Parenting Toddlers: 3 Tips to Help Survive the Difficult Toddler Years by Roma Khetarpal
Between 1 and 3 years old, toddlers learn at an incredible rate. Not only are they learning to walk and talk, but they are also learning about their emotions and realizing they can do things apart from their parents. They become more aware of their place in the world. They are developing their own identity and, in a way, are experiencing “separation anxiety.”
The problem is that toddlers don’t have the vocabulary to communicate all these feelings, and therefore tend to throw tantrums as well as objects. Built-up emotions and the lack of being able to express them through words triggers tantrums and what we call “bad” behavior.
It’s frustrating for sure, yet when we show our own frustrations with our kids by yelling and spanking, all we are doing is letting them know that we don’t understand them and that we aren’t paying attention. They get more upset, we get more upset and we chalk it all up to the terrible twos.
When we understand that our children are in a deep state of learning – without the necessary communication skills – we can begin to embrace the wonder of the toddler years. How?
- Show understanding. This might mean holding your child close and whispering, “I’m here for you” or “I will help you through this.” The only help that they need is your presence and full-on acceptance. When we resist their behavior, we isolate them further.
- Build their emotional vocabulary. Ask your toddlers if they are hurt or angry or hungry or tired. Get to the bottom of why they are lashing out. It might be something simple that they can’t express.
- Give them quiet space. If you have tried all of the above and your toddler is still throwing a fit, so be it. Allow him or her to weather the emotional storm. Emotions create varying frequencies of energy within our body, and if these are not given a chance to pass through our systems, they will park themselves deep within, only to surface later. If your toddlers are OK with your holding them, do so in silence, both internally and externally.
The toddler years may seem long, but they go by very quickly. Watch your youngsters closely and learn to see the world as they do. Commit to simply being there for them.
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