Why toddlers are teachers
Thanks to my work in the education field, I have met many, many wonderful teachers who treat their students similar to how they would their own children.
When I was in school, there were several teachers who significantly influenced me, and I still remember much of what they taught me today.
But, now that I am a mother, my toddler teaches me more about me and about the world around us than anyone else ever has.
Below are a few lessons I’ve learned from my 2-year-old.
1.) Sit up straight. Have you noticed how babies and many toddlers have perfect posture?
When I was in college, I learned a little about the Alexander Technique, a method originally developed as vocal training for singers and actors. It primarily emphasizes posture and body position and their impact on breathing. In addition to its benefits to performers, the Alexander Technique is now often used to reduce stress, manage back pain and even cope with childbirth.
According to the Alexander Technique Center’s Web site, “a baby of 12 months sits very upright naturally. In fact, it is far easier and more natural for a baby to sit upright than for the typical adult who slouches into a supposedly ‘relaxed’ movement/postural pattern. As a child grows, he usually starts to imitate the mannerisms of those around him, such as parents, peers and teachers.”
Thankfully, Elliot has not yet begun imitating the less-than-perfect posture of the adults around him, including me! I need to follow his example and sit up straight!
2.) Stop eating when you’re full. I actually began learning this from Elliot as soon as he started solid foods at six months of age. No matter how delicious something is to him, he will abruptly stop when he becomes full. I, on the other hand, usually eat all of what’s on my plate even when I start to feel satisfied. Not a good strategy, especially when trying to lose a few pounds!
3.) Chill out and have fun! Toddlers never look around at all their toys covering the floor, freak out and say, “Look at this mess! I need to clean this up right now!” No, no, that would be my job!
On a recent evening, while Elliot was playing with his cousins – 7-year-old Riley and 3-year-old Andrew – I was astounded by their never-ending energy. This is not a new realization to me, but, for some reason, on that night, I really took note of their fun-loving attitudes. It didn’t bother them that the sand from the sandbox was all over their shorts or that they ate only three bites of their dinners because they couldn’t wait to play together!
Yes, I tend to be a bit of a control freak, and I know there are occasions when I need to just relax and let Elliot have fun!
4.) Be slow to speak and slow to anger. Well, I haven’t learned this lesson first hand from Elliot’s actions. He is, unfortunately, like his mother in that he is a quick-tempered chatterbox. Through my experiences as a parent, I have realized that controlling my anger is one area I need to work on a lot.
The best teaching book of all – the Bible – has something to say about the topic. James 1:19-20 reads, “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” I think those verses speak for themselves. If I want Elliot to control his anger, I need to show him that I can do so, no matter what the circumstances!
Originally published on ovparent.com.