Growing up is hard. Everything is a brand-new learning experience. Adults can usually coast effortlessly through their days because they have already been there, done that, hundreds of times. Not toddlers — they have no past experiences to rely on.
Toddlers are often confused, scared and frustrated. You can help build your child’s confidence and foster a positive attitude toward unpredictable events by making a big deal out of every achievement and developmental milestone. Your girl or boy will grow up feeling like they can handle any experience and master any skill.
Idea #1: Take a Photo of Your Child in a Cute Outfit
A fun way to celebrate major milestones with your toddler is by dressing them in cute toddler clothes and taking a picture. Print a copy of the picture and hang it proudly on the fridge for the family to see. You’ll smile as they remark upon how great it was that the toddler could walk across the yard or pronounce your great-aunt’s name correctly. Then, send copies of the picture to friends and family, bragging about your child’s achievement while your toddler watches. Read some comments from friends and family about your child’s accomplishments to your toddler. Then be sure to congratulate them again.
Keep these milestone pictures somewhere safe. Long after your child has matured into an adult, this collection of baby pictures will be a treasured keepsake you can share with your child’s own kids.
Idea #2: Create a Chart and Check Off Items
An excellent way to track your toddler’s progress is to create a chart of major milestones and hang it in a prominent place. Every time your son or daughter reaches one, praise and help them check it off on the chart. Placing gold stars or animal stickers on the chart is a fun way for toddlers to begin marking and tracking their progress toward adulthood.
Idea #3: Make Their Favorite Meal or Dessert
When your toddler hits a significant milestone, you can make a big deal out of it by having a special dinner. Let your child pick the menu and assist you in preparing the meal or dessert. Let everyone in the family know about the major achievement you are celebrating together. Consider letting your child wear a crown at the dinner or tie balloons to your toddler’s chair to make the event extra special.
Idea #4: Let Your Child Pick Out a New Outfit
One brilliant way to celebrate your toddler’s achievement is to let him or her pick out a new outfit. Show your daughter a small selection of toddler girl clothes, or let your son browse some toddler boy clothes that will fit well. Then you can guide the child to select a single outfit. Celebrations that also teach children skills like making good fashion choices are a win-win.
Idea #5: Go Somewhere Special
Does your toddler love the zoo, a local park or a nearby toy store? When your child achieves a major milestone, celebrate by taking a trip to his or her favorite place.
Idea #6: Do a Craft Project Together
If your child lost a tooth or survived the first day of preschool, help the toddler make a special card or decoration to celebrate the event. These early craft projects make wonderful keepsakes that parents and the grown child will delight in looking at over and over again.
Idea #7: Give Your Child a Present
Everyone loves gifts. Prepare a small collection of lovingly wrapped toys, and when your child achieves a new milestone, happily present him or her with a gift. You can make it a celebration for the whole family.
Idea #8: Do a Happy Dance
Most toddlers enjoy dancing. If your toddler just mastered a new milestone, do a little happy dance with your child. Consider picking out a special piece of dance music. Whenever your toddler is awesome, play your song, and you can dance joyfully together.
Idea #9: Tell Your Toddler How Happy You Are
Sometimes, every interaction between a parent and a young toddler seems to involve a fight or conflict. Watch for any good behavior throughout the day, such as your toddler putting a toy away, and immediately smile happily and tell your toddler how much you appreciate that. This kind of positive reinforcement encourages children to act that way again in the future. It will also help make a frazzled parent feel better about the challenges of parenting by invoking good feelings.
Idea #10: Offer Physical Affection
For a minor achievement, such as sitting still while you brush your child’s hair, offer praise and a hug or a big smile and a high five. Make sure your child knows what they did was a good thing that is very appreciated.
Bonus Idea: Introduce them to a hobby
When your child achieves another milestone, you can introduce them to a new hobby—a benchmark to develop other abilities such as cognitive abilities, creativity, and imagination. If your child is into reading, grab them a new book or new reading materials, such as comics or graphic novels, that are appropriate for their age.
One of the most important tasks of a parent is to develop your child’s confidence and self-esteem. It is easy to lose track of this major goal in all the details of raising your child and teaching them specific skills. A good way to make sure you focus on raising a well-adjusted child with a positive attitude is to plan ahead about how to celebrate milestones and achievements, both major and minor. Your child will grow up feeling like they can do anything if they try hard enough. Besides, celebrating developmental milestones is fun for everyone.