The independent toddler – four stages you need to prepare for


Parent friends seem to have so many opinions and so much advice to give about how to deal with a newborn. From what essentials you’ll need to buy, to how you’ll never get them to sleep through, there’s far too much on offer. But when it comes to dealing with a little independent toddler?……..silence! Perhaps it’s because after that first year of raising a child, you realise that no matter what plans you had for your parenting style, your toddler’s plans are entirely different. You really aren’t the one in charge here…independent-toddler

So advice is perhaps a little redundant. But a little warning never hurt anyone…and with almost a year of dealing with independent toddler behaviour, I thought I’d share some things you might like to prepare yourself for – even if you can’t do a darn thing about it!

Wow, I actually have choices! (No, nah, nope, no…)

I’m not sure when it happened, but suddenly everything was ‘nah’ in our house. It was swiftly joined with an exaggerated shaking of the head and a hand in the face (how dare you offer me strawberry yogurt – you know I stopped liking that yesterday!)

Is choice really always a good thing?? Which brings me on to…

I’m too grown up for a buggy now (I’m going to make every shopping trip hell on earth)

For me, this has proved to be the most difficult development of our toddler stage. Yes, of course toddlers want to run around and explore. And yes, that’s just lovely – when they’re in the great outdoors or the confines of your home. But out shopping? Actual hell on earth.

I can’t recall the amount of times I’ve had disapproving/ worried glances from strangers concerned that my toddler is standing up in her buggy (after unstrapping herself) and stamping her feet. Or those times I’ve had to try and get her strapped back into her buggy whilst she’s planking/purposefully slipping onto the floor whilst SCREAMING. And I’m not really just talking about buggies here – shopping trolley seats, Trikes, car seats, reins, holding hands…too independent for any of it apparently!

independent toddler

Or they may want to push the buggy themselves…

This week we resorted to putting her in the trolley section during a trip to IKEA, whilst we piled up shelving, plants and fruit bowls on top of her – it was the only thing we could do to stop her running around the store and picking up (smashing) everything within her grasp. A shop assistant came over to tell me that we should be careful. You can imagine my reaction. Shopping trips are few and far between these days.

Deep breaths people. Deep breaths.

I can dress myself, you know (you’re never leaving the house)

The process of getting my 22 month old daughter dressed in the morning usually goes something like this:

  • 7am – toddler comes in to show me that she’s put her shoes on with her pajamas. She wants me to fasten them.
  • 7.30 Time to take the shoes off (tantrum)
  • 7.31 Whilst putting on the vest top, toddler puts both legs back inside one of the legs of her pajama bottoms
  • 7.32 Mum takes pajama bottoms off (tantrum)
  • 7.33 Mum tries to put leggings on. Toddler wants to do it herself (tantrum). Mum lets her
  • 7.36 Mum takes leggings off as they are back to front (tantrum) and puts them back on the right way (whilst tantrum continues)
  • 7.37 Toddler insists on putting on her own socks and shoes. Mum tries to put hair in bunches whilst toddler is distracted.
  • 7.38 Toddler realises that Mum in sneakily trying to do hair (tantrum)
  • 7.39 Mum puts slide in hair instead. Mum takes off shoes (tantrum) and puts them back on the right feet.

This world revolves around me (I own you)

The best thing about having a toddler is watching them develop and become more independent. But any parent will know that with that new-found independence comes a fierce defiance that can test even the most relaxed of us…Suddenly toddlers don’t see why they should have to drop everything at your whim – didn’t you realise that this is their world and you just live in it??

I hold my hands up and admit that on some days I avoid visiting a park with a play area because I just can’t face the tantrum that I know will come when it’s time to leave. On other days I have to sneak treats into the trolley at the supermarket to avoid a meltdown over not being allowed to have a bag of chocolate buttons at 8am. I also went through a period of keeping the Play-Doh tub hidden, as it just wasn’t worth the torrent of tears that came with putting it back away (usually at the point she started to eat it).

Trying to reason with an angry toddler is pretty much impossible, so it’s true what they say – Choose. Your. Battles.

On the flip-side, toddlers are hilariously funny, endlessly entertaining and ridiculously cute. So not every day is so hard!



Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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16 Comment

  1. Alex Fihema
    October 8, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    You are right in every sentence you wrote.
    I had the same experience with my children. Even now that DD4 is four I wish I could put a reign on her, she runs around and doesn’t look where she’s going, constantly bumping into people or things, then cries when she’s told to stay with us.
    However, I do love to see their character development as they try to gain their independence #KCACOLS
    Alex Fihema recently posted…Primrose Hill, Magic, and a Sand BoxMy Profile

  2. The Speed Bump
    October 8, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    So true. Sometimes I’m so proud of the little person she’s becoming. Sometimes I think for god’s sake, you were so much easier when you couldn’t talk/move/have an opinion! #KCACOLS
    The Speed Bump recently posted…Favourite TV Shows: #Blogtober 16My Profile

  3. Becky @ Educating roversi
    October 9, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Sooooo right! My son seems to be the most independent child I have ever met – wanting to do everything himself. Only the other day he tantrumed because he let the cat in and the cat ran through the door….yep…you’re as clueless as I am! Getting dressed/undressed is a similar situation in our house to yours too! #KCACOLS

  4. Angela Watling
    October 10, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    You’ve got this spot on! My daughter is the same with so many things. The ‘planking’ comment make me chuckle because i’ve had that so often. It’s always fun trying to wrestle her in to straps to stop her sliding out and injuring herself on the floor…as people walk by staring! Fun times… #KCACOLS
    Angela Watling recently posted…Our emergency visit to the Emergency DepartmentMy Profile

  5. chocolateandwineandillbefine
    October 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    hehe this is so so true of my daughter. Thankfully my son is far easier – he just doesn’t seem to want to be as independent. I completely agree – ‘pick your battles’ – it is the best advice you can possibly give someone experiencing this phase! There is just no need to moan at them for every single thing or you would lose your mind. It is something I am still trying to get my husband to take on board! #KCACOLS
    chocolateandwineandillbefine recently posted…Our September in PhotosMy Profile

    1. Natalie Mudd
      October 10, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Same here! I think if my hubby spent all day with her he’d soon realise that disciplining isn’t all that easy! X

  6. Emma me and b
    October 10, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    awww lucky you for not getting loads of advice! I wish people would shut up about how I parent b sometimes haha. full of opinions.
    I feel for you re shopping as we went through this for a while. it is better now at three. I find letting him hold various items while I shop works – and he knows full well if we wont be buying said item. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday!
    Emma me and b recently posted…The Gift of Time: What Mummy Really Wants for Christmas!My Profile

    1. Natalie Mudd
      October 10, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Aw fingers crossed it gets a little easier then! Good to know x

  7. MMT
    October 13, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Love the pic of you guys at the end, she’s getting so big! Her and Mouse have clearly been texting each other on the sly…some of this stuff has majorly been going on in our house! It’s been pretty stressful on the school run with shoes and coats being put on then off again the second my back is turned. And don’t even get me started on the cries of ‘walk! walk!’ coming from the buggy as I race on the half mile walk to pick Tigs up on time.
    The good news though hun, the future is bright and I remember this stage first time around. It’s all a journey to getting to being a proper helpful little person who puts on their own shoes, and can even put their own washing away. 😉
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 41My Profile

  8. Relentlessly Purple
    October 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    haha so true! Toddler’s can be so stressful x #KCACOLS

  9. Madeline (This Glorious Life)
    October 13, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Oh you really do have to pick your battles when it comes to toddlers, haha! My son was a bit of a ‘runner’ when he was little, and didn’t like reins, but we managed to get him to wear one of those backpacks that has a kind of rein attached to it which made life a bit easier. x #KCACOLS
    Madeline (This Glorious Life) recently posted…You have to go down the chuteMy Profile

  10. Lex Jackson
    October 13, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Oh goodness I agree so much. Especially with the whole ‘you must stop what you are doing immediately and do what I want’ phase. Give me strength. Some days I question if they will ever end. Well done to you for being you and a fab mummy! #coolmumclub

  11. Jordanne | Thelifeofaglasgowgirl
    October 14, 2016 at 12:29 am

    I love watching my little one grow and become more independent, it’s such a nice stage to watch. Them dressing themselves though is a long process haha #coolmumclub

    Jordanne ||

  12. Sonia
    October 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    My girls were exactly like this! The boy however, was easy in comparison, he sat there while I dressed him, didn’t care what he wore and was easily bribed with food to do what I wanted! Think it’s a girl thing- not sure where they get it from!?! 😉 #KCACOLS
    Sonia recently posted…Budget Birthday PartiesMy Profile

    1. Natalie Mudd
      October 14, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Ha I have heard people say that girls are easier, but I don’t believe them! It must be all down to individual personality x

  13. Helena
    October 15, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Ah yes I think our 20 month old thinks she’s in charge here! #coolmumclub
    Helena recently posted…Word of the Week: SwitchMy Profile

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