Have you ever been in a room full of toddlers? It can either make you swoon or fall to your knees in despair. Toddlers are special in so many ways. Their awe and wonder is so amazing to watch as they discover new sights and smells, and figure out how things work around them. This same sense of discovery can lead to mischief, tantrums, and miscommunications between each other that end in all out wars. I’m excited to partner with Teletubbies to share 3 simple ways to help toddlers get along, thus, giving you a little more breathing room to be the best parent you can be.
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While it might seem that trying to help toddlers get along is a lost cause, don’t discount the ability of little ones to learn important emotional skills early on. With the right support and continual scaffolding, toddlers can learn to get along with their peers and start developing healthy social skills even before they are in preschool.
3 Simple Ways to Help Toddlers Get Along
You may have been warned before that your kids will do as you do, not as you say, and that starts in the early toddler years! You can tell your child to use a kind tone when speaking, but if they hear attitude from you, that is what they will model!
Be intentional with modeling kind behaviors in front of your child. At play dates, be sure to talk to your child’s friends with respect and kindness, and model the behaviors you’d like to see. Emphasize your pleases and thank yous, and always be quick to share.
Your child will be watching you, and after a few times they will start modeling your behavior because they want to be just like mommy!
Taking a step beyond modeling proper behavior for your child, you can also begin to roleplay before a playdate to help toddlers get along. With my autistic son, we practice social stories and then we role play the scenario that we just learned about. Role playing helps give children an understanding of an acceptable way to react or behave in a situation before their emotions have gone haywire!
Some simple scenarios to role-play might include disagreeing over a toy and taking turns, giving someone their personal space, and what happens when our friend says “no”. The important thing to keep in mind is making sure that the role-playing is kept age and development appropriate. Your two year old may not understand taking a five-minute break when they get frustrated, but they can understand saying no thank you and taking a deep breath.
Roleplaying gives your toddler a set of tools in their toolbox that they can use throughout a playdate to get along with their friends.
Free-play is, of course, important for toddlers’ development, but when you’re trying to help toddlers get along, you might want to stick to more structured play. When there’s a specific game, it’s easier for toddlers to work together and there’s less time for them to argue.
Find a simple game that all involved toddlers can understand and play, and help lead them through the game a time or two. Some of our favorites are duck, duck, goose, Simon says, and the hokey pokey. (Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve watched a group of three-year-olds trying to do the hokey pokey!)
When playing games, toddlers are more likely to work together and, more importantly, they have less time to argue or fight over who has which toy. Trust me, it works wonders!
Another one of my favorite way to help toddlers get along is supporting their social development by mirroring the three principles outlined above in the shows that they watch. We love watching Teletubbies on Nick Jr to watch the Teletubbies learn from each other, develop a better understanding of nonverbal social and emotional cues, and of course have fun!
Because the show has been thoroughly researched and every core element of the show has been carefully crafted to encourage a learning experience based on a social and emotional approach, I feel confident knowing that we are supporting our toddler’s development. The newly modernized show is on Nick Jr. at 8 am on weekdays, and it’s the perfect way to start your day with your toddlers! You can also follow along with Teletubbies on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.