Life Lessons from Two-Year-Olds

I spend a lot of time listening to two year olds since my office at SEEC is across the hall from the two year old classrooms. Two year olds are incredibly cool human beings. They are honest, yet loving; assertive, yet shy; funny, yet serious. I have always said that the year between two and three is one of my favorite years of child development because you have a rare and fleeting view into the mind of your child– they can tell you what they are thinking but they have not yet started to censor what they are saying. I think that there are a lot of life lessons we adults can learn from two year olds. Here are some of those lessons…

  • Use all your energy to engage in things that you are interested in doing. Two year olds go and go and go, seemingly nonstop, but it’s all about doing what they are interested in. We all say that we wish we had the kind of energy two year olds have…maybe we would all have this kind of energy if we spent more time doing things we like.
  • When you are done, be done. While two year olds go and go, when they are done they are done. When they are done with the Playdoh there is no convincing them otherwise. When they are done playing cars they move on. Have you ever watched a tired two year old fall asleep? One minute they are wide awake and the next…sound asleep. No tossing and turning and worrying there. Be done with it and move on.
  • Eat a little bit all day long. Nutritionists tell us that this idea of grazing is the right way to eat but do we do it? No! We sit and eat three (often huge) meals every day. Two year olds, when left alone, prefer to graze on small meals all day long. It is so much healthier.
  • Hold someone’s hand and get their attention when you want to tell or show them something really important. I love how two year olds come take my hand or put their tiny hands on my face to be sure I am looking right at them when they have something important to tell or show me. Too often we talk at people rather than with them.  Get people’s attention when you want to talk to them and give them your attention when they talk to you.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a great facial expression. Two year olds are experts at funny faces. They break the tension, communicate their feelings and make people laugh. If only more of us did that the world would be a better place.
  • Make sure people clap for you when you do something cool. I love how two year olds do something and then look to you to clap for them as soon as they stop. Everyone needs to be acknowledged for doing something cool. We should do it for each other more often.
  • Ask “What’s this?” and “Why?” a lot. It makes things more clear and helps everyone know what is really going on. You should also ask “Why not?” a lot as you get older. It opens new doors and new ways of thinking.
  • Feel proud of yourself in pictures. As adults we often resist getting our pictures taken and worry about how we look when they are taken. Two year olds delight in getting their pictures taken and insist on seeing them over and over regardless of how they look. They just love to see themselves. No image problems here.
  • Move around often rather than sitting still for hours. It makes you healthier and keeps you slim. Two year olds have it right. It also makes you tired so you sleep better. Not a bad deal.
  • Let people know when you are not happy. It is so much healthier than keeping your feelings all bottled up inside. Two year olds are masters at letting you know when they are not happy, but they don’t hold a grudge either. We could learn from both of these behaviors.
  • Try something new often. Two year olds often don’t think twice about trying something new, especially if you don’t make a big deal about it being new. Two year olds know how to “live juicy”…not a bad way to live your life.
  • Give hugs and kisses. Lots of them. Every day. To lots of people. Say “I love you” often.

If you have not spent any time with a two year old lately I strongly suggest you find one (the adorable one below is my granddaughter!). It will put your life in perspective and make you appreciate the small things that truly make up a life. It is definitely making my life better.