What should you expect during the toddler years?
Having a toddler is one of the simultaneously rewarding and stressful parts of raising a child. This is because your kid is beginning to understand many things about themselves and the world around them, but often this journey of self-discovery brings with it some tension relating to the outside world.
For this reason, many people compare the experience of having a toddler to raising a teenager. Because there are so many confusing aspects of the experience, it’s important for you to know just what to expect so when the time comes, you know what to do. Above all, it’s important to constantly offer love, comfort and security to the toddler that you’re taking care of, so practicing these elements in all aspects of your life will help them the most.
To help you understand all of the nuance in taking care of a toddler and what exactly you should be expecting in the process, we’ve made a list of 10 Things to Expect During Your Kid’s Toddler Years:
Before we go into this list, it’s important to note that if you have any serious concerns about your child and your expectations during the toddler years, we recommend you ask a medical professional for their opinion before tackling toddler problems yourself. You want your child to stay happy and healthy, so it’s important that you know when it’s good to ask for help!
#1. Your Toddler Will Want to Be Fiercely Independent
An incredibly important thing to understand about your expectations during the toddler years is that they will almost certainly be different than what your kid thinks. By this, we mean that they will be incredibly interested only in doing things their way. You’ll have to get used to them not just having opposition to some things you ask them to do, but have full-blown tantrums in response to simple requests.
Though many people would like to avoid this step and get along with their kid sometimes there is just disagreement. This is because your toddler is still learning how the world works and will have to calibrate their own expectations during the toddler years in order to adjust and grow.
#2. They Will Say Almost Anything
You should definitely watch your mouth when you speak around your toddler. This is because they have an incredible ability during these years to absorb (and repeat!) anything they hear around them, causing some…colorful words to become parts of their vocabulary pretty easily.
To avoid this, make sure to curb your language when you’re around them. They’re beginning to understand the world around them, so you don’t want them to learn the wrong things! Your expectation during the toddler years should be that your toddler will retain almost everything you say, so make sure they don’t hear anything you don’t want them to potentially repeat.
#3. Toddlers Might Bite
As toddlers are getting used to interacting with the world and also having teeth, they might act out in inappropriate ways to get what they want. This doesn’t mean that you have to reward them in any way, but it can mean that you might be hurt in the process.
For example, it is quite common for toddlers to suddenly bite people out of the blue. You should be on the lookout for this, as the bite of a toddler can be quite painful if you’re not prepared for it!
#4. Toddlers Like to Move
Another thing that toddlers are getting used to is having limbs that they’re able to control and move. Because your toddler has only recently learned to walk, they’re also going to want to continually push the limits on their newfound talent. This typically takes on the form of them either running around or trying to reach places that are slightly out of reach.
The most surprising part about this development is that your toddler will likely be surprisingly nimble for their age, so they will be able to get to a lot of places that you didn’t even think were necessarily possible. This is why we recommend that you always keep an eye on your toddler to make sure they don’t potentially hurt themselves by being too ambitious.
#5. Toddlers Like to Hide
Another aspect of this newfound embrace of motion is the fact that your toddler will also try and move quickly, hiding from you as well. Making sure your toddler is safe might also mean keeping extensive tabs on them, so don’t be surprised when you have to run around quite frequently just to keep up!
#6. Be Prepared for Any Type of Accident
One of the biggest misconceptions for expectations during the toddler years is that once you have to stop changing diapers multiple times a day, your life will somehow become easier. Perhaps this will be the case one day, but it’s not during the toddler years! Potty training is arguably more difficult than changing diapers, as there are so many different things to learn from it.
Not only will you have to be able to locate the nearest bathroom in a pinch if your toddler needs to go immediately, but you’ll also have to be prepared to find “accidents” in places you were not expecting. In other words, expect the unexpected!
#7. Bring an Emergency Bag With You Everywhere
Not all accidents will have to do with missing the potty or not being able to hold it in. In fact, many of the accidents that happen might just be related to not being able to eat food in a clean manner or spilling something. Because of this, you should always have an emergency bag with you that has a good amount of emergency outfits to change into so you don’t waste time having to go home and help your kid change!
This expectation for the toddler years combines with a few other expectations on our list, as you will have to begin expecting many unpredictable things that your toddler might throw at you (both metaphorically and literally)! For example, be prepared to provide your toddler with anything to comfort them as well if they have a sudden tantrum in public.
#8. Your Toddler Will Knock Things Over
Like we mentioned earlier, your toddler acting out isn’t necessarily an indication of them wanting to cause havoc. After all, they’re just trying to get used to the world and temper their own expectations during the toddler years. However, in exploring their curiosity they will undoubtedly create some moments of stress for you.
One of the biggest sources of stress for many parents and caretakers is the toddler’s curiosity to knock things over. Be sure to keep anything fragile or of importance far out of reach so this isn’t possible. In your expectations during the toddler years, consider also finding ways to “toddler proof” your house!
#9. Your Toddler Will Be Resourceful
Though it might not seem likely, toddlers are actually incredibly smart and able to get a few steps ahead of adults at times.
Some examples might include:
Knocking things over when nobody’s looking
Putting food away instead of eating it
Stealing markers to color on the walls
To deal with these things, don’t underestimate your toddler. Be prepared for anything they might try to do so you can be one step ahead for your expectations during the toddler years.
#10. Their Mood Can Always Change
When adjusting your expectations during the toddler years, understand that their mood can change at almost any time. Though they might seem completely content at one moment, all it takes is one moment of discomfort for a true meltdown to happen and potentially ruin everyone’s day. This is why you should adjust your expectations during the toddler years to include the fluctuating pattern of mood and be prepared to help them get back on track when it does happen.
As you can see, there are many different complexities that make the toddler years one of the most complicated parts of taking care of a child. This is why we’ve condensed many of the various complexities into a single article, hopefully giving you enough grounding to calibrate your own expectations during the toddler years.
Remember, the most important part of taking care of a toddler is to show them love, affection and comfort. This will help them be able to feel loved and continue their development. We hope this guide has been helpful for you to ready your expectations during the toddler years!