When you first meet your little bundle of joy, you’ll feel an instant connection with her as you gaze down at her beautiful face and trace your fingers along her perfect, tiny fingers and toes. That’s the unmistakable natural bond between mother and child.
However, as bub starts growing into a toddler and forming her own identity, you will notice that your once-cooing, cuddly baby has transformed into a wild child whose favourite word is “no” and knows how to push your buttons.
This is an important time to build a strong bond with your kiddo, as it will not only bring both of you closer and help you understand each other better, but it also lessens the amount of discipline you need to do so that you both can experience more together.
According to a study done by the University of Illinois, kids with strong parent-child bonds are more responsive and adaptable when socialising with their peers and they also tend to be more sympathetic.
But it’s not enough to keep telling your kewpie that you love her, sometimes you have to put your love into action…
Children thrive on routine as it gives them a sense of security. Especially when as toddlers they go through developmental changes and depend on anything predictable to feel safe. Create little rituals like singing a special song before bedtime, Friday family game night or chocolate chip pancakes every Saturday morning. It will give them something to look forward to and they will also know that it’s their special time with mummy and daddy.
There’s nothing like cuddling on the sofa together with your sweetie and reading a good book. Besides forging strong ties, reading at a young age has a myriad of benefits, including boosting brain development, improved logic skills and lower stress levels. Toddlers enjoy a book with big, colourful pictures, or ones that offer sensory stimulation, such as lift-the-flap or with music and different textures. Adapt special voices for characters and emphasise certain words to keep your cutie interested.
SPEND ALONE TIME
Make your young ’un feel special by dedicating a day or a few hours to doing her favourite activities. Make it a special “mummy/daddy and child” day. You can take your son swimming every Wednesday or have a fun girlie day out with your daughter one Saturday a month. This also works well if you have more than one child. You can allocate special days out or in with each child so they know they have your undivided attention. It could even be something as simple as doing crafts with your toddler during the baby’s nap time.
Give discipline and nagging a day off and just be a fun friend your little one can hang out with. Do silly stuff like having pizza for breakfast, inventing senseless songs or having a tickling competition. Or plan spontaneous picnics or a day at a theme park. It’s all about enjoying each other’s company. When your tyke sees the fun side of you, she will let loose and connect with you even more.