Lately I feel like my precious toddler and I are on an adventure to the unknown, and not a fun adventure. I find myself yearning for early nap times and bedtimes, all in an effort to be able to sit with some sort of sanity. I can already see just a glimpse of what my life will be like with a teenager in the house (yes, girls do mature early!). Parenting a toddler is hard work and probably one of the toughest stages of their development. They are becoming more verbal, independent, and all around sassy. It’s easy to have an actual conversation with your toddler now, but as it turns out, there are just some things that are better left unsaid. While your wee one can be frustrating at times, they are still learning to navigate their emotions, which are very sensitive. Check out our list below of some things you shouldn’t say to your toddler.
1. “You’re Okay”
Toddlers are notorious for bumps and bruises. Sometimes a trip on the sidewalk that results in a scraped knee feels like the end of the world. As a parent, we’ve already experienced these physical and emotional feelings and they aren’t a big deal to us. But our children are feeling many things for the first time. You don’t have to treat a scratch as if it’s brain surgery, but you can empathize just a little. Tell them you know it hurts, give them a special band aid and call it a day!
2. “Stop Crying”
I’m going to raise my hand right now and admit I’ve said this in the last 24 hours. In all honesty, I was trying to calm my daughter down so she would “use her words” and tell me why she was crying. My well-intentioned use of the phrase went unheard, and my 2-year old probably only heard that “crying is wrong.” Experts say it’s much better to talk through the crying and identify the source, such as saying “I know you are sad that you can’t play with that toy anymore.” This demonstrates that it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to show emotions by crying!
3. “Why Did You Do That?”
I ask my daughter this daily, somehow expecting that she will give me an articulate and reasonable response for something like why she decided to lock me out of the house. The fact is, even if she did tell me, “because I had fun turning the lock,” it’s not going to make me happy anyway. No matter what answer I’m given, I will still be frustrated. If your goal is to teach cause and effect to your toddler, then try showing what happens when they do something you don’t want them to do. “When you turn the lock on the door, mommy cannot get in the house.” Maybe that was her plan all along!