Effective conversation helps you create a lasting and meaningful relationship with your toddler. DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON shares 10 of the most powerful things you can say.
“I love you.”
Your two-year-old never tires of being told that you love him because it reassures him, makes him feel secure and valued, and lets him know the strength of your positive feelings towards him. He thrives when you tell him that he matters to you.
“You are terrific.”
There is nothing more likely to make your toddler feel good about himself than being told that he is a wonderful child. Remind him of all his good qualities such as his pleasant personality, his running skills or his ability to complete a small jigsaw. It really doesn’t matter which positive trait you decide to highlight.
“Your friends like you.”
He wants to be popular, and to be accepted by the other children he plays with. His social confidence fluctuates from time to time, so an occasional reassurance is just what he needs. Explain that others like him because of, for example, his kindness or his calm temperament.
“You tried your best.”
Your toddler wants to achieve everything he aims for, but success doesn’t always come his way. Your praise for his effort helps him understand that although he was unsuccessful at, say, putting on his socks by himself this morning, he should still be pleased with himself because he tried as hard as he could.
“Thanks for helping me.”
True, your two-year-old doesn’t thank you for the hundreds of caring acts that you do for him every day. But that shouldn’t stop you from thanking him for one small helpful gesture, such as tidying his toys. This sets a good example for him to follow, and makes it more likely that he’ll repeat that action in the future.
Your toddler’s painting may not be a masterpiece, but he feels that it is a wonderful creation and he wants to share the whole experience with you. Your enthusiasm for his production increases its importance to him.
You make mistakes, just like anyone else. It’s only natural, for instance, that sometimes you forget to buy your child that special item he had specifically asked for. Telling him you are sorry is an honest admission that he’s not the only one who makes mistakes. This also encourages his honesty.
“Please do this for me.”
You want your toddler to learn to be polite and have good manners. One of the best strategies is by setting a good example. When you say “please” to your two-year-old, you teach him a very important social skill that he’ll begin to use with other children and adults.
Your two-year-old needs to learn how to think for himself. He remains dependant on you to some extent throughout his entire life, but he needs to stand on his own two feet. So start giving him simple choices, such as whether he should wear the blue or red T-shirt today.
“You can do it.”
He faces new challenges all the time, and he needs courage to tackle problems and different experiences. You can help bolster his self-belief by telling him you have faith in his ability to achieve his target. Your trust lifts his confidence, boosts his willingness to try, and helps him push self-doubt aside.
When you say “please” to your two-year-old, you teach him a very important social skill that he’ll begin to use with other children and adults.
ILLUSTRATION CHENG PUAY KOON