The toddler phase is famous, and for good reason. It’s the phase when nobody’s on time, everything’s a mess, and one eager two-year-old will insist, “I can do it.”

Expect families to be late during this phase.  

Maybe a parent had to wait for their toddler to “do it myself” (just try and stop them). Maybe someone impressively filled a clean diaper just as everyone was ready to get into the car. Or maybe someone slept late for the first time all week, and everyone took advantage. This phase is destined to make even the most punctual adult miss the mark occasionally.  

You can look forward to a few fashion statements.  

You may notice mismatched outfits, magic marker tattoos, sticker collages, and other various states of creative expression. In this phase, parents and leaders will learn to choose not only their battles, but also which messes will just have to be tolerated (or enjoyed, depending on your personality).  

One of the greatest tensions of this phase can be summed up in the phrase, “I can do it.”  

Some toddlers insist more strongly than others. Some throw tantrums with greater theatrics if you try to help. This is when the struggle for independence begins to kick in. You feel it the first time they try to feed themselves and dump applesauce down the front of their shirt.  

Related: Read Your Little Artist’s Mind

In this quest for independence, three things are true: 

They will make mistakes. 

They will move too slowly. 

There will be a mess.  

Remember, they are not only learning new skills, they are also developing the confidence they need in order to move on to the next phase. There are only 884 weeks and counting until high school graduation; so, don’t miss it.  

This content was contributed by Phase. Discover all the resources available for your preschoolers in the Phase store.