Personally, I don't think that there is anything cuter than a toddler. Sure, babies giggle and smile, and they look adorable in their little bibs and high chairs. But toddlers are learning to talk, and that makes for some pretty hilarious moments. While spending Christmas with my fiance's family, I was entertained by his three-year-old nephew, Cooper, who thought that Home Alone was the funniest movie that he had ever seen... until he realized that Macaulay Culkin is without his parents. Cooper asked "Where's mom?" with a super sad look on his face (and that's something that I'm still laughing about).
Just like toddlers are forming phrases and sentences, moms are also figuring out how to speak to their two and three-year-olds. It's, of course, important to teach manners, but there are other ways to talk to toddlers that will make life a bit smoother. Everyone knows the emotions of a toddler having a tantrum, and if there are certain words and sentences that can stop that from happening, it would definitely be a good thing.
Read on to find out 10 things that toddlers never want to hear their mom say and 10 things that they need to hear.
First, here 10 things they need to hear from mom...
20 "Which Clothes Do You Want To Wear?"
A parenting expert, Julie Tilsner, writing for Parenting.com says that asking your toddler what clothes they want to wear is a really good idea. Why? Because moms are giving them the choice.
As Tilsner says, "Does your toddler insist on wearing her favorite pair of shorts over her pants -- with the cape from her princess costume? Don't sweat the fashion faux pas. Clothing falls firmly into the 'choose your battles' department."
Saying this to your toddler is amazing because they can pick out their own clothes and be creative but will wear something that will be warm enough or fit the temperature outside.
19 "Should We Change Your Diaper Now Or In Five Minutes?"
Janet Lansbury, writing on her website of the same name, says that moms should say this to their toddler.
This is really good because you're giving options. You're also showing your toddler that you see that they're busy playing or doing something else and that you respect that.
People often say that toddlers aren't the best at handling transitions, and that's definitely true. They are so young that when they are eating lunch and then learn that it's time to leave the house to go shopping or go on a play date, it's a harsh change for them. Asking them when they want to do something softens that and will be something that they really need to hear.
18 "Of Course You Want The Cookie, I Want One Too"
The Military Wife and Mom says that this is an amazing sentence to say to your toddler. This is included in ways to "say no to a toddler without actually saying no."
It's true that sometimes moms do need to tell their toddler no, but since you want to still be inspiring, you know that no can be a harsh word.
When it comes to the things that toddlers need to hear, the statement "Of course you want the cookie, I want one too" is perfect. You're showing your toddler that you get how they feel and that you hear them.
17 "Let's Name The Animals In Your Book"
You can't wait for your kid to learn how wonderful books are, and it's really nice to share this with them. But instead of simply reading to your toddler, which of course you will do (especially as part of their nighttime routine before going to sleep), why not ask them to talk about the animals that they see in the pages of the book?
Parents.com says that it's a good idea for moms to say, "Let's name the animals in your book" to their toddlers since this helps them learn things. As mentioned above, toddlers are learning a lot about the world, and this is part of it.
16 "You Did Your Best"
Of all the things that toddlers want to hear their moms say, "You did your best" is definitely up there. Young Parents says, "Your toddler wants to achieve everything he aims for, but success doesn’t always come his way."
This is a great thing to say for a few different reasons. First of all, it'll put a smile on your toddler's face since everyone likes to know that they're doing well. And second of all, it'll inspire your toddler to keep trying and to know that even when he can't quite do something (he spills food on himself while eating breakfast or a snack, for example), it's all good.
15 "You Can Do It"
As Young Parents says, moms should say to their toddlers, "You can do it." As the website puts it, "He faces new challenges all the time, and he needs courage to tackle problems and different experiences."
Moms know that their kids love hearing that they have done something well, and sometimes, kids need to know that they are able to complete a task or try something new. This is particularly true of toddlers. If you're wondering what your toddler needs to hear from you, the fact that you support them and believe in them is definitely high up on the list.
14 "It's Upsetting To Not Get What You Want"
Janet Lansbury recommends that moms tell their toddlers, "It's upsetting not to get what you want."
This is definitely important and something that a toddler needs to hear... often.
It can be tough to say no when your toddler really wants dessert or a certain toy or anything at all. You don't want to upset them (and it would be great if you could avoid a tantrum, especially if you're in public) so what do you do? Telling them that you understand how they feel will work wonders and make them feel a lot better. Then you and your toddler can go back to being an adorable mom/toddler duo and not worry about things like tantrums.
13 "Stop! That's Way Too Warm To Touch!"
Parents.com also says that moms should say "Stop! That's [the word for way too warm to touch]!" to their toddlers when they are in the kitchen or getting super close to the stove or oven.
As moms know, this is very nerve-wracking, and you wish that you didn't have to say anything at all. You don't want to make your toddler as nervous as you feel or make them think that something is wrong. But do you need to communicate to them that something is unsafe to touch and they need to back away and not touch it.
Saying the phrase with simple words is good because it's short. You won't explain too much and confuse your toddler.
According to Parenting.com, your toddler will get really interested in a toy or a topic, and it's good for moms to say "wow" and show that they care about it, too. As the expert says, "Toddlers obsess. They find something that fascinates them and then eat, drink, and sleep the topic. Why? It's a big and wild world, and in lieu of mastering it, they seek to master a small slice of it."
Parenting.com suggests saying "wow" since it's only one word and your toddler will totally get what you mean. It's definitely going to be amazing to observe your toddler becoming so interested in something.
