When you interact with and admire your toddler, you encourage your child to organize behaviors, communicate ideas and feelings, and solve problems. Your toddler needs your high regard along with the care and comfort you provide.

Let’s say your child is coloring a wonderful picture or building the tower of towers. When he or she turns to you with pride to show you the new creation-in-the-making, he or she will want to see an approving gleam in your eye and a smile of acknowledgment. If you are disconnected from your child’s effort to join with you—busy texting or reading the newspaper, for example—you will inadvertently put up a roadblock to an important exchange.

Floor time is a great way to provide one-on-one interaction and admiration time with your child. Through playful one-on-one times,  your toddler can get a clear sense that you applaud his or her creativity and adventurousness. Your child will then feel full of warm security and can be selective about the positive attention he or she wants from you rather than demanding attention in a negative fashion as a last resort. Being filled with warmth and security will also allow your child to be more selective as he or she seeks attention from other relationships that are part of his or her world.

Take every opportunity to interact with and admire your toddler, and remember that play is a great way to accomplish both.