LIFE LESSONS

IT MIGHT BE OUR JOB AS PAR­ENTS TO TEACH OUR CHIL­DREN, BUT YOU’LL BE SUR­PRISED WHAT YOU LEARN FROM TOD­DLERS

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE | HOROSCOPES - MUM’S THE WORD WORDS: KIRI TEN DOLLE What has your child taught you? Tell us at gold­coast­eye@news.com.au

They say the first five years of a child’s life are the most im­por­tant for de­vel­op­ing and shap­ing them as the adults they’ll be­come. Like a sponge, they ab­sorb ev­ery­thing around them. Crayons and dirt in­cluded. What they don’t tell you is some of the un­ex­pected life lessons you will learn will come from your kids.

TO BE PRESENT

My tod­dler is prob­a­bly the most ‘present’ per­son I’ve ever hung out with. A tod­dler will stop what they’re do­ing to lis­ten to the birds and take the time to smell a flower. They might walk at snail’s pace when you want them to gal­lop, but there’s a les­son to be had in mind­ful­ness as they take in the world with eyes wide open.

TO SEE HU­MOUR IN EV­ERY­THING WE DO

A two-year-old laughs an av­er­age of 18 times an hour in in­ter­ac­tion with its mother (seen mum try­ing to do The Pro­pel­ler?). A study sug­gests a child laughs 40 times a day, while the adult laughs only 15 times. While a good old gig­gle is hard to mea­sure, the point to take away is that laugh­ter breeds hap­pi­ness.

TO BE KIND AND FOR­GIV­ING

A tod­dler passes zero judg­ment. Nor do they care about racial, po­lit­i­cal, re­li­gious, sex­ual or gen­der stereo­types. In a depart­ment store the other day, I held up a blue and a pink top for my daugh­ter to choose. A lady nearby quipped “That should be easy – pink, of course”. She chose the blue.

Tod­dlers smile and wave to passers-by and will of­fer their toy or soggy Sao to any­one. That’s un­less you’re mean to them. For tod­dlers, there are only good or bad peo­ple, but most of the time they’ll drop a grudge for a hug quick smart.

LEAD­ER­SHIP

Ba­bies teach you to del­e­gate and be pro­duc­tive on a scale you never thought was pos­si­ble.

Tod­dlers, on the other hand, will teach you the art of ne­go­ti­a­tion. These tiny ter­ror­ists know how to give you a les­son in con­struc­tive con­fronta­tion. They also like to call meet­ings at all hours and are sched­ule-driven.

Don’t even think about skip­ping nap time. Have you seen the Grem­lins af­ter mid­night?

TO WEAR WHAT YOU WANT

Tod­dlers don’t care what they wear and if they do, there are no re­stric­tions. A friend’s boy once in­sisted on wear­ing a pow­der pink cow­boy cos­tume for a week be­cause that’s what he wanted. He strut­ted into day­care like it was the run­way at Paris Fash­ion Week.

THE ART OF MIN­I­MAL­ISM

Any par­ent also knows that too many toys only get in the way of the good ones. Tod­dlers don’t care for ma­te­rial pos­ses­sions, even if our home still re­sem­bles a multi-coloured mine­field of plas­tic and soft toys.

It’s our job to help our chil­dren nav­i­gate their emo­tions, fuel their cu­rios­ity and to hold their hand through life’s ob­sta­cles. I might have un­know­ingly taught my one-year-old daugh­ter to bite her fin­ger­nails, but she has re­minded me that life is just one big ad­ven­ture.

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