So Your Toddler Just Realized They’re Going To Die Someday
Your child became aware of their own mortality. Now, your toddler knows they’re going to die and they’re questioning the meaning of life. They’ve started asking questions like, “Why? Why? Why is all of existence a farce?” It can be exhausting for any parent, but fortunately, there are ways to navigate the “existential twos.”
Your child is going through a time of rapid growth. He’s developed object permanence, and now he’s developing mortality temporality. He’s going to need more stimulation than normal, specifically when it comes to finding purpose in human existence. Maybe try swimming lessons?
Redirect When Necessary
Your child will start to have terrible meltdowns, scream-singing “There is no god! There is no god!” while jumping up and down on the couch. Take his mind off questions like “Where do I go when I die if there is no heaven?” by offering him a new, shiny toy or a piece of candy.
Lots Of Naps
The less time your child spends awake, the less time your child will have to ponder the state of mortality and whether it’s worth going through the shenanigan we call existence if he’s just going to die at the end of it. Put your child down for a nap the minute you hear, “Mommy, what’s the point of living if I will one day be forgotten?”
When my son was young, he once threw a dramatic fit in the grocery store, asking if consumerism is a form of slavery. We just let him cry it out, and by the time we left the grocery store, he forgot that he felt our only purpose in living is to consume.
Know That, Like Life Itself, It Won’t Last Forever
As your child grows, the world will start to make more sense to him, and he’ll also get really into dinosaurs. Try to enjoy this brief period of your child’s life where he’s freaked out by the idea of mortality. Pretty soon, he’ll be making you watch Jurassic Park for the 40th time, and you’ll miss the days before your toddler learned he’s going to die and he started waking you up in the middle of the night screaming, “Mommy! Mommy! Is there a potion I can take that will make me immortal?”