16 rules toddlers live by

16 rules toddlers live by Cover Image

The toddler phase, that time when the little munchkins graduate from innocent bundles to veritable terrors, has been called the ‘threenager’ period. Why? Well, perhaps these 16 rules they live by, can shed some light on the matter.

The League of ‘Ordinary’ Toddlers

If you’re familiar with the works of Enid Blyton, you’ll know that a lot of her books, be it the Secret Seven series or the Famous Five ones, all thrived on the concept of ‘Secret Clubs’. And growing up, such clubs always intrigued me. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had some sort of set membership criteria. Or if they had a set of guidelines or statutes that they had to abide by? As I grew up, I lost interest and it wasn’t until I recently re-read some of her books, that I realised that the concept was something you could take and put into any context.

Now, since a lot of my posts revolve around my toddler, I started to think about how interesting it would be, if toddlers did have a sort of secret group or union and as to what their guidelines might be.

Since, I had a few minutes to spare, I thought it might be amusing to jot some of their so-called ‘rules of engagement’ or ‘rules toddlers live by’.

Here are 16 rules every toddler lives by:


1. Never acknowledge the existence of the league. Do not babble / mumble/ shout / whisper about the league.

2. If you must learn one word during your toddler years, it must be the word ‘NO’. Whatever the question is, the answer must be No. Unless you’re asked if you want cake or chocolate or general junk food. Then the answer is always ‘YES’.

3. Under no circumstance, should you agree to put on an article of clothing in the very first instance. Let the person who has requested sweat a little, perhaps even run around the room a bit.

4. Do not accept anything without a bribe. ‘Chocolates, cake, ice cream’- they’re all valid bribes. Important: Once you get what you want, do whatever the hell it was you were going to do anyway.


5. If you spot a fellow toddler crying, you shall show your support by crying with them. Louder, if possible.

6. If Mommy says NO to something you want, always remember to ask Daddy separately, and vice versa. If all fails, ask grandparents. Or throw a tantrum.

7. Thou shalt always put some extra things into the shopping cart, when possible. The more you put, the more likely you are to get at least one of them.

8. Stay tuned to these phrases that your parents might use. Stop it!, Put it down, Do not touch it, Do not run; Always do the opposite.


9. When it comes to food, clothes are friends. Hence some food must always be ‘offered’ to them. Floors, carpets, couches, car seats, mommy’s hair – they’re all friends too. Important: No sharing food with parents. Or other toddlers.

10. If you’re given pizza, ask for a sandwich. If you’re given a sandwich, ask for pizza. If you’re given both, ask for noodles. The combinations are endless.
Note: Impromptu and creative requests can give you bonus points, which can be redeemed when running for ‘Head Toddler’.

11. If you spot freshly washed clothes, you must do everything in your power to dirty them. Also folded clothes are the enemy – they must be unfolded at any cost. Especially if they are ironed.

12. You must always wait till you’re given a bath, to get dirty. The cleaner you feel, the dirtier you must get. Dirt is good.

13. If there is button, especially a bright red coloured one, you MUST press it. How else will you know what it does?

14. The walls are your canvas. Go Picasso on them. Note: Bonus points if you can do so with a permanent marker.

15. Food that you avoid like the plague at your house, should be devoured with relish when offered at someone else’s house. After all, your parents did teach you good manners.

16. And finally, no matter what the matter is, if in trouble, always make a cute pout with puppy eyes and all will be forgiven.

Now, let’s go have some fun!

This post originally appeared on I wrote those.

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