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10 ways to connect with your toddler

Filed in: Motherhood

It’s 11 at night and I’m sitting up typing this in my robe, inspired by my excitement that tomorrow I get to have the first full day alone with my daughter, Lenni. I haven’t time alone with her since before Rhea was born, so probably about 4 months! Lately has been challenging for lots of reasons… the surge in ‘things’ we have with a new person around, the clutter, the never ending laundry, the sleep deprivation… our car rides are now spent trying to ignore the fact that at least one kid is always crying (sometimes both)… but the thing is about those little people who annoy you to death and never let you sleep, so quickly do they become another person in the house that you actually love to spend time with. So I put Lenni to bed tonight and when we were laying in the dark together I asked her what she wanted to do tomorrow… “I want to go to the museum with all the kids there!” 

And then what do you want to do? 

“Ummmm I want to go to the mall and plaaayyy and plaaaayyy.” 

And then do you want to get ice cream? 

“Yeah!” 

What kind? 

“Chocolate! With Sprinkles!” 

I didn’t know she knew what sprinkles were! I smiled to myself in the dark as I thought about all the new things I would get to learn about her tomorrow. Kids start off as these dumb dumb babies who can barely tell that their limbs belong to them, so I don’t know about you but I often catch myself forgetting that my daughter really is a real person now with a life outside of me. Even at 3.5 years old! 

So, with that being said, I felt inspired to sit down and write this list of ways to connect with your toddler because they are becoming really real little people who want to connect with you back. 

(we live in Chicago and it’s February so a lot of these are indoor activities) 

  1. Make a meal or bake cookies together. Be playful and tell them everything you’re doing, let them put some chocolate chips on top of the cookies balls (hell let them even roll a cookie ball) or decorate them with sprinkles 
  2. Make a fort and read stories in it with them 
  3. Bring out a really big (like shallow but wide and long) tupperware container and fill it with oatmeal and toys and a plastic cup (or play shovel is a bonus) to play with (play with them!) 
  4. Go to the mall, there’s usually a play center for kids at indoor malls and it’s free! (play with them!) 
  5. Go to the local conservatory (also free usually! and don’t forget to play with them!) 
  6. Take your kids to the library and tell them to pick out 3 books and sit down and read them together 
  7. Go grocery shopping together and everyone pick one vegetable and fruit to eat for dinner. Talk about the fruits/veggies you chose! Ask your child questions about the produce they chose
  8. Draw a bath, get in it and let your child wash your hair 
  9. Undress your kid down to their diaper and let them play with paint (let them use their hands and get messy and even paint their belly! Let them paint your arms or belly too!) 
  10. Spend $50 getting an instax camera and a pack of film and everyone take a turn taking a picture. Talk about the photos and put your favorites the fridge 

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