As we end summer and start a new school year (or daycare) we have time to reflect and look forward. Your toddler has made some amazing friendships. Some have been for 20 seconds while waiting in the grocery line, 4-hours while at an outdoor picnic event or what seems to be the start of a life-long friendship. Whatever the case may be, consider some of the helpful tips below on how to navigate toddler relationships.
When researching this topic I came across the following from PBS about friendship skills. The emphasis of being mindful and aware of your child's needs, style and preferences is the number one tip!
Top Tips on Navigating Toddler Relationships
Let your child be true to themselves. Do not push them beyond the breaking point. Encouraging words are helpful but if your toddler needs 30-minutes to warm up in a crowd, arrive early or be with them as they find their voice and presence.
End on a good note! If things are going well, kids are happy and you are thinking of calling the "play date" ... do it! Do not overextend the opportunity.
Be prepared for a rollercoaster ride. As adults we are befuddled by the toddler relationship as they do not fit the adult mold and they never will. Be patient. Your toddler will have the bestest of best friends who they don't talk about the next day. Just let them and ask questions.
Don't make a relationship up that isn't there. You may love the kids parents but your toddler might not want the friendship. There is flexing to accommodate everyone's needs and you can be honest about the kid dynamic.
Communicate and talk about friendship, relationships and what they mean to you. Your toddler is pulling in a tremendous amount of information everyday. Help them understand it by talking about it and showing them through modeling.
Your toddler, your family and your relationships will impact how you apply these tips. Most importantly - talk to your kid and let them be themselves. Don't apply your youth or your childhood experience to shape their early years.