Learning how to spend quality time with your toddler is going to strengthen your relationship and help them grow into independent adults one day! Ultimately that’s the goal, right? Spending time together may be simpler than you think and it doesn’t always mean playing with toys on the living room floor either.
After having our second baby, I really struggled to spend quality time with my toddler. Truthfully, my hands were full with two-under-two…. I barely had time to eat lunch. How was I going to enjoy playing with my toddler?
I carried this guilt for months. That’s why I decided to write this article because I don’t want you to struggle like I did.
How do you Spend Quality Time with a Toddler?
Simply slowing down, noticing, and responding to your toddler are just a few ways you can spend quality time with them. There are specific activities that will encourage you both to connect, but we don’t need to overcomplicate things at first.
I like to focus on moments throughout our day, rather than checking off a box that we played together for ten minutes.
My hope is that this list will encourage you to look at quality time in a different light. In this first section, I’m giving YOU some tips on how to do this throughout your day. Then I’m going to share some specific activities that will help you strengthen your relationship.
1. Slow Down
It’s in the everyday moments that you will find connection with your child. If you can slow down a bit, that will give you room in your day to be present with your toddler.
Taking just a few extra seconds, will change everything!
2. Notice Them
As you begin to slow down, you will naturally start to notice your toddler more. Often their meltdowns are caused by us being consumed and too busy for them.
Show your little one that you notice them by inviting them to help you with chores around the house or by creating conversation over a snack.
3. Listen + Respond
When you start noticing your toddler more, you will want to practice listening and responding. It’s important to let them know that you care about what they want too. That doesn’t always mean they will get their way, but it lets them know you notice them.
My toddler wanted a candy bar one morning (typically these are her prize for going poopy on the potty!). When I told her no, she immediately started to melt down. After 20 minutes of pleading her case, she finally gave up.
After her nap she asked for a candy bar again. This time I said “Wouldn’t that be so tasty? What kind of candy bar were you thinking”
My Daughter – “Reeces.. please.”
Me – “Reeces are my favorite too, peanut butter is so yummy. I can give you one after you go poopy on the potty, okay?”
My Daughter – “Okay!”
It sounds totally backwards but acknowledging what she wants lets her know I care. Even though I needed to set a boundary, that doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about how amazing candy is!!
4. Get Curious About What They Are Into
Whether they are into rocks or baby dolls, get curious about what interests them. As you begin to notice them more, you will see what they are into!
Start taking time to nurture their interests. Showing them that you care about what they like, will make it easy to connect on a deeper level.
5. Aim for 15 Minutes
Every day I aim for just 15 minutes of one-on-one time. I try to do this in one chunk, but sometimes I need to break it up into two sessions because I don’t want our time interrupted.
If you have multiple kiddos this could feel like a lot! You could try spending just 5 minutes with each child. It’s less about the amount of time and more about learning how to connect with each of your kids.
6. No Distractions or Interruptions
Yes, this means no other children. So if your child has siblings, you want to ensure they are busy, napping, or being taken care of by your spouse.
You also want to PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE. I like to put it on night mode and set a timer. This way I don’t get distracted or worried that I missed an important call.
56 Activities to Help You Spend Quality Time with Your Toddler
Sometimes I struggle to come up with ideas on activities that we can do together. No matter what you end up doing, it’s important to focus on your toddler and be present with them.
Truthfully you could do anything together, as long as you are being intentional about spending quality time with them! I don’t recommend doing things like going to a movie simply because it’s not something you are doing together necessarily.
- Read Books
- Try a New Art Project
- Do Something They Like
- Sing Songs
- Make Dinner Together
- Pray Together
- Play a Board Game
- Go on a Nature Walk
- Go to the Park
- Play with Chalk
- Do Hop Scotch
- Jump Rope
- Sing Silly Nursery Rhymes
- Play in the Snow
- Go on a Date (and let them choose where you go!)
- Ask Questions Over a Meal
- Take Pictures Together (Goofy Selfies are the BEST!)
- Make Cookies or a Dessert
- Play Doctor, Dentist, or Bakery
- Make a Fort
- Create Paper Airplanes
- Play Dolls/Trucks/Cars
- Tickle Fights
- Horsey Rides (You are the horse!)
- Play Tag
- Hide and Seek
- Get on the Floor
- Living Room Sleeper
- Play Beauty Salon
- Color or Paint Together
- Invite Your Toddler to do Chores with You
- Homeschool or Daily Learning Activity
- Go for a Walk Around the Block
- Scavenger Hunt
- Play Dress Up
- Splash in the Puddles
- Play with Play-Douh
- Enjoy the Bedtime Routine
- Make time for a Morning Routine
- Practice Mindfulness
- Try Yoga
- Rose + Thorn Day
- Conversation Cards
- Make a Campfire
- Go Fishing
- Learn how to Ride a Bike
- Throw Rocks in the Lake, Pond, or River
- Look for Birds, Bugs, or flowers
- Have a Tea Party
- Play with Nerf Guns
- Do a Puppet Show
Connecting with your little one may not be quite as difficult as you thought! You may already be doing a lot of things in your day-to-day life that are helping you to connect. As you learn how to spend quality time with your toddler, you will see your relationship blossom!
I truly hope this article took some weight off your shoulders and helped you to see that it’s not as complicated as Instagram makes it seem! You are doing amazing…. keep it up!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo… so you don’t lose this post!
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