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As a dad, how can I bond with my toddler daughter?

My two year and two month old is not as close to me as she was when she was a baby. She wants mommy to do everything and she whines or cries if I try and help out. I'm feeling a little left out here, and mom pretty much feels like a single parent lately.

I do work two jobs during the week so I do not see her in the evenings. I want that bond back with my girl. Is it because I didn't do as much as I could have when she was younger? It is driving me crazy. Help!


Elizabeth Walenz | Pediatrician

Elizabeth Walenz

First of all - there is nothing that you did wrong to make your daughter prefer her mother to you. You are working and providing for your family, so you should not feel guilty about your time away from her.

Toddler stage

Toddlers can be fickle and will prefer one parent over the other at different stages. This may just be a stage she is going through and she will flip flop between the two of you over time. 

Special time

When you can spend time with her, such as on weekends, carve out special time with her to do an activity she enjoys.

Ask her what she would like to do with you whether it be read stories, play dolls or have a tea party. Make this a special time for just the two of you. Give mom time to herself - and make this something for just the two of you together.

Letting her select the activity and spending time with her when you can will help you strengthen your relationship.

You sound like a great dad - and your daughter will see in many ways how loved she is by both her parents as she grows. Thanks for your question.

Read more answers by Dr. Walenz