Sometimes it just feels like pure chaos in a house with two toddlers. It’s not something I want, but it’s the reality on a regular basis. Once my kids start to act wild, it turns into a spiral of loudness, flailing limbs, and general acting out. I wish I had a magic potion that would just create immediate peace in my house (I would be richer than Jeff Bezos), but I don’t.
What I DO have, is some experience in HAVING to find a way to combat the wild chaos… and 9/10 times I realize the reason they’ve spiraled into absolute savagery is because I haven’t deeply connected with them in the last couple of hours (or maybe even that day at all!). Usually I’m trying to do a million different things, wear a million different hats for all my people, and I “haven’t had time” to sit down with each kid and give just five to ten minutes of undivided attention.
So my best tip for calming the chaos in your toddler-driven house?! MAKE. THE. CONNECTION. Here are 5 ways to better connect with your toddler:
1. Physically get on their level. Yes, that’s right, get on the floor. Even if you’re sorting the laundry on the floor, or writing your grocery list on the floor, being on their level automatically makes them feel more seen.
2. Elevate the floor tip by making as much eye contact as you can with them. Most toddlers are looking for your approval – verbally or non-verbally – and eye contact is one of the greatest ways you can acknowledge that they are IMPORTANT to you.
3. Compliment, compliment, compliment! Did your toddler just walk down the hall instead of full throttle run with hard toys in his hand? Say, “ WOW! I loved how you used walking feet in this hallway! You are such a big boy!”. Did your daughter find the bows and put 38 of them in her hair at once? Try, “oh my GOODNESS! I am so proud that you can put bows in your hair all by yourself. That takes mad skill, girl!”. Their behavior instantly changes when they get a boost of pride and confidence. If you do this 1. On the floor and 2. With eye contact, you have a trifecta of happiness!
4. Have a dance party! If they are truly so chaotic that they don’t even want to sit on the floor or make eye contact, put on some music and have a dance party. Make sure you’re still trying to make eye contact – you can hold their hands and both dance, or you can scoop them up and dance holding them – but try to look them in the eyes and make as much connection as possible.
5. READ. Say to them, “You know what, I think we need to do some reading!” Grab their hand (more connection!) and let them lead you to their books. They can pick one out and you can snuggle up and read it together. This sounds like such a hard stop to whatever you’re doing, but honestly it only takes 5 minutes… and will absolutely buy you some time of peace since you’ve filled their cup with direct, undistracted connection.
Long story short – connection fills these tiny human’s souls UP. They love feeling like the center of your world. They love feeling proud of themselves. And most importantly, they LOVE your approval, time, and attention. So next time your toddler is losing their ever loving, teeny little mind, stop and make as much connection as you can. Your ear drums (and heart) will thank you!