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One On One With My Little One


I’ve heard children crave time with their mothers – that we are the sun in their universe. I’ve noticed my two year-old daughter responds better and is more well behaved when I give her direct and focused attention for spurts of time. So when I shared the news I had booked a girls trip (just my daughter and me) for a weekend, my mom-friends all responded the same way: they claimed I would have a “better than usual” child on our trip. I took that with a grain of salt because I believe I know my daughter best — she is a feisty, energetic non-napper who sometimes whines when she doesn’t get her way (and sometimes whining turns to thrashing, but that’s another article).

Now that we’re back from our trip, I have to say I was beyond pleasantly surprised when my girl actually did turn into the very best version of herself. She barely uttered a single note of whine, and when she did I could communicate her out of it quite easily. She didn’t wake up once in the middle of the night, she wasn’t fresh, and she constantly asked me how she could help me. Someone pinch me please! We’ve only been home a couple of days, and though I see her getting back into her regular routine and demeanor, I’m also wondering what I can do to stretch this great “vacation” behavior out into everyday life. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

*Taking the time to respond to her when she speaks to me every time. That’s what I shoot for, of course, but sometimes I get caught up doing other things and my girl ends up asking her question a few times. I’ve found if I answer the first time, her frustration and mine don’t surface as much.

*Involving her in what I’m doing. Because I was traveling alone, I needed that extra set of hands to help me unpack or carry things from one place to another. I could tell that allowing her to contribute in that way made her happier and that she liked being part of our team.

*Never letting bad comments or behaviors slide. I do hate saying “never.” Instead, how about “trying really hard to address almost all negative comments and behaviors?” We’re all human and just can’t give 100%, 100% of the time. However, I will say that on the occasion I do let a “NO MOMMY” or the throw of a toy go unaddressed, it ends up repeating itself again later in the day…and why not? I let it happen the first time, so it makes sense. The more I can take the 60 seconds to address the behavior, the less I tend to have to deal with it later.

*Face-to-face fun! I’m talking giggle contests, silly voices, sounds and faces and singing songs back and forth. I’m fully engaged, facing her closely and looking directly at her. We both have a blast, and she gets to fill up her “mommy tank.”

Everyone has her own tricks of the motherhood trade, and these are a few of mine. I hope they work for you, and we’d love to hear some more suggestions on this!

Author: Amy



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