One of the new things we have done for our 3-year-old is signing him up for some extracurriculars, including soccer. He’s been going for several weeks now, and yesterday he managed to last about 10 minutes of practice…before running up and down a hill, and rolling all around the grass.
What I came to find out was: this is completely normal for kids this age! Not only did my sister reveal this to me, but several parents walking by, as I stood there observing my tot run up and down that aforementioned hill!
Here are a few things that no one told me about parenthood, that surprised me:
- Many places are not “kid-friendly.” I live in Washington, D.C. and most places I’ve gone to, whether it’s a toddler swim class (the instructor was terrible and clearly had no skills working with kids) or restaurants, most places are not kid-friendly. Which is strange because there are kids everywhere. In fact, I was just speaking to one of my son’s classmate’s moms today, and she mentioned how kid-friendly and child-focused South Korea was, where she spent nearly three years.
- It’s totally normal for toddlers not to participate in class. We started our 3-year-old in soccer at the end of the summer, and for the most part, he watches and refuses to participate. If I’m there without his little brother, he summons up the energy/courage to kick the ball, and he’s quite good at it! When I asked the coach if this was “normal” (what an ableist term, sorry about that!) he said it was. He had a toddler who refused to participate for two whole years, then something clicked and he became a soccer maniac.
- Most children 3 and under, don’t interact with other kids. Our toddler interacts with us, and everyone in our family just fine. But put him in a classroom setting and he’s a lone wolf. Which is again, very typical for toddlers who are more into “parallel playing” than interactive playing.
- Every little change/development in a child can affect sleep and eating and sometimes both simultaneously. When our toddler went back to school, his sleep and his eating was affected. Same happened when he learned how to walk, when he learned how to crawl, etc. Babies and toddlers are going through such dramatic brain and physical developments that even the littlest thing can impact how they sleep and eat.
- A lot of toddler tantrums are caused by being too tired or hungry. For our 3-year-old, I know that when he has uncontrollable meltdowns, it’s a sign he needs to eat. I mean, many adults are the same way, so it makes sense!
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