Bonding With Your Toddler: 5 Ideas
You pick it up…I too tired…
Bonding with your toddler is difficult at times. Toddlers will often show favoritism of one parent over the other. During this time it is important for both parents to work together. Try to remember one of the main reasons a child displays favoritism is to show they can make their own choices. They are learning that they are independent thinkers.
If you are the ignored parent being patient with your child is key. Stay positive and know that you are not the reason your child has decided to favor someone else. Think outside of the box and find ways of being engaging.
- Rule Breaker- Let your child have dessert first and dinner last. If they don’t eat the dinner it’s okay. The idea is to show you are flexible and fun.
- Plan a day – Make plans to have a day, outside of the home, with your child. Try to make sure it is a day all about you and your toddler bonding together.
- Be creative - Plan some special art project together. Finger painting, glitter and clay can all be messy projects to do. Doing them with your child and getting messy together is a recipe for success.
- Engage imagination – Sit in the floor and ask if you can play with them. If they say no, don’t take it personal. Ask them questions about what their toys are thinking, saying and doing. You might be surprised how much they have to tell you!
- Shake it up – Do something different that you can “own”. Toddlers love routine! The idea isn’t to change the existing routine but to add something new that is all your toddlers and yours together.
Even with the best made plans it takes time. Currently, in my house, my son has favored me over his mother. I left them together for the evening so my wife could have some toddler bonding time. (see Teaching Toddlers) Xander wanted to play with his blocks but had several other toys out already.
Momma: You can’t have anymore toys out until you put some away first. *
Xan: Alright (proceeds to move the current toys around not putting anything away)
Xan: Momma! My arms are tired…. (completely stopped shuffling toys)
Momma: I guess you are too tired to play then….
Xan: No…I just need help… (knowing my son…he wants momma to do it while he watches)
Momma: I have my own work I am doing right this minute. You pick some up first and then I will help you.
Xan: YOU MEAN! DADA DOES IT! (My son just lied to his momma. I have been known to help Xander. I won’t pick up his toys or get anything else unless he is actively participating in helping me.)
Toddler bonding often is a foreign concept. Melissa didn’t take the remarks personal that our son made. She continued to try to get him to put up one toy before she would help him. Xander wasn’t overly motivated to help and wanted her to put all of them away. It wasn’t until I almost got home that he decided he would put anything up and discovered that his momma would help him too.
The evening didn’t go as she had hoped. She was able to keep up a positive attitude, kept affirming that she loved him and she would help him if he would help too.
1 point Xander for finally picking up a toy, 1 point Momma for finding out toddler bonding isn’t easy, 5 points dada for staying out of things and letting momma take over for the evening.
* Note: Melissa posted the conversation between herself and Xander for me to read and I posted it here to share.
, independent thinkers