How To Prep Your Toddlers For Conversation

00:35 - Prepping them at home
00:57 - Eye contact
01:35 - Staring contest
02:11 - We greet them
02:20 - How to properly say hello with a good handshake
03:31 - The last thing is the conversation itself

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Hi, everybody. Harper Jones here with Bow-Tiger, and you are watching Saturdays with Harper. And we're gonna talk a little bit about conversation with your toddler today, how to really prep them for conversation, whether it be with kids on the playground, teachers at school. There's a few things that you want to teach your child, and you can do at home, to kind of prep them for this sometimes very, very scary thing that they have to do. A lot of toddlers are really shy and somehow difficulty chatting or speaking with people. So prepping them as best as you can at home really, really will help them when they get into social situations. As I said, whether at the playground, at school, out with mommy and daddy, at a birthday party, whatever it may be, these little tips should definitely help your little ones when they're out and about.

Okay, so the first thing that I want you guys to work with your toddlers on is eye contact. Eye contact means you're engaging in the conversation. If you are having a conversation with somebody, but you're looking down at the ground, or you're looking all around, you're not really engaging that person. You're not really having the conversation with the person. You're having the conversation around the person. But it makes what you're speaking about, or what you're toddler is speaking about, and what the other person is saying less important or seem like less important, because you're not able to look them in the eye.

So how do we teach shy toddlers to look everybody in the eye? I mean, I used to have a very difficult time even getting my daughter to look at me in the eye, but I found one thing that really, really helped was having staring contest. I would have staring contest with her all the time. My other family members would have staring contest, friends, other kids would say, "Okay, it's a staring contest. You have to stare for 12 seconds, 15 seconds, as long as you can stare." Doing this and making it kind of a game initially made her really more confident in looking at somebody. She didn't have this issue wherein she had to kind of look around. She was very happy staring straight at somebody's face, looking right at them while she was having a conversation.

What's another thing that we normally do when we say hello to somebody or we meet somebody? We greet them. Well, we've already got the eye thing done. If your toddler is looking somebody in the eyes down and they can do that, the next thing they need to know how to do is how to properly say hello with a good handshake. A handshake is a nice way to, one, greet somebody, and also to let them know that they are important, and also to let your toddlers know the importance of their handshake. You wanna teach them a nice, firm handshake, a nice welcomed greeting, a warm greeting to whomever they're greeting. And the way I did this is just teaching it with a little web game.

I taught my daughter that with the web of my hand and the web of her hand, the proper handshake was done if those two webs touch. So she practiced. She actually would sit there and practice shaking her own hand, but she also practiced shaking my hand. And then I noticed when we’d go out, and I’d introduce her to somebody, and I'd say, "Honey, can you shake their hand? Can you say hello?" she now had the eye contact down. Although she still looked a little shy, she may have been blushing a little bit in the cheeks, she was able to say hello looking directly at the person. And then when she go to shake their hand, she gave them a nice, firm handshake. And that really shows her that she's got the confidence within her, and it also shows people that she's middle-ish. [SP] She's was a confident, young girl.

So the last thing that we can do, we went over the greeting, the handshakes, we also went over eye contact. The last thing is the conversation itself. A lot of toddlers maybe don't know how to have conversation. They wait to be asked a question or they just ask the question, "Nope. Okay, now what do I do?" You need to teach your toddler that conversation is questions back and forth. Conversation means engaging with somebody else and being interested in what that other person also has to say back. So the way I did this is we have a little game. We use this little ball. It's this little kind of pink squishing ball that she's had forever. And we used this in a million games, the quiet game, the talking game, all sorts of game.

But anyways, for this game with conversation, all it is is the person holding the ball has to ask a question, and then the person who isn't holding the ball has to answer the question, and then the ball is passed to that person. So you go back and forth holding the ball, and you ask questions and you answer. And you'll notice as you start to play this game really on a daily basis with your child, they'll get better and better at kind of expanding the conversation while they have the ball and also while they're answering the questions. And before you know it, you and your toddler have had a 5 to 10-minute conversation, and it's all because of the ball. No, but it really, really will work, and it'll really help them when they get to the social areas that they will be in in regards to school, out on a playground, at birthday parties. Regardless of what it is, your child will feel much more comfortable in those surroundings when they are confident within themselves that they know how to speak to people, they know how to greet people, and they know how to make other people feel welcomed by them.

So those are a couple of tips for you, guys. I hope you take them home. And also, hey, if you guys have any tips for me or any additional tips to add to this video, please reach out to us on Bow-Tiger or, of course, on any of our social media. You can certainly add to the video. I'll definitely mention it later in another video. We always love to get your input on any of the video blogs that we're doing. And speaking of that, if you're watching this blog on Facebook or YouTube, please make sure to check out our other blogs on And as always, we'll see you next week. Thanks, guys.


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