Toddlers. Little people with giant emotions that aren’t always able to be regulated, toddlers know how to tell you what they want even if they don’t have any words yet! The world and life is frustrating for a toddler and it’s difficult for them to understand the world when they are so much smaller than everyone else. Their emotions are many and they’re overwhelming, and as their parents, it’s up to you to ensure that they can feel good about how they feel.
Some toddlers show signs of frustration far longer than others, especially when they can’t talk yet. During speech therapy for kids, your toddler can learn how to better talk about how they are feeling, but one thing that is very common with every toddler is that when they get told “no” to something, they will let you know that they are angry! Toddlers are very overwhelmed by their emotions, and tantrums, loud laughing and yelling are how they can get their point across. With this in mind, we’ve got five ways to help your frustrated toddler.
- It’s Normal. Before you do anything, you need to know that frustration is normal in a toddler. Just like us, they feel sadness, anger, annoyance – all of the human emotional range is felt in a tiny body, and that can be difficult for a parent to get their head around. Toddlers need to feel their feelings, including frustration, and you won’t be able to always make things better. Know that their feelings are normal; even when it doesn’t feel that way! The worst thing a parent could do is get angry at their child for feeling their feelings. It’s not shameful for a toddler to feel, so make sure that you don’t make them feel that way.
- Be Close. When your child is having a tantrum or feeling angry, they will scream, shout and throw things. They may even lash out and hit (psst, it’s normal!). What you can do is stay close. Some toddlers like to be held when they are angry and others want to be left alone. Be close by and wait for them to come to you. Time out and “naughty steps” can only make your child feel isolated at a time where they need you to help them to deal with their emotions.
- Give Them A Chance. Toddlers are usually screaming if there is a specific reason; hungry, exhaustion, etc., and you can pre-empt this. you can make sure that you are paying attention to their needs. If you can anticipate things that they need, you can ensure that they have a chance to feel their feelings out loud and know that it’s ok.
- Bear With It. As an adult, we are not all programmed to be okay with screaming and crying. Toddlers know how to get right into your brain with screams, but here is where you can practice emotional regulation and calm yourself down. It’s so important that they regulate their emotions, but they can only do that if they see you modelling it.
- Have Patience. It will take time for you to be okay with your toddler throwing a wobble, but once you put yourself in their shoes it’s much easier to be patient. Their brain is an immature one, and you can’t make them grow up faster – give them time and it’ll come.