Building a Strong Connection to Your Toddler

Last week, I wrote about how excited I was about the release of Dr. Laura Markham’s book, “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting”. Now that I actually have the book in my possession, thanks to Kindle for Android, I am even more excited about it. I am about halfway through reading the book, and I know that it is going to be a valuable reference that I turn to again and again.

One of the wonderful things about this book is that Dr. Laura Markham does not stop at explaining why kids benefit from the parenting strategies that she suggests in her book. She gives specific instructions for exactly how to employ those strategies in real life. For example, one thing that she says will make a huge impact on your child’s overall behavior is providing him with one on one time each day to connect with you.

“Special time”, as Dr. Laura Markham calls it, helps to continually replenish the deep connection that you have with your child. Even just fifteen minutes a day, every day, can make a world of difference in how your child feels and thus how he behaves. I am happy to report that I have been following the advice given in the book about making sure that Dylan and Blake each get their special time. Some days, Dylan gets two blocks of special time if we are at home for both of Blake’s naps. Blake’s special time happens if Dylan naps during the day, but more often it happens in the evening after Dylan has gone to bed. I have also been following the suggestions for things to do during special time, because certain activities like playing “chase” and wrestling can help a child to work through some of the feelings that cause them to act out.

I had been spending time with Dylan during Blake’s naps all along, but for the past few days I have really emphasized that that is what I doing. I have also made sure to include one or more of the healing games and activities each time. Dylan loves them, and he giggles like crazy as I stumble and bumble around the house trying to catch him and as I crumple to the ground every time he pokes me with his finger. I can tell that he is feeling better because his behavior has been much better. He has been more cooperative, and also better able to ask me for what he needs instead of acting out in order to get it. Being a toddler can be frustrating, and special time helps children to release some of the tension that otherwise overflows as meltdowns and tantrums. What’s more, the close connection that your child feels with you carries throughout the day for both of you, and you are likely to feel a boost to your own mood.