15 Rules by Which Toddlers Operate


January 16, 2015 by Katia

Being a member of modern day civilization assumes familiarity with some basic unwritten rules, such as the generally accepted social taboo on using certain parts of your body as a storage area. If you suddenly find yourself preaching the enforcement of those common knowledge rules with great conviction, chances are you’re either one of those airport security people with the scary dogs or a parent. As parents, our days are full of those mental-double-take-okay-so-THAT-just- happened moments.

After my kids go to bed my husband and I often swap anecdotes of such moments. While up until recently 5 Year Old was their main protagonist, with the evolvement and transformation of the character initially known here as 6 Week Old into 2 Year Old a whole new front opened up in the parental battle against the unbrerable lightness of throwing social, moral and behavioural conventions out the window. It appears as though our toddler operates under his own set of rules that don’t only not coincide with civilization’s but often undermine its very core and I am pretty sure that if you have a toddler – so does yours. Toddlers are the fifth column but breaking their code brings us one step closer to normalcy.

I’ve identified a few rules by which toddlers operate. As always I look forward to your contribution and input.



1. If it’s your brother’s – it’s yours. If it’s yours it’s also yours. But definitely not your brother’s.


2. Your mother’s plate is an extension of yours. Actually scratch that. Your mother’s plate is also yours.


3. If it tastes bad, put it in mama’s mouth. That’s the nice thing to do. If you want to be bad or discrete put it on her shirt or pants.


4. If you don’t get what you’re asking for shout louder.


5. When in doubt, throw something.
6. The toilet is a magical transportation device.


7. Buttons – real and metaphorical – are made for pushing.
8. “I don’t want it” is the only way to end a conversation that begins with 50 “I want its”.


9. Pinching is funny.
10. When something’s funny say it 50 times.
11. At least once a day engage in a life threatening activity, but only when your mom is there.


12. You know what else is funny? If you behave all day for your dad on the one day he watches you and fall asleep within five minutes of being put to bed and not wake up at 5am.
13. Sorry marks the natural completion of an action, not a statement of regret.


14. Reason and logic is totally overrated.





Remember, you can get away with ANYTHING. Trust me.





This post was a Finish the Sentence Friday post on the topic “After The Children Go to Bed I…”


Please visit our hosts:


Kristi at Finding Ninee

Stephanie at Mommy, for Real

Kerri at Undiagnosed but Okay





52 thoughts on “15 Rules by Which Toddlers Operate

  1. mamanaparis says:

    take a long, relaxing bath!!! This is soo true, I love it!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you! Also, I am hereby hijacking this platform to publicly apologize to my husband for #12. He had just spent 10 days with the kids on his own. They behaved for him. 🙂

  2. Maggie says:


  3. larva225 says:

    # 16 “No” means “ask again.” And again. And again. And again. And again. And again.

  4. Shauna841505 says:

    Oh gosh…this is not helping my indecision to have a child! 😉

  5. My kids are a little older but many of these rules still apply! I don’t think #1 ever stops being a rule. 🙂

  6. Stephanie Sprenger says:

    Oh, how I’ve missed your voice!!! It was magical to read this, and of course your words were spot-on. I loved the part about metaphorical buttons! 🙂 And I laughed out loud at “If something’s funny say it 50 times” and “sorry marks the natural completion” one. These are fantastic! Miss you, my friend.

    • Katia says:

      Totally know what you’re talking about. That’s how I felt reading your words this week. Yes, I kind of agree with myself on the “sorry” observation…Off to read your stuff. xoxo

  7. sara says:

    Lol yep :). My children are 6 and 10 now, so there is some distance between the toddler years and me now, but i remember catching my toddler son licking the screen door…

  8. Deb says:

    Um, #15. Yes. WTF. But soon, mwah ha haaa… no more diapers! (Now, just don’t ask “Do you have to do potty?”)

  9. nicolemazz says:

    hahaha the things I have to look forward to!

  10. Kristi Campbell - findingninee says:

    Katia! I miss you and your fabulous outlook and humor. Too funny – sorry marking the natural completion… Tucker begins about 1/4 of his sentences with “I made a mistake…” mmmmhmmm. Also haha to if it tastes bad, give it to mom (or put it on her pants). Love it!

    • Katia says:

      And I you, my dear friend! This complete immersion in real life is sucky. I so LOVE that Tucker announces his mistakes. It’s super cute.

  11. well said :-)…my six year old is now as master at the negotiating skills..no is not a word he understands except if he uses it and he’ll talk me around anything as he he gives such a great argument I forgot why i said no in the first place….Were we all clever as children and changed when we got older???? I might get the hang of it when they’re 21 🙂

  12. busy lady says:

    Ah yes. It has been years and now I am into grandchildren. It’s true of grandchildren, too! Bless their hearts! They are wonderful.

  13. Jill says:

    #4…we are so about that one right now. Loved this list!

  14. The Keeper Of The Goldfish says:

    I love this it is so very true!

  15. I’m glad I’m not the only one to make these observations. My son gets me on almost everyone of these.

  16. 16. Put everything in your mouth.

  17. Lily Lau says:

    Hahahah, this was hilarious! You’re so right, when I saw the title I was like “no way, toddlers don’t follow any reasonal rule!”, but you captured them so well!

  18. The Waiting says:

    Every single one of these are true, and I’m sorry that I know that.

  19. Katia, it’s so good to see you back this week! My favorite rule: “You know what else is funny? If you behave all day for your dad on the one day he watches you and fall asleep within five minutes of being put to bed and not wake up at 5am.”

    Ahh, that brings back so many memories. BTW, what’s even funnier? When Toddler behaves like a little angel for MIL. All day. Prompting some interesting conversations when MIL witnesses Toddler’s meltdowns. Such conversations starting with something like “Well, Toddler never seems to do that for me….”

    See you next week!

  20. Dana says:

    Oh, how true these rules are! Unfortunately, reason and logic are totally overrated for many years after toddlerhood, peaking in adolescence. But you made me laugh about it today, and I thank you for that. 🙂

  21. Howling here. Can’t think of anything you left out. The punching being funny one is something I’ve managed to forget. But how could I forget? I’m sure I still have remnants of a long forgotten bruise somewhere on my body … And the repetition of something deemed to be hilarious? I could possibly amp that up to 60 times in a day. How do we survive? By reading such delights as this … Thank you. Sharing. Oh yes am sharing.

  22. Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says:

    Ha! My youngest is now 7, so it’s definitely been a while, but I remember those days all too well! 🙂

  23. Roshni says:

    They behave with everybody except mom! It’s a given law in toddlerland that they can get away with anything with mom!! 😦

  24. 35mommy says:

    Love this! Another one: Proactively announcing everything you are doing at every moment. (I am jumping! I am eating my beans! I am playing with my trains! I am putting on my jacket!) 🙂

    • Katia says:

      LOVED this so much. This gave me a great chuckle and I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you. My original comment was going to be: You are funny. I am reading this comment and laughing. I am not clicking on your blog URL and hitting ‘follow’. 🙂

  25. What a great post! The amgical world of Toddlers!

  26. This gave me a good chuckle : )))

  27. […] post appeared on Katia’s blog, http://www.iamthemilk.wordpress.com. You can find Katia on Twitter @KatiaDBE and on […]

  28. […] post appeared on Katia’s blog, http://www.iamthemilk.wordpress.com. You can find Katia on Twitter @KatiaDBE and on […]

  29. mjfrazier23 says:

    Yes I agree. My toddler does every one of these things!

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