How To Build Trust With A Toddler? Practical Tips With A Touch Of Encouragement

It can’t be worse when you suddenly realize that your kid hides some truth from you. “What have I done wrong? Can I fix it up? How to build trust with a toddler?” – parents ask. Spoiler: there is no magic bullet – trust-building is a long-term process.

In this guide, you will find some steps to follow for getting your sincere relationships back on track. Even if you don’t consider yourself a toxic parent, you will still find lifehacks for improving your friendship with children.

Top-11 Tips To Build Trust With a Toddler

1. Accept Your Child As He Is

For children of any age, it’s important to know that their parents love them unconditionally and will always accept them. Toddlers should know that parents can support them in any situation. Believe it or not, trust in child development is a crucial aspect as a kid’s self-esteem is based on it. Trust and love are interconnected, too. Therefore, learn to accept your child the way he is and keep expressing your love, even if the little one is guilty of something.

2. Be Consistent In Parenting And Serve As Example

If the parents establish some rule or prohibition, and the next day they behave as if it did not exist, the child’s whole picture of the world is violated. 

Parents who break their own rules and don’t live up to their promises are the first candidates for having zero trust. 

Therefore, having made a decision, be faithful to it to the end. Once you set the rules in your family, follow them yourself, otherwise, your children will perceive your behavior as hypocritical. Keep your promises while building relationships with infants and toddlers. And try to keep your principles consistent with each other.

3. Listen To Your Kids And Take Their Words Seriously

This is also very important for children’s self-esteem and trust in parents. Next time, when your kid complains about the scary monster under the bed, don’t rush to blame her for inventing everything and persuade her that no monster exists. 

You should understand that toddlers are prone to irrational fears because there is so much for them. It’s the same with teenagers, by the way. Teen moms and dads make a typical parenting mistake by dismissing their kid’s emotional pain caused by unhappy first love.  

Do not ignore your toddler’s feelings, because for children their problems seem to be very serious. The following phrases kill a child’s trust in parents:

  • “Stop it!”
  • “What do you know about it?”
  • “What have you done? It’s awful!”
  • “No, let me do it – you can’t”
  • “You’re no good at anything”
  • “I don’t care”
  • “I didn’t ask your opinion”
  • “Stop complaining!”

Constant criticism and ignorance of a kid’s feelings and thoughts are the easiest way to lose their trust. So listen to your kid without interrupting. Try to avoid criticism, judgments, and unsolicited advice. Instead, focus on understanding and empathy and ask if you can help. Most often, kids just need a listener without further ado. It might be difficult, but listening is one of the major trust-building activities for toddlers.

4. Respect The Child’s Opinion And Give Choice

Kids should feel like full members of the family and know that their opinion is also valuable. Yes, the final decision is made by the parents, but all family members, even the smallest ones, can express their position. 

When it comes to some minor choices, for example, clothing and foods, give your children the upper hand – let them make decisions. This will not only teach kids to be independent but also show that parents trust them.

5. Respect The Kid’s Personal Space And Time

Some parents feel a personal responsibility for their kid’s pastimes and hate it when a kid spends hours playing, but not studying. You want your toddler to enjoy childhood, don’t you? Then you should respect their privacy and free time – let your little ones play, laugh, and have fun. When, if not now? 

How to build trust with a toddler? Knock on the door and don’t come in without asking for it.

6. Ask For Help

For each person, a request for help is a signal that he is trusted. Kids are no exception. I will share a secret: they don’t only want to receive care from you – they want to share something in return. They are happy to contribute to the family, so you should be happy, too. Helping parents allows them to express themselves, develop responsibility and grow up. But don’t mix requests with criticism and don’t overload your kid! 

7. Expand Boundaries

As our toddlers are aging and getting more independent, we forget to expand their freedom. If you’re being an obsessively caring parent, it’s time to rethink your behavior. Let them put on clothes, prepare flakes for breakfast, help you clean the table, and do small chores. Even if you have to make it over from scratch. 

8. Control Yourself

All the previous points boil down to one simple fact: you should approach parenting consciously. Make sure you understand what is trust and how it works in relationships. It should become a part of your kid’s morale, too. Keep in mind that your thoughts and words reflect in their behavior.  So before you get to know how to build trust with a toddler… Remember that it’s easier to make a robust foundation from the start than rebuilding trust with your child after betraying it. 

9. Be Predictable For Your Child

If the kid knows exactly how the parents will react to a certain situation, he can predict the possible consequences and adjust his behavior. Don’t react on one and the same fact in different ways. If your daughter helps you prepare dinner, you should praise her. If you start criticizing her next time, she will be discouraged from helping you. The feeling of insecurity can lead to a loss of mental stability. 

10. Be Honest 

We should try to explain kids things as they are. This is important for two reasons: we serve as an example, and our honesty creates the basis for their trust. Most parents believe they never use lies in their lives. However, many of our statements cannot be considered perfectly truthful: “If you misbehave, a policeman will come and take you away”, “If you don’t go home now, I’ll leave you here on the street!”. It is enough for a toddler to understand that parents tell a lie, or convey facts inaccurately. 

