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Conventional parenting wisdom decrees that your precious baby will turn into a demon the minute she smushes her second birthday cupcake into her adorable little face. Don’t believe the hype. That’s not sass and a bad attitude she’s exhibiting! It’s newfound independence to be celebrated and—if directed correctly—savored. Here, seven myths that are totally bogus.


Myth #1: The Tantrums Will Get Worse and Worse

Frustration abounds as babies yearn to do and say more, but their motor and language skills have yet to catch up. The good news: As your little one becomes an increasingly verbal toddler, she’s actually better able to articulate her frustrations, needs and limits--hence there will actually be less inexplicable, impossible-to-soothe screaming.


Myth #2: She’ll run you ragged

Overnight, she went from taking tentative first steps to Simone Biles-ing herself off your sofa—and it’s true you have to watch her like a hawk. But kids’ attention spans are also expanding at this age. So she’s likely able to sit by herself, play or “read” for a several-minute stretch.


Myth #3: He Can’t Share

While parallel play is indeed giving way to social interaction, playground conflict is still relatively low-intensity. The true drama start in preschool. Sigh.


Myth #4: He’s Trying to Annoy You

Even at this age, kids are empathetic and eager to please. And toddlers are fully capable of following directions if stated simply, firmly—and not in the form of a question. Try, “Please put your blocks in the bucket now” instead of, “Honey, do you want to clean up so we can go to the supermarket?”


Myth #5: No means No

Here’s a trick for limit testers: Instead of begging, bribing or threatening a consequence, give her two simple choices (both of which lead to your goal). So rather than “Please, please, put your shoes on—we’re late!” try: “Would you like to wear your sneakers or your frog boots?” 


Myth #6: They Make All Your Household Chores More Difficult

Joyously, toddlers don’t see any task as mundane. So instead of letting Elmo babysit so you can get a few simple things done (which by the way, is beyond OK), get your kid involved. You’re folding laundry? Give him a small batch to “fold” as well. You’re loading the dishwasher? It’s his turn to “organize” his sippy cups. 


Myth #7: Food Obsessions are Unhealthy

The baby who happily sucked down kale-quinoa smoothies now refuses toast. But before you call your pediatrician in a nutritional panic, know that it’s totally normal for toddlers to get stuck on certain foods as a means of asserting independence. The worst thing you can do is make a big deal about it (hi, negative reinforcement). Keep offering a few (two max) simple, healthy options along with her latest fave. She’ll come around.

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