Lessons Your Toddler Can Teach You

Parents can learn by watching their toddler.

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You most likely focus on what you can teach your toddlers rather than what you can learn from them. After all, there are many things you need to teach—from saying thank you to putting on a shirt.

But there are also many life lessons your toddler might be able to teach you. You simply have to be open to the idea that your toddler might have an even better way of thinking about certain things than most adults do.

Here are 13 lessons you can learn from your little one.

Don’t Give Up After Failure

Toddlers fail more than they succeed. They often fall down, put their clothes on inside out, and lose their tempers on a daily basis.

However, they aren’t embarrassed by their failures, and they don’t conclude that they’re incapable. Instead, they get back up and keep trying.

Be Curious

Toddlers are notoriously curious. Whether they’re asking questions or opening every drawer within reach, they want to learn as much as they can.

And they don’t just look at things—they explore them with all their senses. They want to taste, smell, hear, touch, and see everything they come in contact with.

Be Patient

Of course, they aren’t so patient about everything (like when asked to do something they don’t want to do). But watching a toddler try to do something they’re invested in doing can teach you a lot about your own patience.

Enjoy the Moment

One of the big perks of being a two-year-old is that you have few regrets about the past and even fewer worries about the future.

Adults often spend a lot of time trying to learn and practice mindfulness techniques. But for toddlers, living in the moment is second nature. No matter what activity they’re doing, they focus on the here-and-now.

Only Eat When You’re Hungry

Serving food to a toddler can be frustrating. They’re notoriously picky eaters, and they often refuse to eat anything at all.

But on the bright side, they only eat when hungry. They don’t eat just because the clock says it’s lunchtime, and they aren’t concerned about cleaning their plates. They listen to their bodies to know when it’s time to eat.

Be Yourself

Whether their hair is a mess or they’re the only child in the room, toddlers aren’t concerned about how other people perceive them. They’re too busy being themselves.

This doesn’t mean they aren’t shy sometimes—they definitely can be slow to warm up to some people. But this usually happens when they’re unsure about certain other people, not because they’re unsure about themselves.

Ask for Help When You Need It

While toddlers can be fiercely independent (often struggling to recognize their limitations), they also ask for help.

They aren’t ashamed to admit being unable to do something. And when someone does help them, they’re often quite gracious.

Appreciate the Small Things in Life

Toddlers don’t care about fancy things or expensive outings. They tend to be most impressed by the little things in life—a flower in a field, rain falling out of the sky, or a new box to play with.

They can be easily entertained by many different things. And they often find great joy in life’s simplest pleasures.

View People Without Prejudice

Toddlers don’t have preconceived notions about what people should be like based on their age, race, sex, religion, or occupation.

They look for signs that someone is kind based on how the person acts, and they’re open-minded about who they interact with.

Express Your Feelings

One of the most obvious traits of our toddlers is that they often need help in the emotion regulation department (as they don’t always know how to show feelings in a socially appropriate way).

But whether they scream out of sadness, stomp feet out of anger, or are extremely delighted, they surely don’t hold back. They have no problem showing people their emotional state.

Because of this, you usually don’t ever have to guess how a toddler is feeling. And this is something adults can learn from since we often tend to hold our emotions inside.

Love Wholeheartedly

Toddlers know who they love, and they aren’t afraid of getting hurt by the people they care about. They don’t count kind deeds or worry about who shows more affection. They just love people wholeheartedly.

Most of them show a lot of affection toward the people they feel closest to. And they often do so on a regular basis. They give hugs, say “I love you,” and climb up in a loved one’s lap, just because they feel like it.

While they do get angry, they don’t hold grudges long. They move on fast and are often quite generous in their willingness to share and show kindness. They usually express love on a regular basis without worrying about who said “I love you” last.

Speak Up With Honesty

If you want to know if your new hat is ugly, ask a toddler. Toddlers don’t hesitate to share their honest opinions—even when the answer isn’t one you would like to hear.  

They aren’t concerned with people-pleasing. And they aren’t inclined to worry about how to avoid offending someone. Instead, they’re courageous about speaking the truth to just about anyone who asks.

Always Have a Good Joke or Trick Handy

While toddlers aren’t known for their social graces, they are great at handling the lull in almost any conversation.

Whether they can give Grandma raspberries, or show auntie their big muscles, most of them have a few tricks up their sleeves that are sure to get a laugh out of those around them.

And they’re usually pretty compliant with performing their tricks or jokes on request.

A Word From Verywell

While toddlers are unaware of most prosocial behaviors and social graces, they also haven’t yet picked up on our common bad habits as adults. So even though your little one is likely a handful much of the time, you might learn a lesson or two if you watch closely.

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