‘Don’t Lick the Cat’ and 15 Other Rules I Wish My Toddler Would Follow


Ahh, toddlers. You gotta love them – their exuberance, their excitement, their energy.

It’s great, right? But it’s also bloody exhausting. Toddlers are non-stop, full-on, pint-sized packages of chaos.

The hardest part about it? They have a hard time understanding the rules, especially regarding acceptable toddler behaviour. It’s not their fault, really. After all, it’s up to us to teach them these rules. What are some of these rules that toddlers need to learn?

Here are just a few that come to mind:

The 16 golden rules of toddler behaviour

1. Cup colour doesn’t matter

Green. Red. Orange. They all contain the same water.

2. We don’t lick the cat

Other items on the no-licking-list? Windows, mirrors, telephone posts, family members and pretty much anything you find on the floor.

3. The toilet is for peeing in

Not for playing in. Or throwing toys in.  Please remove mummy’s toothbrush from the toilet bowl. And yourself.

toilet training toddlers

4. The dishwasher is NOT for pooping in

Neither is the dog’s water bowl, the kitchen pantry or any aisle in Bunnings. #sorryBunnings

5. It’s okay to take more than one bite of each apple

It may even fill you up for longer than seven minutes.

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6. We keep our clothes on in public

Yes, you have a doodle. No, it’s not necessary to wave it around any time you leave the house.

7. The car seat is not the actual devil

No need to arch your back like it’s trying to kill you. I promise you, it won’t.

8. Folded clothes are not toys

Also on the non-toy list? Toilet paper, tampons, ANYTHING in the pantry and your penis. What are toys, you ask? They are the bright, colourful, musical, educational items in the box labelled TOYS. 

toddler playing, toddler behaviour

9. 5pm is NOT an acceptable time to take a nap

Sorry, but nope. Mum doesn’t feel like chasing you around the house until midnight trying to tire you out again.

10. Tastebuds don’t change overnight

You know that spaghetti you LOVED last night? Well, guess what, it’s the same stuff in your bowl tonight. No need to scowl at it and tip said bowl onto the floor.

picked eater toddler

11. You don’t need to stop and look at EVERY SINGLE bug on our 200-metre walk to the park

Yes, bugs are cool. Same goes for flowers, rocks and pieces of grass. But arriving at the park before dark is cool too.

12. Poop is not used for painting

Resist the urge to smear it all over the carpet and walls. This goes for all sorts of substances – peanut butter, Sudocrem, makeup – all non-painting products.

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Image via Rachael Finch

13. Paw Patrol WILL return tomorrow

No need to go into meltdown mode when it ends. (It’s even on live – you can win tickets from Mum Central)

14. That tiny microscopic brown speck on your food will not kill you

Neither will crust. Or anything green.

importance of family meal times

15. Dirty underwear is not a hat

Please remove those day-old, sweat-stained knickers from your face.

16. Just because it’s bedtime doesn’t mean the world will end

Yes, it’s hard to shut down when there’s so much to see, do and lick. But we all need our sleep. And, by we, I mean ME. So eyes shut, head down and kindly refrain from bouncing on my head.

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We know, rules are made to be broken. But hopefully, your toddler will soon come to understand the importance of these 16 golden toddler behaviour rules. With a little luck, your days of cleaning poop off the walls, eating sandwich crusts and wrestling a wriggly tot to bed will soon be a thing of the past.

Oddly enough, you may even find yourself missing it… probably not the poop though.

What to read next

Looking for more stories on toddler behaviour? Here are a few of our faves:

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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