How to Establish Rapport with a Toddler: 6 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Build a toddler's trust by establishing rapport with her.

Does your toddler turn away whenever you try to talk to him? If you want your child to not only listen to your motherly guidance and advice, but also follow it, establishing a strong rapport is necessary. You can't expect a young child to listen to an adult with whom he has no relationship, so take a variety of steps to gain a toddler's trust and to put him at ease in your presence.


  1. 1
    Bend down to your toddler's level, look him in the eyes and put him at ease by saying, "Hi, sweetheart." You would feel intimidated if a giant were to hover over you, and this is comparable to how your toddler would feel if an adult is standing over him.
  2. 2
    Use your "inside voice" when you talk to your child and ask a simple question like, "What is your name?" Your calm and reassuring speech promotes a non-threatening and positive interaction and therefore enhances your rapport.
  3. 3
    Pay attention to your body language. Big sweeping movements may scare a little tike, because to him, the movements look even larger. Try using smaller gestures with only your fingers and hands.
  4. 4
    Don't force interaction that makes the child feel uncomfortable. If she really feels like giving you the silent treatment at that moment, give her a little time to adjust to you. Forcing interaction and rapport produces the opposite effect, leaving you with a silent toddler who may try running in the opposite direction.
  5. 5
    Avoid interacting in an grownup-only location. Don't take your toddler to your favorite coffee shop and expect him to feel comfortable around your coffee groupies. Think from the perspective of a 2-year-old and select a place like a park or indoor play area that offers child-centered activities to do while you interact.
  6. 6
    Relive your younger days and play with your toddler. Doing so builds a trusting relationship and establishes a positive rapport. This won't occur overnight, but speed the process along using age-appropriate toys or puppets. Utilize her favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal to initiate a conversation. Have the animal say, "Hi honey, how are you today?" The important aspect of this technique is to choose a toy that your toddler likes and therefore makes him feel comfortable and at ease around you.


  • Pay attention to your toddler's non-verbal cues like frowning or crossing his arms over one another. If you see these signs that he feels uncomfortable, back off for a few minutes and then try to approach your toddler again.

Things You'll Need

  • Stuffed animal
  • Variety of toys

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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