11 Lessons Learnt from Toddlerhood

I have been a parent for almost two years now. The first year, or Babyhood, flew by in a haze of learning the impossible, doing the unexpected and dealing with the unmentionable!

The beginning of the second year saw us embark on the journey into Toddlerhood. Our small baby morphed into a walking and (eventually) talking small child. This phase has already brought with it much to learn, and do, and deal with, and I know there is much more to come!

So here are 11 Lessons I Have Learnt from Toddlerhood (so far!), otherwise known as 11 Parenting Mistakes I Have Made in the 12 months!

– It is a good idea to spend an extra two minutes finding the lid for the sippy cup before we go out. This takes much less time than the two hours needed to dry out a drenched leather handbag once we get home. Oh, and if it is not leaking in your bag, you have most probably left that dreaded sippy cup in a restaurant, library, gymnasium or other public building!

– No matter how toddler-proof you think your house and garden are, your toddler will find something to fall down, stick up her nose, fall over or put in her mouth. For goodness sake, I ran a high quality childcare centre for five years, you think I would know better than most how to prevent such catastrophes!

– Though it might seem cute to put your young toddler on one of those automated kiddy car rides which you see at the shopping centre, whatever you do, resist the urge and step away, quickly! You know, the ones where you put in $2 and the child has a ride. Once (and it only takes once) you have introduced your child to the pleasures of this form of entertainment, you will never again pass one without the request for a ride which quickly deteriorates into whinging or a much-dreaded public tantrum if refused. My shopping trips are no longer planned according to the most straightforward, logical sequence of shops I need to visit; they instead involve a tricky plan to avoid Immy seeing those pesky kiddy car rides which lurk around every corner of our local shopping mall.

parenting toddlers

– Baby wipes are good for much more than sticky fingers, faces and… well you know! I can personally attest to the fact that they do indeed clean orange stamp ink from white leather dining chairs and remove sickly, sweet-smelling watermelon juice (from the day before, hate that sweet smell) from your red leather purse. They also clean unidentified sticky grime from the covers of overdue library books and children’s marker pen from many, many surfaces. All I can say is, thank goodness for baby wipes!

– It might seem like a good idea when you are stuck in traffic with a wailing toddler but never, I repeat NEVER, introduce your toddler to the concept that childrens music is just the touch of a button away whilst in the car. Once you have inserted that Wiggles CD it will never again be removed from the CD player. You will even find yourself alone in the car singing along to “Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga, Big Red Car.” You will forget what radio stations actually sound like and you will never again know what songs are in the Top 40!

– The library book that you least like will undoubtedly become your toddler’s favourite. You will be able to recite the words in your sleep after reading it four thousand times a day. Or, you could be like Dad 101, and surreptitiously hide the offending article under the couch cushions!

– Toddlers move too fast to photograph and have no interest in posing for the camera.

toddler development

– Toddlers state the obvious, continually. Where once you dreamed of them talking, you now realise it is much easier when they don’t. The dialogue of your day becomes;

“Yes, you’ve dropped it.”
“Yes, you’ve picked it up.”
“Yes, you’ve put it down.”
“Yes, that is a good idea.”
…and so it goes, on and on and on!

– Being a toddler is messy business. Learning to feed herself, drink from a cup, play in the sand or water or dirt, playdough, painting, just being a little kid – it’s messy. In my experience, play clothing should be easy to wear when running, jumping and climbing and easy to wash. Today, we have been through four changes of play clothes though the warm weather is a blessing as less clothing required equates to fewer loads of washing!

– Toddlers are into everything, for about 30 seconds anyway! Cries of “Me help,” or “I do it,” abound and a pack of patty pans can often prove more entertaining than an expensive toy!

– Dad’s play rough. They parent differently to Mums. No point trying to change them, just close your eyes and pray he catches her.

So, that is it. My list of Toddlerhood lessons learnt so far.

What lessons has your toddler taught you lately?


  1. Narelle Nettelbeck says:

    Ahhh the toddler years!!
    You have so much more learning to come!! I've been going just over 8 years now. I don't think our kids will ever stop teaching us lessons will they?

    I also think that being qualified in child care helps only a little once the carer becomes a parent, it's a whole new ball game as far as I'm concerned….

  2. The one that never fails to amaze me is: Just because you know one toddler extremely well, that doesn't mean you know any others at all. I do home day care and have three children of my own, and I'm still amazed. My almost-2-year-old is the first perpetually stripping toddler I've had to deal with. It's January in Minnesota, and the high temperature yesterday was 0 F. I finally had her in a sweatshirt and a t-shirt with a stretchy neck, worn as a skirt. It was the only way I could get her to keep anything on!

    Also, watch your language–not just because they will repeat your "adult" word choices, but because you may end up speaking "toddler" to everyone else. Yesterday I found myself repeating everything my toddler said to my husband. He finally interrupted with, "I can understand her, you know. I don't need a translator." and I realized I was so used to repeating her own speech back, to confirm that I understood her, that I couldn't stop even when she wasn't talking to me!

    And I'm totally with you on the baby wipes. I've also used them to clean juice (and other sticky messes) off the wood floor and pen off the leather couch. They're godsends!

  3. I don't think I will ever leave the house without baby wipes again, even long after they are no longer needed for my girls.

  4. I've learnt that bribes do NOT really work on them. Sigh. Tehehe…

  5. Amen on the whole list.

    We've been out of diapers around here for a while now and I still buy wipes. And now they have cucumber & green tea scent, lovely.

  6. yes yes!
    but my little one doens't know about the wiggles in the car – the 3 older ones like radio so she's used to it hehehe
    I love early language
    'peesa mama'
    'tank oo'
    'lus oo'

  7. I don't know WHAT I did before wipes ;D

  8. Yep, I'm with everyone – I don't know how I used to get through the day without baby wipes.
    I'd add that having a toddler means that you are rarely ever embarrassed by anything, because they constantly put you in awkward and embarrassing positions when out in public.

  9. Aspiring Mum says:

    I can't stand the kiddy rides in the shops!! I had to laugh when you wrote that you plan your trip to avoid them – I do the same thing! My 93-year-old grandmother thinks we have it so much harder these days than when she used to go to the shops (or "in to town").

  10. katepickle says:

    he he he fabulous list of life lessons… ah toddlers they drive you nuts but boy do they make you laugh!

  11. Rizoleey.wordpress.com says:

    Very funny! Oh how we can all relate. I only let my daughter have one ride on a Monday if we are at the shops, we might get to stop and climb if we are lucky. Since her brother is old enough I make sure that there are two seats with two wheels makes it easier, "Nope not stopping only 1 seat" Sorry its thursday!. I always have wipes in the nappy bag and car, but have a whole box of face cloths for around the house, some days I use 10. and the radio will be forever mine…..I got the kids a duel screen DVD player, they are currently learning Spanish/English Alphabet and foods. Riley will probably speak spanish before he speaks english.

  12. leechbabe says:

    A fantastic list, my girls are 4yo and 6yo now but I can remember those toddler years so clearly. And many of the items still relate even though they are a little older.

    In particular this strikes a chord
    "play clothing should be easy to wear when running, jumping and climbing and easy to wash. "

    My mum gave my girls beautiful party dresses for Christmas, they are gorgeous, really really delightful and Dry.Clean.Only.

    I dropped them at the dry cleaners yesterday and it is going to cost $30 per dress. Thankfully mum is paying for it.

    Mum was surprised the dresses had gotten so dirty when the girls were only wearing them to birthday parties. I was not because with all the sticky party food, the over excited kids and the games … well kids parties are one of the messiest things imaginable.

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