Parenting toddlers can be a challenging and demanding experience, but it doesn’t have to take a toll on your relationship. With the right approach, couples can successfully navigate the toddler stage and keep their love strong. Whether you are married, co-parenting, or in a long-term relationship, parents can maintain a meaningful connection.
The Importance of Relationships and Toddler Development
Parents are so focused on parenting toddlers and their development and often forget an important lesson: navigating relationships. The first introduction to that is through their parents.
When you prioritize your partner, your toddler learns development skills that help them in their future relationships, such as communication and expressing emotions. Toddlers are like sponges and will model what they see. Don’t discount the importance of maintaining a strong connection with your partner.
1. Prioritize Communication
Communication is an essential part of every type of relationship, especially for parents of toddlers. It’s not always easy to communicate with a toddler around trying to dominate conversations. Other times, the conversation may not be suitable for little ears.
Keep the lines of communication open as best you can to express your needs and thoughts openly. Parenting is hard and leaning on your partner for support to talk about what you’re going through will strengthen your bond.
2. Practice Patience
Parenting toddlers in and of itself tests your patience and many parents find they lose patience more quickly with their partner because they can’t with their toddler. But, staying patient with your partner as they also try to navigate parenthood is a fantastic way to show them that you support them.
You will both have moments of frustration, with one person requiring more attention than another. You may need to put aside your own thoughts to prioritize theirs.
3. Ask for Help
Sometimes it can be difficult to ask for help when you need it, but that’s exactly why you have a partner. Parents should lean on each other for support and admit when they need help. Whether it’s with readjusting the workload of parenting and household tasks or needing a moment to yourself without your toddler around, ask for help.
When you try to handle everything on your own or expect your partner to assume your needs, it can lead to resentment. This could cause strife in your relationship.
4. Schedule Regular Dates
Taking a few hours away from your children gives couples a great opportunity to connect one on one. You can schedule a night out at a fancy restaurant or take a short hike during the day. Connect with your partner in a similar way you used to enjoy before becoming parents. Try to make this time about just the two of you with limited talk about your toddler to strengthen your relationship as individuals.
5. Enjoy the Time You Have Together
For some parents, it’s not always possible to schedule many dates together. The time you can spend together may be limited. Learn to enjoy every moment you can have whether it’s just 20 minutes while your little one is preoccupied or 2 hours at night after they’re asleep. Finding joy in those small moments will prove hugely beneficial.
6. Give Yourselves Time Apart
While spending time with your partner is crucial for your bond, time away from each other has its own benefits. Getting out of the house to hang out with close friends is an important part of filling your social needs and having that community is a great way for parents to find support from other parents. If you are the type of person who values their alone time, make sure you’re getting that time to yourself when you need it to recharge.
7. Show Your Appreciation
Parenting can be a thoughtless job as toddlers aren’t exactly quick to express their gratitude. Show that appreciation to your partner to validate their hard work. Notice the little things and the big things they do for your children and the family as a whole. Sometimes just knowing someone appreciates what you do can make them feel connected and seen.
Parenting toddlers can zap your energy, but don’t let your relationship fall to the wayside because of it. Continue to work on strengthening it with your partner so you can be the parenting team your family needs.
This article was written exclusively for Love What Matters by Kate Fann. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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