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Communicating with your toddler
How you communicate with your toddler will often influence how he/she behaves. Taking some time to think about good communication will help you and your toddler to have a happy and relaxed relationship.
Take the time to listen to your child.
Toddlers sometimes find it difficult to express themselves with words and may get frustrated in trying to get their message across. Repeat what you think he means and respond simply and clearly. Bring them close and focus in on their needs. The combination of the eye contact and the physical contact will make them feel special. Try to give some focused attention to your child every day.
Praise and encourage often
See if you can give your child some words of praise and encouragement every day. Describe to them what you like e.g. I like the way you tidied all your toys. You found a spot for everything! This is much more effective than just telling them that they are a good boy or girl.
Read to your child and tell stories.
Bedtime is a great time for story telling as it helps your toddler to relax and wind down after a busy day. It helps them to build up their collection of words and stimulates their imagination. Your local library is a great place to get books for all ages and stages and is worth joining.
Make time for play.
Get down to your toddler’s level and allow them to lead the way. Try to mirror, not just the feelings you notice, but anything you notice about your toddler as he/she plays. You might say “I see that you are drawing a picture”............ “I love the blue in that sky” later you might say “you’re wondering what colour to use next”. This technique of noticing what your toddler is doing, rather than judging it as nice or good, allows her to be creative without being influenced by your opinions.
Show your toddler respect.
Communicate with your child in a respectful way. The showing of respect for your child has more to do with how we say something than what we say. The tone and pitch of your voice can change the way the message is understood. A simple request like “I would like you to pick up your toys from the floor like you did yesterday” sounds much better than “pick up those toys from the floor” shouted out in a bossy voice.
Too much information!
There may be “ears in the wall and eyes in the bushes” This is an old saying but is very relevant when it comes to children’s ability to tune in and out of “grown up” conversations or even TV programmes. Children absorb information like sponges, but sometimes this information is not appropriate for them. Be careful what your child is exposed to, as the information received might cause them to worry or stress unnecessarily. If you need to talk about “adult stuff” just check to make sure that junior is out of range. Monitor the TV your child is watching, especially programmes later in the evening.
Make time for your toddlerIf you do not make time to pay attention to your child, he/she may do things just to make you notice them. This may take the form of tantrums, clinging to you, crying or refusing to do something when asked. You do need time to yourself, to make a phonecall, watch your favourite programme but its a good idea to let your toddler know that as soon as you are finished that you will do something with him/her and do it.