwhelm them resulting in rather non-desirable behaviour like hitting, biting and the infamous tantrum.
Two year olds are not designed to sit still, be quiet and listen. Their brains are not able to process information like adults can. They are completely unable to see consequences to their actions or see situations from anybody’s point of view but their own. They want to explore the world that is still new and exciting to them. They marvel at little things that we wouldn’t even look twice at. Maybe we should be more like them instead of expecting them to be more like us!
5 Ways we can be more like our toddlers
1. Run, dance and move with free abandon
2. Live in the moment
3. Take time to notice the small things
4. Take wonder in nature
5. Love fully and completely
Ways we should not be more like our toddlers
1. Eating food off the floor
3. Piddling on the floor
4. Bogey eating
5. Waking up in the night……and not going back to sleep for 3 hours!