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As parents, it’s only natural we try to guide our children down the right path, teaching them to be good, honest, caring and considerate people – because of course, we’re the experienced ones, so we surely know best.
But while we might feel like the grown-ups with all the answers as we stand by, shaking our heads and rolling our eyes when our little darlings are all tears and tantrums, these erratic and naive little creatures are savvier than we might think.
In fact, the average toddler can teach us a thing or two when it comes to being happy and living our lives to the full.
It’s that naivety, innocence and limited life experience that, in many ways, fuels their infinite wisdom. After all, they are the people we once were before we had our hearts broken, our fingers burnt or our trust broken. So next time life is getting you down, spend some time watching your child in action and you might just learn a thing or two about happiness
1. They don’t bear grudges
When it comes to throwing hissy fits, your average toddler could give Naomi Campbell a run for her money. But unlike us brooding grown-ups, they never stay mad for long. There are no overanalysing or blowing things out of proportion – once the red mist has lifted, the whole thing’s forgiven and forgotten and they’re already looking for their next fix of fun.
2. They don’t care what other people think
Ever been hit by social anxiety on your way to a party? Does my outfit look right? Will they notice that spot on my nose? What if I can’t think of anything to say? What if everyone is funnier than me..?
Toddlers, on the other hand, don’t give a hoot what any of their tiny cohorts (or their parents) are thinking about them. You only have to witness the unadulterated crazy behaviour at the average two-year-old’s birthday party to see that!
3. They are honest
According to research, the average adult tells around three lies in the space of a ten-minute conversation with a new acquaintance.
So if you want a truly honest answer, you’re better off asking a two-year-old.
They may not be known for their tact, diplomacy or sensitivity, but at least you can rely on children to tell you exactly what they think, not what they think you.
4. They think big
Give an adult a cardboard box and ask them to tell you what they see – and they’ll probably say “a cardboard box”. Show the same thing to a toddler and they’ll see a boat, a house, a pirate ship…
Toddlers have freedom of spirit that allows their imagination to run wild. So next time you’re sitting in a brainstorm meeting at work or trying to think of creative ideas, channel your inner toddler and free your imagination.
5. They don’t bottle things up
When toddlers are sad, they cry, when they’re angry, they shout, when they’re frustrated, they scream – which, when you think about it, makes complete sense. It certainly makes a lot more sense than sitting there, a seething mass of internalised ill feeling.
So next time your toddler is in the middle of a public meltdown, take a moment to admire their ability to let it all out and move on.
6. They love openly
The love that comes from an unbroken heart is the most powerful of all because it’s expressed freely and without caution – which is why few things in this world are more life-affirming than a heart-felt cuddle from a toddler.
No hidden agenda, no inhibitions, no game-playing – just pure unadulterated love.