Ways to connect with your toddler

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Thought Series : Raising a HAPPIE Toddler

Day 7

Continuing our focus on Attention & Connection to raise a HAPPIE Toddler.

Pam Leo, Author of Connection Parenting defines:
Connection as ‘Feeling loved & listened to’, and
Disconnection as ‘Feeling hurt & unheard’.

She says – Provide children with a consistent, loving connection through eye contact, loving touch, respect, listening, and spending time working and playing together.

We’ll use these definitions as a compass throughout our discussions on ‘Connecting with our Toddler’. It sounds pretty simple, isn’t it?

To put it even more simply, you can connect with your child by offering them your undivided time (for listening, playing…) and undivided attention (through eye contact, your loving touch…)

Many a times, thanks to our crazy schedules, work load and other stress, we try to give our kids our time and attention, but often it’s not UNDIVIDED. We’re interrupted by mails or messages or our own wandering thoughts about incomplete tasks and what’s next on our to-do-list.

You’d know how annoying it is when you’re speaking to your spouse, and they keep checking their phone! Do you feel loved, listened to & connected when that happens? Well, imagine the same with your child.

Today, I’d like to explore with you some simple ways in which you can connect with your child. All of the below suggestions are simple things which can help you build trust & connect with your child, IF you couple it with UNDIVIDED TIME & ATTENTION.

  1. Your kid’s daily chores : Brushing, bathing, feeding time, nap time which we often frown upon due to the struggle they often are – can actually be great opportunities to connect if you can infuse some fun in them.
  2. Your daily chores : Cooking, Drying clothes, Dusting are some activities where toddlers love to ‘help’. Including them in safe ways not only helps your child feel involved and loved, but is also a great learning opportunity for them.
  3. Reading & Storytelling : While most toddlers might not show great interest at first due to their short attention spans, being consistent and interesting in your methods can go a long way in instilling creativity and a love for books and reading from an early age. Plus the touch, warmth, glances & time you share during the process creates deep bonds over time.
  4. Play : Play is the ‘work’ of childhood. Play for connection, Play for learning & teaching, child-led play, adult-led / guided play – there are many forms of play, which we’ll try to delve deeper into in future posts. Fun & Play can be infused in about anything and everything you do with your child, and you’ll find yourself magically connecting and bonding!

In short, anything that includes smiles, laughs, giggles, hugs and cuddles – are all ways to fill your child’s cup with connection & meet their need positively so that they don’t have to seek attention through negative behaviors.

Thought for Today:

What are some things you and your child enjoy doing together that involves smiles, laughs, giggles, hugs and cuddles?

If you’d like to add some connection rituals, which of the above suggestions would you like to start experimenting with?

NEXT:

We’ll learn about ‘special time’ and how you can incorporate that in your day or week to connect deeply in a short span of time.

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Access Previous Days In This Series: Raising a HAPPIE Toddler

Day 0 : Laying out Universal Human Needs
Day 1 : Healthy Parent = HAPPIE Child
Day 2 : Making Self-Care A Habit
Day 3 : Meeting your toddler’s physical needs
Day 4: Identifying your own triggers before you tend to your child’s
Day 5: Dealing with feelings of guilt & inadequacy (Moms!)
Day 6: Attention v/s Connection Parenting

Sharing is Caring!

Attention v/s Connection Parenting

Sharing is Caring!

Thought Series : Raising a HAPPIE Toddler

Day 6

This week, we begin our focus on the next need in line – to raise a HAPPIE Toddler – and that’s the need for Attention / Connection.

Now, though I used both the words synonymously, I’d like to begin with dissecting how different these words are and what they mean for your toddler.

Going simply by the dictionary definition of both:
ATTENTION :
* notice taken of someone or something;
* the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important.
* the action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something.

CONNECTION:
* a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something/someone else.
* a relation of personal intimacy (as of family ties)

Well, it seems like I can just stop here! It’s so clear, isn’t it!?

Attention is something that anybody can offer, it’s about taking notice of something as important, and taking the necessary action. The need for attention can be fulfilled quickly, with little effort.

But, Connection – is much deeper, and it marks and arises out of the intimate relationship you share with the person, and it’s not something that can happen overnight or in an instant.

A simpler analogy to understand connection would be the idea of ‘soulmates’. We’ve all dreamed of finding our ‘soulmate’ and marrying that person, haven’t we? Someone who could understand us, even when we said nothing! Someone who could see through our eyes, into our hearts and know what we wanted. Haven’t we craved for that kind of connection!? Well, been there.. done that!

What I realized (as I grew older and wiser) was that – there’s no one who’s born as my soulmate, but I can become someone’s soulmate (and vice versa) by trying each day, to understand, to be and to do the best I can!

What if, each day, we work towards becoming our child’s soulmate, and understanding his/her said and unsaid needs!

Our toddlers (and humans, in general) crave for connection. Seeking attention is just one of the ways in which they’re communicating their deeper need for connection.

For today, I’d just like you to mull over this.

Thought for Today

On a scale of 1 to 10 (One being the minimum) –
How would you rate the attention you are giving your child every day?
How would you rate the connection you feel with your child every day?

TOMORROW:

We’ll begin looking at ‘connection rituals’ you can establish in your day in short spurts of time.

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Access Previous Days In This Series: Raising a HAPPIE Toddler

Day 0 : Laying out Universal Human Needs
Day 1 : Healthy Parent = HAPPIE Child
Day 2 : Making Self-Care A Habit
Day 3 : Meeting your toddler’s physical needs
Day 4: Identifying your own triggers before you tend to your child’s
Day 5: Dealing with feelings of guilt & inadequacy (Moms!)

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Sharing is Caring!