There Are Three Types of Toddlers, Which Do You Have?

By: Zoe Samuel

There Are Three Types of Toddlers, Which Do You Have?
Image: Robyn Breen Shinn/Image Source/Getty Images

About This Quiz

While children generally take after their parents in key ways, there are plenty of surprises in store when you raise another person. Children are a combination of their parents' genes and their circumstances — and they're also the heirs to things you may not know about, further back in your family tree. These things can lie dormant for a generation or two and then pop up again. That means that no matter what rules you follow in parenting your children, they are absolutely going to be their own people, and there's nothing you can do about it!

This is both the blessing and the curse of parenting, and nothing makes that dichotomy more salient than the transformation from baby to toddler. After all, if an infant is naughty, sure, they can ruin your sleep, but they can't pull down furniture, set fire to the rug or endanger their siblings. Toddlers can. They have just enough agency to cause a disaster, but not enough to have the self-control to see that it's not going to help their situation. They can also be wildly affectionate and adorable in ways that make your heart do a happy dance inside your chest.

That's why the type of toddler you get makes such a difference to the experience of parenting through those two or three years. The important thing is to remember that however things look, the only thing you can be sure about in the long term is change. Just because your kid is good at age three doesn't mean they won't rebel as a teen; just because they are a little whirlwind of destruction at two doesn't mean they aren't a future honors student. Still, knowing what type of toddler you have will help with short- and medium-term planning! What kind of toddler do you have?

How often does your toddler throw a tantrum?
Never
Multiple times a day
From time to time
There is no pattern.

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What is their favorite word these days?
Yes
No
Gregarious (for some reason)
Strawberry

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How many favorite toys do they have?
Three
More than 10
One, but it changes monthly
It changes daily.

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Do people ever think your child is older than they are?
Yes, quite often
Nope
All the time
Sometimes

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Can your child dress themselves already?
Yes, and tie shoelaces
They can barely let me do it!
Yes, they've done it for a year.
Not really

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Do you worry when your toddler makes a mess while playing?
Yes, I worry!
I'm past that now.
No, we can tidy up later.
Not too much

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Does your child sometimes try to take care of you?
Yes, all the time. It's so sweet.
I wish!
Sometimes
They do it in spurts: eg., one day they want to brush my hair and read me a story, the next they are a monster.

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What is their favorite toy today?
Stuffed lion
Monster truck with loud siren
Books
Wooden train set

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How much time do you spend just chatting with your toddler?
A fair amount
Less than I'd like
Loads — we talk constantly.
About average

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How much does your toddler read so far?
They read letters and some words.
They don't.
They read well on their own. It's amazing.
They read a few simple sentences.

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Does your toddler sometimes just initiate a dance party for the heck of it?
Nope
Yes, but they also end it just as suddenly
Not really, but they join in if I do it
Sometimes!

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Does your toddler get along with other toddlers?
They're weirdly polite to other kids.
No, they bite them and push them. It's awful.
Only a few of them, but they have friends.
Yes, they have some friends and one nemesis who they hate.

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What report do you usually get back from Grandma and Grandpa?
They were uncannily sweet.
They were OK for an hour, then things went sideways.
They were delightful and chatty.
They were very good until it was time to come home, then the mask fell away.

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How often do you take your child to the theater and similar places where they have to sit nicely and quietly?
Very often
They can't do that, so never.
More than most
Probably an average amount

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If your toddler drew on the wall but you didn't spot them doing it, how would you handle it?
They would never do that, so I don't know.
I'd try to put them in time-out. It doesn't work.
We would talk about why they did it, and they would have to apologize and clean it.
I would put them in time-out, then discuss it after.

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If you tell your toddler not to touch something hot, what are the odds you're about to see a burned finger?
Nope
Yep
Only once, that's for sure.
Maybe

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Does your toddler get along well with dogs?
They are a bit scared of dogs.
No, they bite dogs. Dogs are scared of them.
Yes, they like dogs very much. They read stories to our dogs.
They love dogs! They cuddle them all the time! I'm a little worried they may cuddle the wrong dog.

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How do they do at brushing their own teeth?
They do it without being asked. It's weird.
They can. They don't, though.
They do it if they can shush long enough to do it. Sometimes I have to remind them.
They can just about do it – but not well, so I help.

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How often do they talk about what they're going to be when they grow up?
Quite often
Never
Constantly
Every so often

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Has your toddler ever made you laugh with an intentional verbal joke?
Not yet. They're not very goofy.
Yes, but then they got upset when I laughed because they thought I was laughing at them.
All the time. They're actually witty.
Not yet, but they deliberately make me laugh with physical comedy all the time.

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What is the sweetest thing your toddler does in a normal day?
Hug me and ask if I am OK
Sit quietly for a while
Ask me how a thing works, then listen raptly to the answer
Kiss me and tell me they love me

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Does your toddler seem pretty chilled out about the idea that when someone leaves for work, they will in fact come back?
They seem anxious but resigned.
They are not chilled about this or anything else.
They are OK with it these days.
They don't like it, but they settle after a few minutes.

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If you ask your toddler to imagine what someone else is thinking, how logical are their guesses?
Pretty good, actually
Really bad. Other people having minds is not something they grasp yet.
Excellent
About average for their age

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Do you ever worry that your child isn't quite ... normal?
Yes, but in a sweet and nice way
They're angry and I'm not sure why!
I think they're clever, but otherwise normal.
They're normal in the ways that matter.

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Be honest: might your child be really, really smart?
Possibly
I hope that is the explanation; I really do.
Yes, probably
No. They are not stupid, but they are no Mensa member either.

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If you give your child a puzzle suitable for their age, what do they do with it first?
Ask me if they can play with it
Try to break it
Try to solve it
See what it can do, in some sensible and some silly ways

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What age did they learn to take themselves to the bathroom?
2
5
3
4

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What irrational fear does your child seem to have?
That something is wrong with me
That there might be a divorce
That their civil rights are in danger from bad men. I didn't tell them this, but they picked it up somewhere.
Spiders – a classic never dies.

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If your child is worried, how do they express it?
They stop eating. It's really scary to me, actually.
They throw a tantrum.
They tell me.
They come to me and hold my leg, or they cry.

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What prediction would someone make who spent a normal day with your toddler?
This kid will be teacher's pet.
This kid might end up in jail. Or running the country. Or both.
This kid is really smart.
This kid is going to be OK.

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You Got:

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