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One of my absolute favorite stages in childhood development is the toddler years. They are quickly becoming these little people that have their own ideas and wants. My girls are both strong communicators so they’ve always been able to articulate what it is they desire, but with the technology that is available today it can often be difficult to connect with my toddler. There are just too many distractions for both of us so I’ve gone back to our roots in How to Connect with Your Toddler.
How to Connect with your Toddler
It’s important to me that my girls know me and feel like they can come to me with anything as they grow up. I don’t want them to just look at me as the authoritative figure in their lives that tells them what they can and cannot do. Some days I feel like I spend my entire day with my toddler being just that. She is learning so much about behavior that I often feel like I’m spending most of the day redirecting and reminding her of her behavioral expectations. For a while there it was touch and go with her because she would often growl at people in the stores when they said hello to her. She also struggled to play with other children and I didn’t remember this type of behavior from my older daughter. I quickly realized that I needed to connect better with her in order for her to know how to connect with other children.
Get on the floor and play. It might seem absurd to some that this needs to be said, but it amazes me how I see parents nose deep in their phones in public places, like a Children’s Museum, where it is the perfect opportunity to play and interact with your child. In order for your child to continue to grow their vocabulary, they need to hear how it is used. Our local Children’s Museum provides a perfect opportunity for this with their farm, construction site, water play and grocery store exhibits. Talk to them about how the farmers would need their tractor to plow the fields or how corn grows. It doesn’t need to be extensive, scientific language. Just have a conversation, rather than letting them play willy nilly.
Know the characters in their favorite television shows. Since my girls were itty bitty they have watched Disney Junior and they’ve fallen in love with all of the shows. One of their favorite shows is Sofia the First. I was pregnant with Avery when it first came out and I remember all too well Riley’s excitement for the premiere of it. She fell in love with the strong willed princess that always tried to do the right thing and I loved the character as a role model. Knowing the characters that your children are modeling themselves after is a great way to talk to them about their actions. I used to ask Riley if she thought Sofia would be that type of friend. It was a great comparison that resonated with her.
Buy them toys of worthy characters. I would much rather have my girls playing with toys that I know the character of. I’m sure that sounds a bit odd, but think about it. Avery is going to play with her Sofia the First Mermaid Magic Princess Doll. Isn’t she going to reenact scenes from the episode of The Floating Palace where Sofia saves a mermaid princess by being brave and a true friend? That is the type of make-believe play that I want my daughter to be doing. Luckily, the new line of Sophia the First toys has launched. This adorable mermaid that sings, flips her tail and goes in the bath is just one of the amazingly interactive toys. You can purchase the toys at Walmart, ToysRUs, Amazon, and Target. What is your child’s favorite Sofia the First toy?
Hug on them. No matter how big they are, it’s important that they still get those bear hugs everyday. I make a conscious effort that every time I take Avery out of her carseat that I give her a hug before I set her on the driveway to walk into the house. I want my girls to feel safe and loved and nothing says that better than an unexpected hug.