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7 Things I Expect of My Toddler

Do you sometimes dream of being a better mom? I often think about the kind of mom that I could be, that I desire to be, that I always envisioned myself being when I was growing up.

And I always seem to fall so short of my idealized version of what this “good” mom would be.

Recently, I have realized that one of the biggest things getting in my way of being the best mom to my kids that I can be isn’t that my kids are so strong-willed, or badly behaved, or even just typical kids. It’s myself.

Yep, I get in the way of me being the best mom that I can be.

You see, I often expect way more of my children than they can realistically be or do at their young age. And I am finding that this is especially true of my son, since he is the youngest.

I expect him to be more like his older sister, even though when I think back, I realize that he is, in most ways, at the same place developmentally as she was at two. And because she was my oldest, I didn’t expect anything more from her at the time.

But for some reason, because my son is the second child, and I see how a child can act, and what they can do at the ages of three and four, those expectations filter down and I find myself expecting the same thing of my two-year old. Which isn’t fair to him, and isn’t good for me as his mama.

I expect that he’ll be able to pick up a room full of messy toys without any supervision or help.

I expect that he’ll be able to eat with his fork and spoon without making much, if any, of a mess (Really, what am I thinking? My daughter still doesn’t do that!)

I expect that he’ll follow the directions the first time I ask, without having to be encouraged or reminded when he gets a little distracted.

And when he doesn’t do these things, or when he even does the opposite of what I expect, I get upset and can’t understand why he acts the way he does.

Um… because he’s two. Sheesh.

And so, because of these unrealistic expectations I place on my toddler, I set him and myself up for failure, and take away the opportunity I have to be the kind of mom that I want to be.

I’ve decided I need to make some new expectations of my son and be very conscious and intentional about dwelling on these reasonable expectations instead of my unreasonable ones.

So, here are 7 realistic things I expect of my toddler.


  • Be a Messy Eater 1 of 8
    Be a Messy Eater
    I expect him to make a mess at every meal, but I also expect him to at least attempt to help me clean up afterward.
  • Need Time to Transition 2 of 8
    Need Time to Transition
    I expect him to take a long time to transition between activities, and I need to give him the time he needs to move from one thing to the next.
  • Want to do Things Himself 3 of 8
    Want to do Things Himself
    I expect him to want to, "DO IT MYSELF!", and I want to give him the time and space to exert his independence.
  • Get Upset 4 of 8
    Get Upset
    I expect him to get upset and possibly throw a fit when things don't go the way he wanted or expected, and I want to give him the freedom to display his emotions in the way that he needs to, but I also want to help to teach him appropriate ways to express his feelings.
  • Be Clingy 5 of 8
    Be Clingy
    I expect him to need a lot of love and comfort from his mama (in other words, be clingy sometimes), especially when he's throwing a fit, or having a rough time. He really is still so young — he's not an adult in a child's body — and he so needs that emotional, and physical, attachment to me and the comfort of my care and support.
  • Make a Mess 6 of 8
    Make a Mess
    I expect him to play imaginatively and creatively with his toys, which will most likely result in a huge mess. And I expect that he won't be able to pick up that mess without my support and help.
  • Just be Himself! 7 of 8
    Just be Himself!
    And I expect him to just be the amazing little guy that he is, because it's his personality and independence that that make him such a joy to have as a son!
  • 10 Things I Don’t Do as a Mama of a Toddler 8 of 8
    10 Things I Don't Do as a Mama of a Toddler
    While I'm working on my expectations of my son, I'm still definitely not a perfect mama.
    Check out the 10 Things I Don't Do as a Mama of a Toddler

Do you sometimes find you expect too much of your kids? What is one realistic expectation you can set for your toddler today?

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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