parents

9 things every parent of a toddler knows to be true.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you’re a parent of a toddler you’ve probably experienced all of these things.

Little kids are full of questions. These are some of the ones my son has asked me:

“Mum, how can you take your finger off your hand? I want to eat it.”

“Mum, why did the dinosaurs die? Maybe they got old?”

“Mum, when were you a baby? Ninety-one hundred years ago?” (Ah, yes. It feels like it, sometimes.)

Little kids aren’t the only ones learning all the time. So are parents. I can’t pretend to have become an expert on international politics in the past few years, but I have picked up a few things about young children, things that I’m sure other parents of toddlers already know…

“Mum, when were you a baby? Ninety-one hundred years ago?”

1. At least 12 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep is necessary. For the parents.

Kids, meanwhile, just see sleep as an annoying disruption to life. Most parents find that a bedtime routine helps their kids settle (nice warm bath, quiet bedtime story or two, goodnight kiss). I’ve also found that letting my kids have some say when it comes to their bedroom – choosing quilt covers, etc – makes them happier to be there. Just a bit, anyway.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Big W. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

Oh look their asleep.. what a perfect time to start crying.

2. Toddlers will put any objects into their mouth, except vegetables.

You will tear your hair out over your child’s eating habits. You will struggle to understand why scrambled eggs are perfectly acceptable one day and “yukky poo” the next. You will marvel at the amount of energy a child can have without eating a healthy, balanced diet. Just keep putting a variety of nutritious options in front of them, and keep mealtimes stress-free and happy. They’ll get there, eventually.

3. You have to pack more for a trip to the park than you used to pack for a romantic weekend away with your partner.

I have learnt, through some rather disgusting experiences with leaking nappies, that you cannot go anywhere without a change of outfit for your toddler. To save time, I got into the habit of keeping a bag by the door, already packed with clean clothes, wipes, nappies and tissues. Add a bottle of water and some snacks, and you’re ready to go.
Things. Babies need all of the things. This is a small number of those things (post continues after gallery).

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4. The outer layer of their skin has a scientific name. It’s called “dirt”.

Or it should be. My two kids have a fascination with jumping up and down in muddy puddles (damn you, Peppa Pig). I don’t try to stop them anymore. I just put their gumboots on and let them go for it. Clothes wash clean and so do kids.

5. A bath is really just an underwater playroom.

The easy way to get a dirty child into the tub is to buy lots of bath toys. Invariably you will end up buying toys that squirt water. Invariably that water will end up getting squirted all over you and the bathroom. Just keep some old towels handy and tell yourself that at least your child is getting clean.

“A bath is really just an underwater playroom.”

6. There is a perfect time to toilet train your child. But only your child knows when that is.

It’s no secret that today’s kids tend to graduate to the potty a lot later than in previous generations. That’s because wet disposable nappies don’t feel as uncomfortable as wet cloth nappies. The best advice is to just wait until your child is ready. Or, if you’re getting desperate, bribe them. I promised my daughter a car (a ride-on toy one, of course) when she was fully toilet-trained. A friend managed to get her son really excited about the idea of “big boy underpants”. Then there’s always the musical potty…

7. Silence is scary.

If you can hear them yelling or wailing, at least you know what they’re up to. When they’re quiet, they’re probably causing trouble (or asleep, but that’s highly unlikely). For your own peace of mind, make sure your kitchen drawers have locks on them so they can’t get to the sharp knives.

“But no matter what your kids are the most beautiful, clever, hilarious, fascinating children that ever existed.”

8. You will never find the other sock.

I have a pile of small, sad, lonely-looking single socks on my dressing table. I keep thinking I will find the other one in the pair. I never do. Best solution: buy lots of socks. Or convince your child that wearing mismatched socks is really cool.

9. Your kids are the most beautiful, clever, hilarious, fascinating children that ever existed.

No, they are, really. You think you will remember every adorable moment, but you won’t. Write down the funny things they say. Take lots of photos, then get them printed in photo books. Video them chatting and playing, not just on special occasions. They will always be beautiful, clever, hilarious and fascinating, but never in exactly the same way.

Do you have any truths to add to this list?

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