I have a social toddler. She loves new people and seeing her friends. When we are out in public, she often strikes up conversations with strangers. In addition, she becomes discouraged if there aren’t other kids to play with at the park. Sometimes, I am amazed at her need to be so social. Here are some tips on how to deal with a gregarious toddler.
Give them Plenty of Socializing Opportunities
If their needs are not met, it’s likely that a social toddler will start acting out. Thus, give your child plenty of opportunities to interact. These can be informal outings to the park or more formal playdates. If you have neighbors with children, encourage a time when kids can play together. Community and church events, preschool and family gatherings are all great opportunities.
Don’t Expect your Child to Conform to your Personality
By nature, I am a more introverted. I like my alone time. I enjoy writing and thinking. However, I realize my daughter’s need to socialize. Thus, I make sure to schedule playdates with her friends. I also realize her need to be around me a lot. It’s hard but important to relate to your child’s needs.
Engage in Conversation
I try to ask my daughter open-ended questions to let her express herself. For instance, “what did you do at preschool today?” My husband does the same. While toddlers may not always be able to explain or rationalize, it’s still a good idea to give them a chance.
My daughter is very interested in the idea of having friends. I think it’s great for all children to have people who they feel comfortable around. Thus, she plays with a few children on a regular basis.
While I respect my daughter’s social nature, I also want her to respect my time. Thus, I encourage her to play by herself. I’ve turned away from noisy toys to creative toys like dolls, action figures and blocks. Along with urging her to play independently, I also let her know that mommy needs five minutes to make a phone call or check her email. She may not completely understand. However, I want her to realize that every second isn’t about her.
I don’t mind when my toddler asks strangers in the park to push her on the swing. Usually, it’s another parent that we’ve already been talking too. However, what bothers me is when she wants to go into a stranger’s house who says “hi” to her on the street. Already, I am trying to express the notion of stranger danger. This is basically talking about not going into someone’s house or car when she doesn’t know the person. Although it will be quite awhile until she gets to play in the front yard by herself, I’m starting the stranger talk early.
It’s truly a blessing to have different personalities in our family. I enjoy the daily interactions with my social butterfly!
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