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6 Reasons to Be More Like Toddlers

Normally, I would never suggest emulating any type of toddler behavior. In fact, I spend a lot of time complaining about my young child's wildly inappropriate, irrational and confoundingly frustrating behavior. But I also find her enthusiasm, silliness and carpe diem attitude infectious.

So while I might want to throttle her 90 percent of the time, it's also really liberating to watch and even partake in that crazy, do whatcha want toddler attitude from time to time, rather than trying to change, control it or even discipline.

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In your honor, kid: a list of the very best, imitation-worthy toddler nuttiness. (Please note that the full-body, "I want out of my car seat" thrust is NOT included in this list, nor is the hitting your baby brother or stealing toys from the dog.)

1. Dance when you wanna dance

When the music kicks on—in her head or from the stereo—she just starts grooving. There's no self-conscious pause here, and it reminds me to just take a moment to "Shake it Off" whenever the mood strikes.

2. Clothing optional

Let's be honest: Clothing is restricting and can really get in the way of a good time, whether that's enjoying your bowl of Cheerios topless or taking a neighborhood stroll in the buff on an 89 degree summer day. There are many, many days where my daughter runs around in just a shirt or nothing at all. While I chase her around, begging her to put on some article of clothing or other, I can't help but think, hmm, she's onto something here.

3. Eat sparingly, but when you do, consume exclusively your favorite items

My toddler would prefer to survive exclusively on strawberries, bacon and rice—in that order. She would eat her favorite things all day if she could, especially fruit and pork products. If she's not into something 1000 percent, then it won't pass her lips.

The thing is, I'll find myself arguing with her to eat something stupid like a bite of pasta or a hunk of cheese, but she's perfectly satisfied with the pint of berries she just polished off. Well done kiddo. Maybe I could shed this baby weight if I followed your example!

4. Be nice!

This is one of my daughter's favorite admonishments. If she hears even so much as a raised voice, she'll point a finger and shout in the offender's location: "Be nice!" I have daycare to thank for it, and it's a motto that helps keep the whole family in check. Even when we're all worn out and cranky, a sharp, "Be nice!" from my daughter cuts through the tension, cracking us all into smiles.

5. Sleep rules

Young kids often sleep an impressive 10-12 hours straight at night and even enjoy one to two naps a day. They'll conk out sitting up in a car seat, stroller or wherever if they don't get the zzzs they need. That's a whole lot of shuteye that's great for brain development, mood and overall health.

Of course there are many reasons for sleep disruptions: a cold from daycare, a two-week stretch of nap resistance, travel and on it goes. But a toddler's usual habit of turning in early and often is definitely worth copying. It reminds me to click off my iPhone and close my eyes just a touch earlier tonight.

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6. Family above all else

The mere sight of a family member typically makes a toddler break out in extreme excitement. Her dedication to her favorite people, often parents, is inspiring and unflagging. It's like having your own personal cheering squad whenever you return home from work or show up at daycare or elsewhere to pick them up: "Mommy, mommy! Look, it's MY mommy!"

She reminds me to thank my own parents, give my sister a call, invite my brother over, and well, be thankful for my own growing family.

Gifs via Giphy

Image via Twenty20/chanelpluscat

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