Translating toddler talk – what we say versus what toddlers hear

Posted in Learning and Development.

Understanding your toddler isn’t rocket science. It’s harder. At least rocket science comes with a manual and a system based on facts and evidence. Communicating with your toddler relies on a complex system of trial and error and pure luck. And sometimes our wires get crossed.

Come and share in some of the common errors in communication between parents and toddlers.

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The toddler stage is one of the best. Children this age are so curious about the world around them and it’s simply incredible to be their guides on this fun phase. But sometimes it may seem like you are talking to a brick wall when you try to communicate with your toddler.

Is it because they simply do not understand what you are saying or that they are choosing to ignore you? We will never quite know (but I am going with the latter). Here are a few of the miscommunication mishaps you can most likely relate to if you have a toddler in tow.

At breakfast

You say: “Here is your favourite green cup.”

Your toddler hears: “Throw the cup on the ground and cry until mummy gets you the dirty blue one.”

During story time

You say: “Choose one book for mummy to read to you.”

Your toddler hears: “Bring me every single stuffed animal you own.”

During quiet time

You say: “Let’s watch a different movie other than the one that has been on repeat for the past three months.”

Your toddler hears: “If Frozen isn’t playing in the background at all times, then it is completely acceptable to yell and scream.”


At lunch time

You say: “Please eat your lunch.”

Your toddler hears: “Dump the entire contents on the carpet and eat the dog’s food instead.”

At school pickup

You say: “We have to pick your brother up in five minutes.”

Your toddler hears: “Fall asleep on the lounge.”

When you attempt to clean

You say: “Let’s throw this ratty old baby toy that you haven’t played with for months into the bin.”

Your toddler hears: “Oh look, it’s your favourite toy ever!”

When you have an appointment across town

You say: “We have to be quick, we are late.”

Your toddler hears: “Stop and touch every single thing you see on your way to the car.”

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When you are doing the grocery shopping

You say: “No, you cannot have a chocolate bar.”

Your toddler hears: “Now is a good time to lie down on the shopping centre floor and scream your lungs out.”

At bath time

You say: “Are you ready for a bath?”

Your toddler hears: “Now is a good time to go run around outside and eat dirt.”

At dinner time

You say: “We’re having the yummy chicken that you loved last week.”

Your toddler hears: “Chicken is the worst thing on earth.”

When it’s bedtime

You say: “Goodnight sweetheart.”

Your toddler hears: “Take off all your clothes and wee on the floor.”

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If you’re feeling a little lost in translation when it comes to communicating with your toddler, then you are clearly doing it all right. Because toddlers are gentle, loving, kind and cuddly, but they sure don’t always understand what you’re saying to them!

Take the guess work out of understanding what your toddler wants and give him what he needs with NAN OPTIPRO HA3 Toddler milk, especially designed for growing toddlers when energy and nutrient intakes may not be adequate. With 150 years of nutrition expertise in every can, parents and toddlers will both love their new improved formulation.

Just make sure you offer it from the blue cup…

(This is a sponsored post for NAN Toddler – experts in toddler nutrition)


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