Why toddlers do the funniest things

Why toddlers do the funniest things

You thought there was nothing more adorable than your brand-new baby—until you had a brand-new toddler. Every day, he's doing something so weird and cute you can't stand it (carrying a favorite LEGO® DUPLO® figure everywhere, for instance, or mangling his sister's name). Toddler behavior can be perplexing—and thankfully, super-adorable—to us parents. Here's why:

Their reality is not ours. Toddlers don't distinguish between fantasy and reality in the same way adults or even older children do. So when they're babbling to themselves or their toys, they're making sense of their emotions, figuring out what communication is, and where they fit into the world. Later, as preschoolers, role playing with toys will help them sort out relationships between people–real and imaginary.

They are learning cause and effect—adorably. Toddlers are amazed by things we take for granted: “If I drop a ball down the steps, it bounces!” “Why does a feather float in the air, but a block doesn't?” Toys such as LEGO DUPLO help them puzzle out the laws of physics as they bang, stack, and manipulate the bricks. (“If I push down on the brick this way, it sticks to the other brick. If I put it on upside down, it doesn't!”)

Their attention span is minuscule. They're completely immersed in play one minute, and thumping across the floor chasing the dog the next. Toddlers are impulsive and easily distracted (which can work to your advantage when trying to leave a play date.) And honestly, they are just crazy fun to watch.

Everything is new to them. Imagine seeing a kitten for the first time. It's fuzzy; it squeaks; it has a tiny pink tongue that scratches! The world is full of everyday marvels for your toddler to behold. Whether it's snow, holiday lights, or a pile of LEGO DUPLO bricks in bright colors, your toddler's brain is processing it for the very first time.

Language is still a mystery. Toddlers can say words, even if you can't always understand them. And when they start building sentences, their babble can sound like a crazy quilt of nonsense; even the most verbal toddler gets frustrated and resorts to grunts and squeals sometimes. Don't constantly correct them; it's better to immerse toddlers in language by narrating everyday events and reading aloud. Their verbal skills will improve given time–but before that happens, be sure to write down some of their adorable mispronunciations.

Small accomplishments are big to them. If you've ever seen a toddler glowing with pride because he managed to stack a tower of bricks or identify the red bird in a storybook, you know just how important those milestones can be. They're all steps along the route to becoming a capable preschooler. And while it’s a frustrating, messy, and repetitive journey at times, it’s mostly an amazing one. Enjoy it!