Toddler talk Metroplus

Ten things you can learn

We spend a lot of time teaching toddlers to do boring everyday stuff – use the potty, eat properly, hold a pencil, put on shoes... But there is also a whole bunch of things we can learn from them, important life lessons we forget as we get older. Hanging out with your friendly neighbourhood toddler can serve as a handy reminder to:

1. Not let life get you down: Bad boo-boo to the knee? A fever of 102 degrees? A painful blood test? It’s not going to keep a toddler down for long! They have a remarkably short memory for suffering, and aren’t acquainted yet with self-pity. You won’t see a two-year-old moping around. Life’s short and there’s always something fun to do right round the corner.

2. Love big and hug often: Toddlers have an apparently infinite capacity for the adoration of the people – and toys, clothes and cartoon characters – in their lives. And they don’t hold back. If a toddler loves you, you’ll know. She’ll squeal in excitement when you come in. She’ll run around in circles for joy. Hugs and kisses will never be in short supply.

3. Love yourself unconditionally: Self-doubt, I’ve realised after watching toddlers, is for chumps. Toddlers don’t believe in being self-critical. They love themselves and what they see in the mirror. They can wear anything and make it work, because they feel so good in it. It’s bright! It’s shiny! They know they’re awesome, and so is whatever they (choose to) have on.

4. Live like no one’s looking: Sing out loud whenever you want, whether in the middle of the doctor’s clinic or the mall. Groove to the music, even if it just means jumping up and down non-stop. Who cares what anyone thinks? Certainly not your average two-year-old. Feeling self-conscious is for boring grown-ups.

5. Express your needs. When toddlers need something, they’re not shy about letting you know (at all). If they’re hurting, you’re going to hear about it (loud and clear). There’s no question of suffering in silence – it’s all out there for the world to see (and hear). That, after all, is the way to get the help that’s needed (though a touch of grown-up restraint isn’t a bad thing).

6. Be curious: When did we stop noticing the world around us? (Ans: when we started sticking our noses in smartphones). Being with a toddler helps you notice that weird-looking caterpillar on the ground, the trails jet planes leave in the sky, and the dogs, cows and goats you pass on the road. It’s all worth stopping for, and fodder for detailed discussions.

7. Enjoy the little things: The smallest treat can make a toddler’s day. A lollipop. A new purple flower in the garden. A slice of birthday cake and a party hat. The glimpse of a rainbow in a glass of water. Even the smallest task, such as watering the plants, becomes fun when coloured by a toddler’s enthusiasm. Nothing is too unimportant to bring joy.

8. Forgive and forget: Toddlers rarely hold grudges (though threenagers do pout). Anyone who’s ever lost control and screamed at their kid knows how quickly they forgive and forget. You might still be feeling guilty about the outburst a few hours later, but your toddler’s moved on. The yelling? That was so 15 minutes ago!

9. To hop, skip and jump: I believe you lose out on happiness the day you start striding purposefully from point A to B. Everything is better when taken with a hop, skip and a jump. It’s hard to keep feeling down when you’re bouncing along the road of life. Not to mention all the aerobic exercise you’re getting. Who needs expensive gym memberships?

10. Stick close to the ones your love: And I do mean close. Real close. Don’t let space or silences creep in between you and the people closest to you. It doesn’t matter what differences you’ve had during the day. Let bygones be bygones and cuddle close at night. (Draping yourself over the person’s lap is optional, though.)


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 7:18:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/ten-things-you-can-learn/article7271238.ece

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