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Parenting 101: Toddler development

Toddlerhood is an amazing time in child development. Young minds are brimming with creativity, bodies are aching for movement and emotions are begging to be expressed.

Parenting toddlers can be the most exhausting time in parenthood.
Toddlers can be loud, boisterous, erratic, funny, messy, witty and smart all at the same time. They soak in everything they see and hear and that includes our reactions to their actions. They sense our moods, discover new abilities and move rapidly between states of autonomy and needing to be connected to us.

Toddlers are learning about their emotions too. The focus on emotional learning is the greatest during toddler development, between the ages of zero and four. During this time toddlers operate primarily from the emotional center of their brains and need to be attached to a loving, supportive adult in order to develop the emotional and social competency that will give them the tools they need to learn to self-regulate as well as lay the foundation for all future learning.

If you can remember just three important rules about toddlers it may make your go of it a little bit easier.

toddlers just wanna have fun

toddlers just wanna feel love

toddlers just wanna be understood

Toddlers are at a delicate point in their development. Their attitudes, self-esteem and belief systems are all taking shape based on what they see and hear. Respecting their feelings and protecting their self-worth is imperative and a parent's ultimate responsibility.

1. Speak harshly to a toddler and you'll rear a child who disrespects you.

2. Use physical force or punishment with a toddler and you'll rear a child who uses his fists to communicate.

3. Refuse to acknowledge a toddler's thoughts and feelings and you'll rear a child who thinks little of the thoughts and feelings of others.

Lori Petro is a Mom, Children's Advocate and Speaker. She is passionate about transforming our world through conscious parenting compassionate communication, and peaceful conflict resolution.

For weekly tips, tools, articles and information on conscious parenting please visit:

TEACH through Love
Parenting Toddlers
The Mama Blog

What do you think? Share your toddler experiences in the comments below!

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