The transition from baby to toddler can be difficult for both parents and children. From your perspective, your cooing, cuddly little one has suddenly become a wild child whose favourite word is “no,” and from your toddler’s perspective, their parents are constantly refusing to let them play with fascinating toys like kitchen utensils, jewellery and the dog’s tail. Building a strong bond with your toddler through daily, attentive play is essential to getting you through this busy time with your relationship intact at the end of it all.
Routines and traditions, along with your toddler’s diet and environment, can have long-term effects. Making little, everyday things routine (bedtime song, a family game night, or pancakes on the Saturday mornings) turns them into special traditions that will make you feel closer to your toddler. Toddlers are going through big developmental changes, so anything predictable will make them feel secure – especially if they can share that moment with you.
Be Silly, Play & Have Fun
Release your inner child and stop being a parent on occasion! Toddlerhood is a fun time! Invent silly songs, play a game of hide-and-seek, make funny faces at each other or encourage your toddler to imitate your actions, dance like no one is watching when you hear music (and even when you don’t), try on a funny hat while you’re shopping, and be spontaneous in general! Kids don’t expect adults to have a sense of humour, so when we let loose, they only welcome the surprise!
You can even take it a step further by occasionally breaking your own rules! Surprise them with a treat, like breakfast for dinner or letting them pick out a toy during the weekly grocery shop. Since it’s unexpected, they’ll realise how special it is, and they’ll feel like you’re sharing a special moment.
Story time is a great way to get the ball rolling on conversation and to start asking each other questions (toddler’s LOVE to ask questions). Adapt special voices for characters when you’re reading and re-read favourites. They can sit on your lap, beside you, or if they can’t sit still (most likely option) let them explore and play while you read. Even if they seem distracted they are listening to you!
Make sure to shower your toddler with plenty of affection. Go out of your way to give them a hug and kiss for no good reason at all. If they look confused or question what the hug was for, simply tell them “because I’m your Mam and I love you.”
Even if you are reasoning with your toddler, hold his hand while you tell them not to hit or that they need to stop winging and whining.
Be Your Toddler’s Friend
Your toddler is at the age where they wants to spend every second of the day with you, and make sure you take advantage of that by enjoying every minute together! Spoiler alert: they don’t stay this way forever! If your toddler starts acting goofy, get goofy too, and invite them to do activities that you enjoy by giving them toddler-safe tasks or simple jobs to help you out.