Earlier this month I wrote a post over at Disney Baby about 15 Ways To Show Your Child Love and it got me thinking that showing love to a tiny baby and a toddler look a little different. So, I decided to write a post here to share some suggestions for small ways you can show love specifically to your toddler, because they really are tiny, little individuals!
Here are a few ideas to help you show your toddler love on Valentine’s Day and EVERYDAY!
Make their snack heart-shaped 1 of 10Your child may not quite understand why you did it just yet, but they'll appreciate the novelty. My little one notices anything new and different, so this could be fun for her. So cut up those strawberries or carrots into little hearts or make heart-shaped pancakes. No need to get super fancy, it's the thought that counts with toddlers.
Let them choose the activity 2 of 10Some days I feel like I'm constantly putting the kabash on my little one's fun. There are places to go, things to do and while she might find carrying her books back and forth from one room to the next absolutely riveting, I often have other plans that require her to stop what she's doing. But, make sure to take the time to just be with them doing things they enjoy. Set aside an hour in your day to just follow your toddler around and partake in all of the little activities that make their heart happy.
Include them in your outings 3 of 10I realize that sometimes it's much easier (or even necessary) to get a sitter so you can do certain activities, but including your kids in your daily activities helps your child to learn about the world and bond with you in the process. Plus, it's quite likely your toddler would think the dry cleaners was the coolest place ever.
Let them choose their own outfit 4 of 10My husband is much better at this than I am (it sort of makes me cringe), but sometimes you've just gotta let your toddler choose their own outfit. The fact that you encouraged their independence will make them feel special and proud...even if they're wearing striped pants underneath brown corduroy shorts with a black onesie and purple polka dot socks. It'll be worth it to see their excited face.
Share with them 5 of 10Letting your toddler have a little bite of your muffin or a sip of your water from a grown-up cup or letting them play with one of your grown-up toys (the non-breakable ones I mean) makes them feel important and included...and loved.
Give them their own drawer 6 of 10I'm constantly telling Fern "no" these days when I'm in the kitchen. She tries to get into EVERYTHING. Eliminate some of those "no's" by dedicating a bottom drawer to them. It can be your "yes drawer" and you can fill it with all the kitchen gadgets that are baby safe (think lids, whisks, wooden spoons...). They'll love it.
Let them help you 7 of 10Even the littlest toddlers can be included in helpful tasks. Sometimes I'll let my little one give whatever I'm mixing a stir or I'll let ask her to bring me toys when it's time to clean up (she's still learning) and she loves having a task. The look of pride she gets on her face is totally priceless.
Snuggle them 8 of 10Even if you have a busy one always on-the-go little one like I do, make sure you still track them down for snuggles often. Physical touch is such an important part of showing your toddler love.
Surprise them with a favorite 9 of 10At this point your toddler has definitely developed some strong likes and dislikes, so surprise them with a little treat that is a favorite to make them feel extra special. It could be homemade banana muffins if you have a banana-obsessed toddler, a trip to the park if that's a favorite, a small gift (i.e. an Ugly Doll - my child is obsessed) or something in their favorite color (orange and purple are the faves around here).
Tell them you love them 10 of 10I think I tell my child that I love her at least 18,000 times a day, but it's never enough! Even though they don't quite understand it yet, all those "I love yous" will definitely stick with them.
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.
More from Lauren:
- 15 Black and White Basics For Your Toddler’s Wardrobe
- 8 Valentine’s Gifts To Bring the Sexy Back To Your Relationship
- 10 Hard-Sole Shoes For Toddlers With Tiny Feet
- Big & Little Fashions: Mother/Daughter Valentine’s Day Style
- Big & Little Fashions: Mother/Son Valentine’s Day Style
- 20 Random Facts About Me