11. Do Not Discuss Your Child With Strangers

Many parents think that kids don’t mind being discussed with strangers in their presence. It’s not true, especially when it comes to criticizing. The punishment received at home is quite enough for the child – there is no need to shame him in front of someone. Don’t judge your kid in front of his parents because that will cause problems in all relationships.

Why Your Kid Doesn’t Trust You?

If you’ve noticed some tell-tale signs of kid’s mistrust, it’s time to repair relationships. How? Find out what causes underhand behavior and attitude. 

1. Toddler Doesn’t Want To Hear Your Criticism And Abuse

When a kid stays silent about problems and worries, the lynchpin moment here is fear. How would a toddler share information if his mother will surely raise her voice and exhibit this tongue in cheek attitude? (FYI: Toddlers may actually understand sarcasm). 

If you’re being that toxic, your kid will become confident that it is unsafe at home, and no one needs to hear about his problems. While learning how to build trust with a toddler, you should mind one thing. Children hold no appeal to be sincere with parents who issue ultimatums, give orders, but do not provide support.

2. The Kid Is Afraid To Upset You

Although it’s more typical of teens and adolescents, sometimes even toddlers hide the pain to protect their parents from negative experiences. Such a situation happens when kids see parents being upset by their behavior and news.  So how to build trust with toddlers when you’re upset or outraged? Don’t display anger and anxiousness in front of your kid – it leads to an endless feeling of guilt.

3. You Are Not On Their Side

Quite a common story when the teacher criticizes the child and the parent agrees with him. Or when the child is unfairly accused of something (theft, fight, deception), but instead of finding out the truth and supporting, the parents take the side of the “enemy”, promising to deal with the “shameful” behavior of the offspring.

Needless to say, by denying children support, adults lose their trust. The child feels that the parent is not on his side, no one will protect him, therefore he does not ask for help. What for? He will still be accused of lying. To prevent this from happening, parents must be lawyers for their children, defend their rights, and find out the circumstances and motives of their behavior later. 

4. Your Kid Is Tired Of Overprotection And Control

To me parenting is all about trust. If you don’t live by your words or actions how do you expect your kids to listen to you? – Kevin Heath

If you want your kid to become independent, you have to bid goodbye to overprotection – everyone has a right for mistakes, especially children. How can they explore this world if they don’t try things? As a parent, you should bear the responsibility of explaining what’s safe and what’s not. Safety rules first. 

You can’t save children from all the problems and temptations of the surrounding world, but you can teach them how to cope with issues, approach everything consciously, correctly assess the situation and its consequences. No bans – encourage discoveries. 

5. They Don’t Want To Be Blamed Again

When your little one complains about something or fails, the last thing you should do is blaming. Seriously! The kid already feels bad and needs your support as never before. If you accuse your kid of failures and mistakes, you form the psychology of a victim. 

When you hurt your kids, they don’t stop loving you. They stop loving themselves. 

When these kids grow up, they can’t get rid of the sense of endless self-blaming. Traumatized adults (both men and women) turn the green light for abusers, rapists, tyrants and gaslighters. Abusive people can fool your kid into believing anything bad about oneself. So by supporting your kids today, you protect them tomorrow.

6. They Are Not Sure About Your Competence

“What kind of special competence should I possess?” – would you ask. Here, I want to touch upon the topic of sexual education. If a mother had never explained to her daughter what menstruation and personal hygiene are, how can she expect a kid or teen to come up with related questions? If you don’t discuss such sensitive topics with your kids, they may have serious problems in future relationships and sexual health issues. Hushing it up means creating the illusion of security. 

Signs of Mistrust In Kids

If you hear lies from your child often enough, there are certain things that bother him or her. How to recognize that your son or daughter lies? 

  • The toddler looks away, avoids eye contact
  • Keeps hands near the mouth during conversation
  • Coughs during conversation
  • Touches the nose, chin or temples, rubs the eyes
  • Touches the collar and neck;
  • Touches the earlobe;
  • Keeps hands in pockets.

Attentive parents can spot any changes in their children’s behavior. If the child is cheating, do not make hasty decisions. After all, if children lie, there is a crisis of trust that you should overcome together. 

Bottom Line

Hopefully, these tips will help you establish rock-solid trust in your family. Watch your kid’s behavior, and if you notice lies or some sort of secrecy, find out what might have caused such behavior. 

So, how to build trust with a toddler? Don’t judge your kid. Give support instead, and you’ll have the trust credit to the Moon and back. 

Image Credit: Ketut Subiyanto ❘ Pexels

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About Veronika

I'm a loving mom with a strong passion for creative writing and wordplay. Freelancing since 2013, I focus on translation and crypto copywriting (Bitcoins can be fun, too). My jam-packed daily schedule includes parenting, homemaking, work and blogging on MarvelMama, and I enjoy every second of my ever-busy life.
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