Over the last week or so a dear friend and I have been having an honest conversation about being the mom of a toddler. We both confessed that as our kids have made the transition from 18 months to 2 years to 3 years, time together has also changed and the adjustment isn’t necessarily easy.
When our kids are babies we connect with them in a very physical and emotional way. They require our attention and love in a very tangible way and it is relatively easy (minus the hours of missed sleep) to meet their needs and to connect with them.
As they grow, learn to walk and find their voice, things change. Our kids now want to do things on their own. They begin to understand the idea of ownership and begin to explore their independence. We feel a small pang in our hearts the first time they want to be alone and play by themselves.
And as much as we enjoy gaining back some personal time we also miss that connection piece that we had with our kids and we know we are called to continue guiding them, even in this stage of independence.
But how do we connect with our kids now, especially if they don’t always want to include us? On one hand we want them to explore and be creative and independent and on another we want to make sure we are still the greatest influence in their lives, especially at such a young age.
They all point to one thing. Time. Our biggest asset as moms is time.
Our child may want to read books alone or play pretend with their cars. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be there with them. In thinking about how to best spend your time with your toddler consider…
- Put down your iPhone, get off Facebook and be with your child 100%. Don’t be in the room but lost in your own world and call it quality time.
- Sit with them when they play even if they don’t include you. Just be near. You might be amazed when they hand you their favorite toy and invite you to join in on their fun.
- Just BE with your child, their time with you is limited but the imprint you leave is permanent. Being in their moments will create memories of your presence in their every day lives.
This time will pass quickly. Our kids will be in school and a few years after that be involved in activities without us. What we want them to always remember is that we are here for them, even if they don’t have anything to say.
Now is as good a time as ever to start practicing!
Today’s Challenge: Sit with your toddler. No prearrange activities, no directing their play time but just sit. See what happens (and come back and tell us about it!)