6 reasons why the toddler years are the best years
You might be counting down the days until your baby hits year three, and it's okay to breathe a sigh of relief when these early toddler years are over. But over time, you'll probably start to miss these years despite their difficulty. Ironically enough, it's the things that drive you up the wall that you'll also remember for years to come, and despite their craziness, the toddler years just might be some of the best years. And the messiest. Probably also the smelliest. Yep, definitely the smelliest.
- There are tons of exciting firsts
During pregnancy, milestones include things like physical growth, symptoms, and trimesters. But for toddlers, milestones are all about observable development. In other words, if parenthood is like a garden, pregnancy is the time where you plant your crops, tend to them, and wait. Toddlerhood, on the other hand, is where you watch the flowers start to bloom.
At this age, it might seem as though your baby is picking up a new skill every day, maybe even to the extent that you're having a hard time remembering what she could and couldn't do a week ago. Of course, toddlers develop at different rates, so your baby might not exhibit this growth right away. But it's around this time that parents get to start looking for little (and big) signs that their "baby" is growing up.
- Toddlers start to interact more with other people
There are going to be at least a couple times where you close your eyes and hope your toddler did not just say that out loud, in public, with other people listening. But there are also going to be more and more instances where you get to watch your toddler interact with other people in the most special and adorable ways, making you more proud than you ever thought you could be. That's going to be pretty amazing.
- They feel more emotions
Toddlers get mood swings and express their feelings in ways that can be hard for parents to understand and address. At the same time, though, this behavior symbolizes that your baby is starting to recognize and express the complicated emotions that she feels inside. You might not love her moments of anger, but there are lots of other new emotions that you'll get to see her notice in themselves, like confidence, pride, or delight. You have a unique opportunity to teach your baby about these emotions, what they mean, and how she can express what she feels inside in a healthy way.
- They have a desire to please
your baby is busy exploring and learning about this world that she inhabits. But at the end of the day, your baby looks to you and her other caretakers for guidance and example. Don't make the mistake in assuming that just because your baby doesn't always listen to you or do as you do, that she isn't watching how you act, and learning from you. In a few years when your baby is a teenager, you might remember the days that she was so young and impressionable.
- They have endless curiosity
As time goes on, we tend to get less and less interested in the tiny details of life. Right now everything is new to your baby, which makes things that you consider to be ordinary pretty fascinating to her. This can get difficult when she wants to explore every nook and cranny of a room or when she wants to pick a piece of food apart into microscopic pieces and examine every single crumb. But this interest is endearing, and can be entertaining to watch.
- You get lots of time with each other
Once toddlerhood passes and the school years begin, the two of you will have less time to spend together, and one day, you'll look back on toddlerhood as a time that the two of you got to enjoy entirely with one another. That reason alone is a pretty good reason to consider these years some of the best years.
"Well-Child Care: 2-Year Visit." ClevelandClinic. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2012. Web.
"Toddlers (1-2 years of age)." CDC. US Department of Health and Human Services, Mar 15 2016. Web.
"Emotional Development: 2 Year Olds." HealthyKids. American Academy of Pediatrics, Nov 21 2015. Web.
"Toddler Development." MedlinePlus. US National Library of Medicine, Aug 19 2016. Web.
More articles at this age
Kissing it better: Dealing with toddler bumps and bruises
You can be as careful as possible and your baby may still end up with the occasional bump or bruise - she just isn't ready to start being careful for herself yet.
Leaving an angsty toddler with the sitter
The best things in life are free. But there are also some pretty good things that cost money, one of which is hiring a babysitter. You'll get to enjoy some time away from the house while helping your baby feel more comfortable in the sitter's care.
Games to tire out your toddler
There's no energy like toddler energy! And while it's great most of the time, bedtime and nap time can suffer for it. The cure? Plenty of active play!
Toys that are inappropriate for your toddler
In an ideal world, your baby could play with any toy that she wanted. But the reality is that at this age, certain toys are simply too dangerous for your baby to be playing with, and they won't be appropriate until she is a little older.
Helping your shy toddler make friends
Shyness in children is common, and it's completely normal for young toddlers. Still, a parent wants to see their little one having fun and making friends, which can be harder for shy children. You can't make friends for your baby, but you can help her learn how to make friends on her own.
Handling your toddler's nightmares
Bad dreams are a pretty normal part of life, but for young children, who are still working out the difference between fantasy and reality, they can be especially scary.