Toddlers are synonymous with exploration and curiosity – their unwavering desire to discover new things can often make you want to pull your hair out because of the mischief that comes with it. Although they are undeniably adorable, looks can be deceiving. There are times they will ignore every single rule you have set, press all your wrong buttons and go into super quiet modes when you know they are up to something sneaky. As parents, it’s safe to say we have all experienced this turbulent phase in the development of our children. You will find yourself doing the yogi deep breathing more often than you have to with the antics of your toddler.
If it makes you feel any better, the things that your toddler is doing is actually important for their development, even if it is driving you up the wall.
Here is a list of the annoying but important pastimes of your toddler:
ATH (Annoying Toddler Habit) #1: Playing With Food
After you have spent hours preparing a well-balanced and nutritious meal for your toddler, you may find a few mouthfuls being eaten and the rest on the floor or on their clothes; resembling some kind of modern art.
Playing with food is actually a learning process. Your child is actually conducting their very own science experiment to test texture, feel, smell and taste and of course, whether it will fly or fall with a thud on the floor.
If you allow some sort of freedom to explore with their food, children might be more willing to eat more of it. There was a study conducted that found that toddlers who played with their food could name their food faster.
ATH #2: Mess
Toddlers will make a mess all day if they are allowed to. Finger painting, messy play, sand play, water play and jumping into puddles – these are all high in a toddler’s to do list. As much as adults may not like this side of kids’ play, messy play is actually very good for developing motor skills. It is also a great sensory play as it engages all the senses of a child and allows them to manipulate materials. Messy play is all about fun and creativity with no aim in mind.
ATH #3: Getting Distracted
If you want something to be done right now or in a hurry, toddlers are probably the last people you should employ. They may fall asleep while on the job, poo, cry, get distracted or do all of the above at once. You may have experienced that a five minute walk down the street will take three times the time with a toddler in tow as they have to inspect every pebble, leaf and ant that they pass by.
To many adults, it may seem like a waste of time, but toddlers are actually learning about the world around them and they are committing things to memory for future use.
Look out for Part 2 of this article!