I know what you’re thinking…you’re probably ‘connected’ with your child all day, every day! After all, it’s not hard to connect with your toddler or preschooler…they’re hanging on you all the time, needing something constantly, and go with you everywhere. Right? But what about meaningful connection?
Sounds hard? Time-consuming? It’s not! We have 10 ways to connect with your toddler or preschooler below, and none of them are difficult. In fact, I bet you’re already doing a lot of them!
7 ways to connect with your toddler or preschooler:
Read to your child:
This sounds basic, and it is! But you might be surprised to learn just how important it is to read to your child on a regular basis. Cuddle up on the couch or in their bed at bedtime, make that physical connection, and then read them a story. They’ll benefit from your touch, but also gain valuable communication skills and social skills. You’ll instill a love of reading, which is crucial before they can read themselves.
Honor his strong emotions:
Yes, sometimes ‘strong emotions’ can be code for ‘tantrum’ but when your child IS in control, honor his strong emotions with a big dose of empathy. Get down at eye level with him, focus all your attention on him, and parrot back to him what the problem or angst is. He will feel understood, and know that he is valued.
Join your child’s world:
Play is powerful. Imaginary play is where your child acts out social situations, problem solves, and safely manifests emotions. Join her in her pretend worlds (yes, sometimes it’s tedious). Ask her all the names of her figures or dolls, join her at her pretend store, and get down on the ground to participate in her car chase scene. It matters.
Be silly together:
You can’t really ‘teach’ a sense of humor, but you can model it! Tell jokes (this helps develop language skills), do a silly dance with him, or have an impromptu water fight in the backyard. Laughing together is a bonding activity for all humans.
Let him tell you a story:
Kids this age love to recap whatever they just watched on TV, whatever their preschool teacher read to them that day, and what their dreams entailed. This is a big language-building milestone, so celebrate it! Yes, the stories can be long, they can meander, and sometimes you’ll need to prompt him, but allow him to tell you a story or a movie recap from start to finish. Doing so helps him feel more in control of his world and more connected to you.
Do a chore together:
This is a great time to model the behavior you want to see in a young child. When it’s clean-up time after a play session, clean up together. You might even narrate what you’re doing: ‘I’m going to put the LEGO in the red bin, and the cars in the blue bin. Where are you putting the puppets?’
Give her the camera:
You probably already hand over your phone so she can entertain herself while in the car or running errands, but next time, open the camera app and let her snap some photos of your day. Tell her she’s the photographer today, and to take pictures without much more instruction. Look through your ‘slideshow’ together at the end of the session, and comment on the photos she took. ‘Oh look at Buddy! He was having so much fun in the sprinkler’, or ‘I’m glad you took a picture of our pancakes. Those were yummy.’
Get more ideas here. How do YOU connect with your toddler? Give us your ideas in the comments!