The picture above? She went up to a child sized, cloth mannequin the other day and started dancing with it! I called the sales clerk over and she said she had never seen any toddler go up to the little kid mannequin before and it was so cute! My little baby was trying to be friendly and show a little affection!
So, then my heart just melted even more on Monday when I witnessed my little 15 month old at a playdate, go up and give another child a hug and then puckered her lips up to kiss him! Without any prompting what-so-ever on my part. I was so elated and shocked at the same time, wondering if I was really witnessing the cutest thing ever!
She was showing affection to another child!! And where was my camera?
I had never seen her do this before, except to me and my husband, and most recently our dogs. So to see your child try to do this to another child her age was the cutest thing ever. And after she hugged the boy, she then proceeded to go up to a little girl, and instead of trying to swat at her face like she normally does to other kids, she hugged her and kissed her cheek!!
To test out her new found skill, I then turned to another little boy that she knows well and asked Luna if she could give him a hug and kiss too. She went right up to him and did it! Now, I know what you are saying- "I thought you said not to force kids to give affection!" Well, yes, for the most part that is true. But at this age, they are still learning what a hug means, and what a kiss means, so by modeling and teaching them what is appropriate is the best way to teach them.
Exactly how do you do that?
-Well, for starters, she has learned affection from witnessing my husband and I when we give her lots of hugs and lots and lots of kisses :) We tell her we 'love her' as we model this as well. I am also constantly hugging my dogs and giving them kisses too, so she has gotten a few extra lessons from that.
-I also have been modeling 'soft touches' on her baby dolls by showing her how to touch them, give them hugs and kisses as well, instead of hitting or swatting at someone. She's been at that tricky age lately where she will touch and sometimes hit another child's face. It's that 'exploring' phase of learning how to interact with others.
-Another good idea to start is to continue to give hugs and kisses to your child, to stuffed animals, pets, etc. and tell your child that by giving hugs and kisses means we love them and like them a lot.
-And during this early learning phase, it's okay to ask them to blow grandma a kiss, give their friend a hug, etc and while doing so, telling them again, "we give hugs to our friends because we like them and it shows we care!"
-If you want to teach your older child boundaries better and to just give hugs to friends (no kisses), then continue telling them that 'we give hugs to our friends to show them we care or when they are feeling hurt or sad'. And, "we give kisses to really, really show we love someone like mommy, daddy, (sibling, grandparents, etc)" This can help teach appropriate boundaries, but again, probably better to teach this when they are closer to age 2 and can understand a little better.
Do any of you have cute stories?? This reminds me of teaching our kids to be altruistic, so I'll save that for the next post!