Got a special, little somebody in your life? Having a toddler, or several, in your life can change how you see things. I’m not talking about “taking care of yourself” so that you are still around to see the toddler grow up and have toddlers of his/her own. I’m talking about removing all the filters in our heads that govern our thoughts and actions.
Toddlers have no filters. They live for the moment and accept everything at face value. They do what they want when they want to do it. That spontaneity does remarkable things for them.
Research suggests, among other things, that it results in perfect eating and physical activity balance. Toddlers can make balanced food choices when a variety of foods are available free choice. Unlike adults, they make them free of the guilt that can oddly cause us to go on to make further regrettable food choices.
Toddlers stop eating when they’re full. The don’t have any concept of food units. We adults eat in units. Units are such things as a sandwich, a bowl of soup, a plate of food, a glass of milk. Toddlers don’t see food units. They see food and let their sweet, little bellies tell them when they’re finished. If some of the unit is left, it doesn’t matter to them.
If an adult tries to get a toddler to eat the rest of what they see as an unfinished unit, toddlers resist. They yell, they clamp their mouths closed, they push away the hand that’s trying to get them to eat more than they want or need. It doesn’t matter if it’s ice cream or broccoli. When they’ve had enough, they’re done!
Toddlers lack a sense of propriety. They react to urges rather than worrying about whether now is the time or place. They bust boredom with physical activity. In fact, they deal with most of their emotions with noise and motion. They have healthy outlets because they haven’t learned to “control themselves.”
The sad thing about toddlers is how early and easily they’re influenced by the adults who are guiding them. It doesn’t take long for adults to condition toddlers to take on the less healthy behaviors that cause trouble for those same adults! Toddlers who were born with perfect eating and activity behaviors learn by adult’s loving pressure to become children, and eventually adults who suffer from undernourished, though not definitely not underfed, sedentary, stressful lifestyles!
Watch toddlers as they display pure, unadulterated toddler behavior. Follow their lead.
Find the toddler in you and express that little child as often as circumstances allow! Enjoy it, especially the power of shouting, “NO!” to anything that displeases you!