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10 Things They Never Told You About Raising a Toddler

Babies - when they’re born your world momentarily stops. Their tiny hands grab your fingers and you know you’ll dedicate everything to protect and nurture their little life. They cry, they’re sick on your shoulder, they sleep all day and want to play all night. Yet you love (or grow to love!) the ups and downs of having a newborn.

Then, suddenly - teeth! Endless movement! And a cheeky intelligence begins to develop. Your baby is no longer totally helpless, but he or she is developing a unique character that sometimes makes you feel they’re playing mind games with you. Here’s 10 things they never told you about raising your little mischief-maker:

1. They're brutally honest

“I don’t like Granddad.” “That lady is old.” “He’s ugly.” Learning to be polite takes years of experience, but toddlers wear their heart on their sleeves. Team that with a new-found grasp of language, and they can display a brutal honesty that’s sometimes hard to take! It can feel like you’re walking around with a ticking time-bomb that’s ready to embarrass you at any given moment.

2. Everything is a pet

From a squirrel to a spider and a muddy worm, they will want to pick it up, give it a name and take it home. Toddlers have a beautifully caring nature and as such, will want to take nature home with them. Like cats, they often regard this as a generous present you’ll be glad to receive…

3. Tantrums - they're probably testing you

Are they hurt? Upset? Or just putting on a performance to get their own way? Toddlers learn quickly how to push their parents’ buttons, and you’ll soon learn that they’re far more intelligent than you ever thought. Just think of it as your own little cub challenging you to become the alpha lion of the pride.

4. They won't un-learn a naughty word

Be careful of what you say and what they hear, because toddlers are like cheeky sponges that absorb everything around them! Never underestimate the power of your toddler to retain something they’ve learned and then embarrass you in the supermarket, at family parties or at nursery. Remember - they often find it very funny to see the look of shock on your face, which just makes things worse!

5. They can teleport out of their crib, their pushchair, even your arms…

It feels like five minutes since they couldn’t lift their head up, but now it doesn’t matter how high or wide the barrier, toddlers have an escape plan and it’s probably a genius one. Let’s admit it, your friends and family probably told you that toddlers will climb anything and wriggle their way out of anything. But you didn’t really believe it until now.

6. Mealtimes - a daily exercise in patience and willpower

During their early years children are constantly learning and experimenting, so it’s the perfect time for them to try new foods. But they never told us how difficult it could be. Your child may be eating hundreds of carrot sticks one day, and turning their nose up at them the next. There’s almost no logic and no consistency, you just have to keep going!

7. They're not camera shy

Children born since the advent of the iPhone have been around cameras since their very first moments. They’re not afraid to strike a pose. By their toddler years they become Britain’s Next Top Model with every click of the shutter - and let’s face it, toddler selfies are very funny. Remember to document these photos so you can pull them out later at their 18th birthday or wedding.

8. Their imaginations are incredible

It’s truly special to witness the power of your child’s imagination. Pretending to be an astronaut on Mars, believing they’re a mermaid in the deep blue sea, inventing fantastical stories about dinosaurs and unicorns all at once...your toddler teaches you things about play and imagination that you’ll never forget. Have fun!

9. They have (almost) endless energy

Everybody knows toddlers are quick, nimble and springy as a high-jumper, but no parent is ever prepared for the endlessness of their energy. What they don’t tell you is that while adults need a solid night of sleep to replenish their energy, a quick nap is the perfect re-charge for our little mischief-makers. Never simply trust that your child will get tired - they’ll surprise you.

10. Clean clothes are a thing of the past

Your toddler will find a way to get dirty, whether they’ve been sound asleep or they’ve literally just had a bath. This is one of life’s great mysteries, but it’s something almost every parent will experience. Loading the washing machine becomes an almost never-ending chore for parents of toddlers but remember - messy play is a great way for them to learn, and it’s healthy!

Through all the highs and lows of early years childcare, we know we wouldn’t have it any other way. Follow LEYF Nurseries on Facebook and Twitter for more!

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