Toddler Lingo Decoded
Photo by Fernanda Greppe on Unsplash
Children aged 2-4 years of age are a riot. They’re funny, observant, and boy do they know how to charm your socks off!
At the end of a given day, you’re not sure whether you’re more tired or thankful. While you’re figuring out each day and planning the next meal, a constant state of action pervades your home and life.
The young one has a lot to say. Learn how to look behind the words, and reach the little hearts despite how distracted you might be:
- See!! Look at me! Look what I made
We moms have heard this appeal over and over. Some of us have countered these calls on our attention with irritation or impatience. Very forgivable on the part of, you, the adult. You would’ve seen the object or spectacle several times.
You can have an easier time of it if you note that the child, in this scenario, wants your attention. Not praise, not claps. She wants you to turn away from your task and give her that time.
Granted, this isn’t always possible. You might be concocting an urgent presentation for work or a hurried meal for your hungry family. Your best bet at this time is to say, “Ï am (insert activity) as you see, (insert endearment). I will be with you in (15 minutes/some realistic time frame)”. The child may not tell time yet or understand your priorities. But surely, she will appreciate that you’ve given her a clear timeline.
- Can we buy xxx/can we do xxx
This is most often seen if you, as a family, have taken trips or expensive activities as a habitual thing. Children would have understood by now that we’re living in changing times: no schools, no avoidable trips, or outings to the mall/movies. But they still request them. Or they might ask for an item or toy.
Our job as the adult is to recognize that they are looking for gratification. Buying a toy or game is their way of asking for a reward. Replace a trip to the ice cream store with a walk to the park, followed by home-made goodies. Engage children in baking cookies/cutlets in the shape of their favourite TV character. Time spent with you is something children would treasure. Make this a ritual instead of the outing. Telling stories from our childhood can help your kids relate better to you. Trust me, your kids will ask to hear more of these!
- A snack (especially if it’s accompanied by) I want a snack NOW!!
This is a call for the parent or caregiver to examine if the child eats a decent-sized meal. Several snacks a day are not essentially bad. But snacking between mealtimes can reduce the size of the meal itself. Point out to the child that if they don’t eat mindfully, they can interpret several feelings such as thirst, tiredness, or even anxiety/fear as hunger.
Remember, even we adults tend to make these mistakes. So blame doesn’t work. Instead of biting into a piece of garlic bread or marshmallow, show the child that a filling meal is good for them. Later, follow this up with an interesting mix of snacks.
If these snacks are fruit, cut vegetables, nuts, or home-cooked favourites like laddu made of dates and til, it can be a great dietary supplement. But steer clear of too many slices of white bread, fried foods, or fast food.
- My sibling is bothering me
Sure, toddlers get into the worst fights. Our general rule should be to treat all our children without partiality. If we tend to favour one over another, children will observe and take advantage of such a stand even before we notice.
Instead, encourage children to resolve their disagreements by talking calmly. If they can’t be calm, show them that they can come back to the issue after a break. This way, children become more aware of their emotions and find ways to master them.
These are common, every-day occurrences. They offer insights into the child’s disposition. Don’t miss out on these cues. They hold the clue that help us parent our children better!
Sargi is a full-time freelancer and mother. She cares for her plants, blogs, a thriving fount of writing inspiration, and bakes on occasion.
She prides herself on keeping it real despite how wildly variant her days are.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.