Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

4 Ways to Connect & Communicate With Your Toddler(EXPERT)

4 Ways to Connect & Communicate With Your Toddler


Do you talk to your kids or with them?  Do you listen to them and do you actually hear what they are trying to tell you? Does your body language (non-verbal) match what your words (verbal) are communicating?  Connecting and bonding with your children will be one of the most valuable gifts and legacies that you can share with them.

If you are like most parents and caring adults, your main objective is to raise competent, well-adjusted children who become self-reliant and emotionally healthy adults. I would like to invite you to read, ponder and think how you can apply these four parts of communicating with young children today

1.     Connect with them by saying their name

Before giving directions or asking them to do a task, make sure they are even on the same wave-length as you are. Squat down so you are looking at them and can engage their eyes on you instead of their toys.  You may need to announce; “Emmie, I need your ears to hear what I am going to say.”  “Jeffrey, I need your eyes to see what I want you to see.”  As parents we also found it helpful to touch their upper arm when we needed their full attention.  In return, they knew that when they touched our upper arm, they had something important to say.

2.     Say what you want in short sentences, not long lectures

Be very specific in what you want.  The more parents ramble and justify their position the more the kids become overwhelmed, confused and eager to say no. “I want the toys in the box now.” If it seems like they are going to argue, just repeat “Toys-box-now.”  If your child can’t repeat back what you want done, it was too long and confusing.

3.     When-then not If

This is the difference between a reward and a bribe. When is a measurable goal; “when you put your shoes on, then we will leave for the store and the park.”  You both know if the shoes are on or off and that it is his job, there is nothing to debate, argue or throw a tantrum over.  When and then implies that you expect obedience and compliance with the request.

Encouraging words and phrases will help your child to become an independent self-reliant person. This article has tips of building self-confidence and esteem.See for more information.

However, you start a sentence with “If” then there is room for negotiation, whining and begging. Saying “if you put your shoes on we can go to the park after shopping” implies that he has a choice.

It is important that children know that they have some choices in life, but not everything is a choice or worthy of a decision.  Sometimes, they just do what we say because we are the parent and make decisions that are in their best interest and best for the family.

Which leads us to the last and most important part of being a parent, helping the children we love and care for to be independent self-reliant individuals?

4.     Help them to help themselves.

Of course it is easier and faster for us, as adults, to do things ourselves.  We can zip the zipper and be on our way much quicker than we can take the time to show her one more time how to fit the zipper tab over the two sides.  But this is a disservice and a discouragement to the child.

When we encourage them to learn new tasks and celebrate their capabilities that support transfers to every aspect of life.  The accomplishment of a small thing today will lead to more successes every day. As they see us model making mistakes and self-correcting or adjusting our goals in life, they see that it is okay to not be perfect.  The joy of knowing that you are loved unconditionally builds a foundation of confidence and self-esteem.

The more you do for your children the less time you have to do things with them.  Connect and communicate your love, support and joy by building pleasant memories and strong life skills.

Self-Awareness Quiz

  • Have you heard yourself saying to your toddler; “Here, just let me do it. It will be faster?”
  • If your toddler wants to help, will you allow him to assist you?
  • Are you aware of the natural stages of growth in small children?
  • Would you like to learn more about tips and techniques to bond with your child?
  • If so, then claim your free report at


Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” is an expert parent educator and speaker.  If your organization would be interested in hiring Judy as a keynote speaker, please call 406-549-9813 or see

If you found this article interesting, you will want to check out the new series of Raising Smart & Kind Kids- Babies, Toddlers and Pre-school.   They are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or at

Enhance Your Self Esteem With Three Encouraging Phrases

Many of us are hearing the word “shift” in the news, at the coffee shop and at church.  The world is shifting by having earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. These natural disasters are forcing us to be aware of the environment and the changes that are occurring.  Our lives are shifting as we lose jobs, savings and homes in an uncertain economy.  Our spirits are shifting and our self esteem is rocking as we examine changes in our thoughts, feelings and deepest desires.  In order to enhance the new shifts to awareness in self esteem, it is important to speak with encouraging words and ask for what we want in life.

Decide What You Want, Not What You Don’t Want

Many people go through life in a default mode. Taking what ever comes along and not really asking for more. The biggest step in enhancing self esteem and confidence is making a decision. Seriously. All you need to do to feel stronger and more in control of you life is to make a decision with encouraging words and phrases.  Here are some samples;

  1. I can do it. I know what I want and deserve.
  2. I am a problem solver and find creative solutions.
  3. My old patterns and habits no longer serve me.

Shift Your Thoughts and Change Your Life

Think about a small child that you love.  When they decided to give up crawling so they could go farther and reach more, they had to make a decision to start walking.  They fell down a lot.  They may have even cried and wanted you to carry them about.  You encouraged them to keep trying.  You knew that eventually they would master the skill and it would become automatic action.

That simple shift from all fours to upright opens all kinds of possibilities and opportunities for that child.  Things that were out of reach, suddenly can be grabbed.  Once they have mastered walking, running comes easier.

We Are Hard Wired to Succeed

Babies come into this world wanting their needs met and needing reassurance they are loved and valued. As a parent you want the best for that child. You go out of your way to encourage self esteem and success.  You and I continually parent ourselves.  This idea may be brand new to you, but think about it and see how you use encouraging or discouraging phrases often with your own self talk and thoughts.

Enhance your success and opportunities as you shift your thoughts and decisions into those that will serve your highest good.  Treat yourself with as much love and consideration as you would a small baby you loved very much.

Questions To Ponder

  1. Would you say the things you say to yourself each day to a baby you loved?
  2. How can you make a decision to change your inner talk to be more positive and encouraging?
  3. Can you feel a shift in your spirit and body as you make a decision to enhance your self-esteem?
  4. Can you see how many of the old beliefs and patterns you had in the past are not what you want for your future?
  5. What decision are you going to make today that will make your life better?

I have confidence in your ability to encourage positive change and forward movement towards your goals and dreams.

Please know that I want only the best for you and yours.

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and speaker