11 "I Love You"
Young Parents recommends that moms say "I love you" to their toddlers: "Your two-year-old never tires of being told that you love him because it reassures him, makes him feel secure and valued, and lets him know the strength of your positive feelings towards him."
When it comes to what a toddler needs to hear, "I love you" is definitely a big one. Of course you know that this is important, but it's good to remember just how much this affects your toddler. After all, you want them to be happy and thrive and learn things, and this will help them be more confident.
And here are the 10 things mom should avoid saying to her toddler...
10 "You're Okay"
When your toddler falls down while playing in the park or backyard, you tell them that they're okay, right? It seems like such a natural thing for a mom to say. How could it go wrong?
According to Pure Wow, moms telling their toddlers "you're okay" will have a different result than they intended it to have.
The website says that toddlers see this phrase this way: "What they hear: A confusing message, because—at this particular, fleeting moment—they’re actually sort of not OK and maybe it did kinda hurt. Little kids need to feel understood and heard, just like grown-ups."
9 "You Have To Share"
Pure Wow suggests that moms don't tell their toddlers "you have to share" because, "What they hear: 'I’m taking your newest favorite thing away from you and you are powerless to stop me.'"
No mom wants their toddler to think that way, so it's definitely best not to say this.
This is a tricky situation since you want your toddler to learn about sharing. People say "sharing is caring" (but that's probably not something that your toddler wants to hear because that might not mean much to them). Sharing is a big deal. It seems good to talk about taking turns with a toy instead of telling them that they absolutely must share.
8 "Use Your Words"
Salon.com says that moms shouldn't say "Use your words to toddlers." Why? As they explain, "Guess what? Even if they are verbal geniuses (and think about it, how many of those are around?), toddlers, even at age 3, don’t always have…well, words."
That's so true and something to keep in mind for sure. It seems like it might be better for moms to encourage their toddlers to tell them how they feel another way. If you say "use your words" to your toddler, they could honestly just freeze up or not know what to say. This is something that moms say with good intentions, but it doesn't have the result that they want.
7 "Don't Cry"
According to Pure Wow, if you tell your toddler, "don't cry" they will think that you've said this to them: “It’s not OK to be sad or scared. It’s bad that I feel this way.”
Of course moms don't mean this when they tell their kids not to cry. You're just trying to help them feel better and all you want is for them to be happy once again. But it's easy to see how saying "don't cry" can backfire and you're making them think that certain emotions aren't good. Of all of the sentences that toddlers don't want to hear, this is a big one since it involves talking about feelings, which is important.
6 "Time Out"
Although moms might want to give their toddler a time out (and actually say those two words), Salon.com says that's not the best idea.
According to Salon, "So if your little one does not behave as you want her too, it is much more productive to stay with her and explain what you want to happen and why. If you can’t get to this yet because it’s blown into a tantrum, it’s often helpful to hang in there and try, 'Let’s sit over here and talk about it.'"
Remembering to try to chat with your toddler about what's going on instead of saying "time out" sounds like a really nice idea. "Time out" is something that toddlers never want to hear, that's for sure.
5 "Stop Doing That"
Do you ever say "stop doing that" to your toddler? Of course, right? Sometimes, it just seems like the best thing to say since you would rather that they didn't bug their sibling, for example.
Anxious Toddlers suggests that moms never say "stop doing that" to their toddler. This is also a big thing that toddlers would really rather that their mom never said to them.
Anxious Toddlers says that toddlers want to "exert some control" so they will do what you don't want them to do. This can be frustrating, but it's just the way that toddlers are. Instead of saying "stop doing that", tell them something different. Say, "You can play with that toy now."
4 "What's Wrong?"
The mom writing for The Military Wife and Mom tells a helpful story about her toddler. She said that her toddler would ask for some toast, she would give it to them, and they wouldn't want it. She would ask "What's wrong" or why they didn't want it and they couldn't answer.
As she writes, "Your 2-year-old does not know the answer because his actions are based on emotional impulses, not logic. He doesn’t know why he doesn’t want toast anymore. He doesn’t know what’s wrong about the toast."
Toddlers never want moms to ask them what's wrong for that reason: they can't answer it. That's really good to keep in mind.
3 "It's Time For Bed"
Of all the things that toddlers never want to hear, "It's time for bed" is a big one.
It's easy to see that your toddler would get pretty upset if you said these words to them. Sure, it's hard not to say them because you do want them to go to sleep, and there is a point every evening when it's definitely bedtime.
But since toddlers can be rebellious, moms want to avoid saying this phrase. It seems like it would be a good idea to ask them if they want to read a story first or get into PJ's first since toddlers appreciate being able to make their own decisions.
2 "Calm Down"
Toddlers would rather that their moms never said "calm down" to them.
Mommyish says that moms shouldn't say "calm down" to their toddler during a tantrum: "It's entirely possible that toddlers don't even know that the word calm means. It's like talking to them in a foreign language that they do not speak." The website also mentions that these two words don't work with adults, either.
That's definitely true, right? It's tough because you want to tell them to calm down, but if you've tried this in the past, then you know that saying that didn't help them calm down at all.
1 "We're Not Playing Right Now"
Salon.com says that moms shouldn't tell their toddlers "We're not playing right now" because toddlers love to play.
How would you feel if you were doing something that you really enjoyed and then someone told you to stop? Whether you were reading a good book, watching a great TV show, or working out, you wouldn't want to just stop and do something else. It makes sense that toddlers would be pretty upset if their moms told them that it's not the time to play. For toddlers, it always seems like a good time to play, and it's definitely good to remember that.