When meeting a toddler for the first time, it can be very exciting. Toddlers are fun and fast-moving and such a joy to be around. But, not all toddlers are super social. And there can be some hesitation when meeting new adults.
A great way to start when you’re meeting a toddler for the first time is to make the transition as smooth as possible. There are many ways to ease the transition when the parent is leaving.
- Introduce yourself with a smile
- Don’t rush into the child’s space
- Express excitement to have fun with the child
- Take notice of things in the room that belong to the child
Once you have gotten through the transition, the next thing is getting the toddler to be comfortable with you and start building a relationship with them. A great way to keep them occupied, while also building trust, is some fun activities. Look around in their play areas and try to tailor the activities towards their interest. You can also find out their favorite things from their parents in the interview or before they leave.
Sensory bins are a fun activity that allows the child to get their hands dirty while experiencing different textures. This is fun and a learning moment that you are spearheading. Examples: Felt balls bag, rice bin, ice cube bin, flour bin, gel bag.
Arts & Crafts
There are many different art activities that you can do. These can also be tailored to the child’s likes. This can also be used as something to show/give to parents when they return, which can offer reassurance that parents will return if they’re having a hard time. Examples: Make paper airplanes, ziploc bag paint (can use toys to assist), draw favorite animals/characters.
Everyone loves a good dance party, right?! A dance break is a great way to get the toddler moving and having a good time. This is also something you all can do together and create a bond.
Collect Leaves and Sticks
This is great on a nature walk. You can walk around the backyard or sidewalk. You can count what you collect and talk about the differences between them.
You can grab some plastic cups and practice pouring or pull out the water table!
Bubbles are always a fun activity to do! You can see how big you can make them!
Sidewalk chalk is another form of drawing you can do. Make some fun pictures, create hopscotch, or even make it a finger-paint experience (pour water over drawn chalk and use fingers).
Those are a few of many different examples of fun indoor activities you can do with a toddler. They are great ice breakers when getting to know a little for the first time. Remember to get creative and pay attention to that child’s likes and favorites!