Being a mother means experiencing more love and more frustration than you've ever felt before - sometimes at the exact same time. It means forging ahead even when you're not entirely sure you're doing the right thing, but moving forward anyway because you keep learning as you go. It means worrying constantly about things you can't control but wish you could, like the state of the nation and what kind of world your children are growing up in, and yet having faith that everything will turn out all right in the end.
Mothers of toddlers have special challenges as they raise little people whose personalities are suddenly too big for the bodies they live in. Dealing with emotional and physical growing pains on a daily basis takes a special kind of love to deal with. Here are some things toddlers need their mothers to teach them as they traverse this difficult period of life.
Your toddlers need ...
... to know they are enough
There's enough pressure in the world urging kids to learn more and grow up faster. Toddlers are already growing at a mile a minute. Sometimes they need their mother to slow things down and let them know it's OK to just be themselves. Let them move at their own pace for once, let them show you their favorite toy 50 times in a row, let them bask in your attention and feel confident that you aren't wishing you were doing something else.
... to see a good example of healthy living
If you want your toddler to eat his or her green beans, you'd better be willing to do the same. At this age, kids love to copy what other people do, so setting a good example of healthy eating and exercise will prompt them to follow suit.
"You don't have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and getting physically active, they'll take notice of your efforts. You'll send a message that good health is important to your family," says the American Heart Association. Try inviting your kids to help prepare healthy meals and make a point of being active half an hour every day.
... to hear loving words
Mothers serve more on a daily basis than perhaps any other line of work in the world. They clean, they cook, they work, they change diapers (hopefully not all at once) then they wake up the next morning and do it all over again. But in the midst of all this selfless giving, you might forget to tell your children what all these acts of service mean: that you love them, unconditionally. So in the midst of all your serving, make sure your toddler hears you express your love, as well.
... to be read to
There's no better way to bond with your child and be fully present him or her than by reading books together. Even toddlers can get caught up in the pages of a good book.
"Study after study shows that early reading with children helps them learn to speak, interact, bond with parents and read early themselves, and reading with kids who already know how to read helps them feel close to caretakers, understand the world around them and be empathetic citizens of the world," according to The Washington Post.
... to be told "no"
Telling a toddler "yes" is one of the easiest things in the world. Having the courage to say no, on the other hand, takes the bravery of a knight facing a sleeping dragon and intentionally poking it in the eye.
The thing is, kids grow up and if they've never been told no, they're in for a rude awakening. Getting used to making do with what they have or realizing there are limitations to their desires at an early age could help your child deal with rejection more easily as he or she grows up.
... to be allowed to make mistakes
Mothers struggle to let their toddlers make mistakes when it would be so much easier to do everything for them, protecting them from the big, bad world. And yet making mistakes is a crucial way that kids learn and grow.
For instance, when the time is right, your child might graduate from a stroller to a trike, giving them more freedom, though it also means mom has to sacrifice a little control. These small developmental steps are crucial for every child to experience, though, yes, there might be a few more bumps and bruises along the way.
The Strolly changes with your growing child, starting out as a stroller and changing to a trike or balance bike when the time is right. Are you ready to help your child learn and grow?