The rules your toddler wants you to know

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If toddlers could express themselves fully, they'd have a few things to tell us. Here are the rules your toddler wishes you knew.

1. Park rules

If I played on that swing/slide/climbing frame, that swing/slide/climbing frame is now mine. No one else may play on it until my permission is sought.

If my permission is sought, I am unlikely to let anyone else play on it because, as clearly explained before, they are mine.

The same rule applies to toys. If I have played with that toy, it is now mine. Back off. 

2.   Food rules

If I like the food, I will eat it.

If I don't like the food, I may throw it on the floor.

If I like the food but then decide I have had enough of it, I may now throw it on the floor.


When I have decided that I am sick of actually eating and feel like playing instead, I may now throw food on the floor.

I must not be berated for throwing food on the floor when my rules state that I am free to do this, mmmkay?

3. Sippy cup rules

I must have access to my sippy cup at all times.

Sometimes, this is because I like to stay well hydrated.

Sometimes, this is because I like to bubble the water out of my mouth and then spit it all over my chest.

Sometimes, this is because I like to tip my sippy cup over and check whether it is one of the ones that leak. Most of my sippy cups do leak, so once I realise it is one of my leaky ones, I then like to create a puddle on the floor.

Please note, I spit the water out/make puddles for my own amusement, not yours. Consequently I am not at all concerned about whether you like this behaviour or not.

According to my rules, it does not matter how much my behaviour displeases you. I still must have access to my sippy cup at all times.

4. Clothing rules

Please note that, just like yourself, I have preferred clothing choices that are in line with my values as a fashion-forward toddler.

I know what suits me, and I will choose to clothe myself in choices that reflect my personality and style.

I care not for the weather. Though it may be boiling outside, that does not stop me from wanting to wear my boots.

As mentioned before, this is fashion we're talking about. Please keep up.

5.   Nappy time rules

Yes, I have seen those commercials where the mother places her toddler on a mat and changes her. I've also seen those ones where the cheeky toddler gets changed while standing up.

But let me be clear about something.

I do not care that I am the cause of the bad smell in the room, nor that my nappy is almost dragging on the floor it's so wet. I have other priorities in life and simply do not have time to stop so that you can change my nappy.

I am far too busy trying to draw on the wall, empty out your handbag or clear out the cupboards, to abide by your need to keep me clean.

6.  Bath time rules

I do not enjoy you trying to put me in the bath every night. This is because, whenever I hear the bath running, I honestly believe that I am about to undergo an excruciating experience. Before I am in the bath, I truly have no recollection of ever enjoying this activity.

That is, until you actually get me in the bath.

Once I'm in the bath I remember that bath time is rather nice. It's a leisurely activity where I get some 'me time' at the end of a long day.

I like to use this time to splash, try to eat bubbles, and chase my squeaky toys around.

I do not enjoy you trying to wash me at this time. Remember, bath time is my 'me time' and when you try to wash me, you are interrupting it. Do you enjoy me interrupting your 'you time'?

Once I am enjoying my bath I do not like to be removed until I say bath time is over. Please note: I will never be ready to get out of the bath once I am in.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my rules. Now that you know them, I envisage calmer seas ahead.

Unless you tell me it's bedtime. Frankly, I'm starting to question the whole idea of needing sleep …

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