A toddler is an active and curious creature, some psychologists call it “industrious”. He is not a baby anymore and his physical abilities have grown tremendously. He is not sitting still in his crib or his stroller anymore and he wants the freedom to explore. Also, a toddler is not capable of understanding what "authority" means. They are not doing things in contempt. They're not challenging you. All they want is to find out how this world works by testing boundaries, stating what their needs are without the ability to talk, and trying to make this world work for them. As parents, we are their foundation and as they grow each day, we look forward to having a good relationship with them so here Are The Keys To Build A Strong Relationship With Toddlers that will surely help us as we go on.
1. Keep calm all the time
Credit: Panvola Mugs
Always remember that they are not adults. You must always adjust to their rhythm. Do not be quick to anger or be judgmental. You cannot expect the rationality and reasonableness of a mature human from infants and toddlers. Keep your cool. Always. Toddlers, by their sheer energy, always are a handful of work. They can exasperate you and exhaust your patience easily. Stay cool and see all that for what it is: a necessary stage of their development. Get into a mindset of theirs: playful, easy-going, forgiving, and forgetfulness. Be ready to take all sorts of silly and naughty behavior and to play, rough and tumble.
2. Be vigilant
Toddlers particularly, think ahead of their safety since their excessive curiosity and energy get them into danger like trying to feel with barehand what is inside an electric socket. All houses have electrical switches and small children can easily get into dangerous situations. Make sure you hide the switches behind the furniture and close the electrical outlets that are not used frequently. In addition, kitchen utensils like forks and knives, toxins from cleaning supplies, kitchen stoves, house plants, and many more items can turn out extremely dangerous for a toddler. So, check your house completely to identify and get rid of dangerous items immediately. Toddlers can swallow any object that would fit in their mouths. So, you should keep small objects out of the reach of children and make sure that the cups of medicines and beauty products are tightly secured. They also can get a cut or injure themselves seriously with razors and other kinds of scissors used for grooming purposes. You should keep cosmetics, sharp items, and medicines in a locked drawer or cupboard. They can swallow and get choked due to tiny objects like cotton balls, swabs, or any miniature object. Keep such items locked away to keep your small child safe.
3. Deal with their tantrums
- Again, keep calm to model how to handle difficulties. If you blow up when you're not happy with their tantrums, how can you expect them to handle their disappointment (which they get a lot) calmly?
- Redirect their attention. If the alternative is attractive enough, this works really well.
- Acknowledge their feelings. "You must be very upset because you can't have another candy." Acknowledging doesn't mean being permissive. You can empathize without giving in.
- Help them regulate their emotion if they're too upset. At this age, they simply cannot regulate when they have big feelings. Not that they don't want to stop crying. They just can't. Holding them or just sitting with them usually works.
- Turn this into a valuable teaching moment. Show them how to handle adversity gracefully. Teach them how to regulate their emotion. Encourage them to learn to solve a problem instead of throwing a tantrum. There are so many possibilities here to "work with" your child, not just "handle" a kid.
4. Let them have fun!
Bring the play! That's their principal occupation. Let them play their hearts out. Join & be enthusiastic. Let them scratch, splash and scatter, romp and stump and yak & shriek their heads off with noises. Let them be. When they are done and quieter, get them to tidy up.
5. Be gentle
In matters of discipline be mild but firm. If something has to be done, insist it is done. Don't back down or be browbeaten by tantrums and shrieks of protest or sulks. Don't let them also negotiate away a responsibility. Let it always be clear your yes is Yes! Do it is DO! As for disciplinary actions, again be firm but not through fist. Avoid physical/corporal discipline such as spanking etc. or psychological torture like abuse or degrading remarks etc. Withholding something they cherish or giving some work they abhor will often do.
6. Be present
Be there in times of their fears, distress, and “clinginess” and when in need of attention or a need to talk. When they do wrong, talk to them like reasonable people.
7. Reduce your Toddler’s screen time
Let’s be honest parents, most of us are guilty of this. Sometimes we choose to let our kids have a long screen time in order for us to finish our chores/work. We all know that anything too much is bad. We should not always rely on screen time to expand the learnings of our little ones. Yes, there are some sources saying screen time can be educational and help toddlers develop new skills like vocabulary skills. We can think of screens like we are giving junk food to our kids. We all enjoy candy, but as adults, we know that after we’ve indulged in our favorite sweet, we need to balance it out with something healthy and green. The same goes for screen time for toddlers; use it wisely and balance it with a good old-fashioned game of hiding and seek or blowing bubbles outside. In small doses, it is okay, but in excess, it has consequences. So how much screen time is too much for a toddler? Our toddlers should get no more than 60 minutes of sedentary screen time per day. And less than 60 minutes is highly recommended.