Lessons from the 3 Foot World

I get to work with children and have been for over 25 years, but working with 2 and 3 year olds who are not my biological children is not always the easiest task. Last year, one of the toddlers frantically ran to me for me to pick him up. He wasn’t a talker and of course wasn’t going to tell me that he was within a microsecond of throwing up. If you can imagine the nightmare of a 3 foot human being rushing you with chunks of half-digested food ejecting out of his body towards you. Ok, way too much information, but I had to give you the illustration. 

I have learned a few things from observing these toddlers:

  • Fart jokes don’t work. Fart sounds sometimes do.
  • Bubbles are magical. They are.
  • If it can fit in their mouth, it is highly likely it will go there.
  • Tight hipster jeans have no place in this world.
  • Mucous. It’s all over the place.
  • If all else fails, just cry. That’s what they do.
The bulleted list may not be the most important of important things to know about toddlers, but if you are about to become a parent of little people or want to, then hopefully it helps. The best thing you can do for your little one is be there. They like holding hands. They like sitting together reading a picture book or watching a video. They look doing something together like solving a puzzle. They like showing off their skills going down a slide. In my observation, little ones like being together with the people they love and trust. If a parent asked me in church, “What is the best thing I can do for my toddler?” My answer would be, “Be with your child as much as you can.” Be present and really be present. As my wife would say to me to put down that phone, it could be turn off that tv, or stop reading the magazine for you. Spend time with your little ones and pay attention to them. The majority of the time, they aren’t going to tell  you to leave them alone. 

I once had a 2 year-old who is now old enough to be a parent of one. He just asked me the other day if I wanted to watch a movie with him. I am learning that even adult kids want to be with their parents every now and then and that you never really graduate from being a parent. What is it that you do with your kids in everyday situations? If you have some tips, please share!