Resources for Creating a Safer, Saner, More Loving World

Leveling with Toddlers Communicates, “You Matter”

Breakfast-with-Lela

Interacting with toddlers at their physical level improves feelings of safety.

by SETH EISENBERG
FATHERHOODCHANNEL.COM

Zachary-and-Mom

Affirming interactions in a positive environment help toddlers develop a healthy sense of self-worth.

When I stepped into the early pre-school classroom of our 16-month-old son recently, looking down to see him among the tiny children lining up in front of the door was an unusual sight.

I realized later that what was strange was that this was one of the few moments in Zachary’s life that I was seeing him from the position of towering over him.

From our son’s earliest moments, it’s been natural to nearly always maintain a leveling position with each other when he’s awake. As a newborn, infant and now growing toddler, family members regularly hold him in our arms or laps where we can maintain natural eye contact without our baby having to look up or us having to look down.

When he hasn’t been in our arms or laps, there are few occasions that time together hasn’t meant sitting or kneeling to be at the same level, either on the floor, in bed, on the couch, or with our son in a booster seat that makes it natural to see and engage with each other free from the distraction caused by differences in height.

Studies have shown that experiences during their earliest months have a lasting impact on a child’s development of healthy self-worth and self-esteem that will shape their lives long into adulthood.

It’s helpful to recognize that kids, especially, hear as much with their eyes as with their ears. Making a conscious decision to regularly communicate in a leveling position with children through interactions that promote natural eye contact – as with adults – is important to creating feelings of safety, connection, and letting them know they matter.

Seth Eisenberg is President/CEO of PAIRS Foundation, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education.

RELATED:

Daily Temperature Reading

Thanksgiving Family Survival Guide

Tagged as: , ,

Categorised in: Education, Fatherhood, Lifestyle/Leisure, News

Copyright Notice

Copyright © FatherhoodChannel.com, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from FatherhoodChannel.com is strictly prohibited. Excerpts up to 500 words and links may be freely used by educational and nonprofit organizations provided that full and clear attribution is given to the article's author and FatherhoodChannel.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Please address permission requests to editor@fatherhoodchannel.com.
April 2011
M T W T F S S
« Mar   May »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930