Kids are awesome and draining and fun and tiring, but so are vacations and parties and a million other things. The recent hurricane reinforced a lot of things for me and provided some enlightenment, too. I know daycare/work are right for our family and I know that I sometimes envy that toddler mentality.
Toddlers have it made. They get to go to bed early and have someone else do all of their cooking and cleaning. They can spend hours reading books and playing, but what I’ve really grown to notice and appreciate is the toddler’s view of the world and their place in it.
During our recent extended time at home, and without power, I witnessed so much joy and imagination. Sure he wasn’t happy he couldn’t go outside, but he loved having his tricycle and slide inside. The pure joy on his face as he played was enviable. As adults, we tend to lose that joie de vie as responsibilities take over. While some of these toddler traits may be annoying (at times), I think if we slow down and take a look at how toddlers live life we may find a bit of joy for ourselves.
What We Can Learn
- Saying No– toddlers are amazing at this one. As adults we sometimes find ourselves over-committing or over scheduling because we can’t say ‘no.’ It is a simple word, with a direct message and meaning and yet at some point, it seems to leave our vocabulary or our adult conversations. Sure we may tell our kids no or our partners, but sometimes we need to say no for ourselves. It can be a relief to say no when you really want to say no.
- A Sense of Daring– Toddlers are those people who will try anything once. They explore their areas, they take chances when they feel safe and they notice the little things. Sure sometimes balancing on the rocking horse handlebars isn’t the best idea, but they see the world a bit differently and that sense of adventure can be inspiring.
- Speaking Your Mind– a toddler will tell you like it is. Again social norms and ‘rules’ tend to keep adults from saying what they really mean. Yes, we try to model positive behavior and kindness, but assertive communication doesn’t have to be disrespectful. Saying what you really need to say can be freeing.
- Finding Humor– spilled water, dropped fork, an annoying inconvenience that can put a damper on your day will often be laughed at by a toddler. Finding humor in the mundane and minor things can brighten any day.
- Finding time to Play– In the car, before bed, in the bath, at the dinner table. Toddlers are able to find time to play anywhere at any time. As adults, we sometimes lose this playfulness. Finding time to play, whatever that may be, is just plain good for you. Let your mind wander, do something mindless, join in with your toddler’s play. Leave your adult responsibilities behind for a few minutes.
We play so many different roles: mother, partner, daughter, co-worker, friend, etc. that we sometimes lose sight of the original role, me. So go for it, take a few minutes every day and try to live like a toddler, without a care in the world, speaking your mind and finding joy in the simple things.