If you follow my Instagram account, you will know that the last few weeks have been challenging to say the least! Since turning 18 months, Archie has been incredibly emotional and is crying way more than before. Out of frustration, anger, separation anxiety and probably lots of other reasons that I’ll never know. Speaking to lots of my mummy friends, it seems to be very common at this age so I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learnt along the way for dealing with an emotional toddler.
- Be understanding – it’s important to remember that most of a toddler’s frustration stems from two things:
– Their inability to clearly communicate what they want/ what’s annoying them
– The fact that they don’t understand (what you’re telling them and why)
So as much as dealing with an emotional toddler will really test your patience, try to be as understanding as you can and communicate with them, rather than just getting annoyed.
- Offer comfort – I know some people feel you should ignore the tears and wait for your toddler to calm down before approaching them. And if they’re physically lashing out then I think this is totally understandable. But if not, a hug and some gentle words might be all they need to feel a bit better.
- Give explanations – Rather than just tell your toddler off or say no, try to explain why you are doing so. It won’t be an instant fix but eventually they might understand why and it will help build a connection between cause and effect.
- Provide a distraction – This is probably our most effective method with Archie – finding a different toy to play with, making up silly games with a toy, singing songs etc. – is a good way of distracting them from the original problem.
- Routine – If you have a good routine then your toddler will know what to expect and this should help to alleviate some of the problems. I also find if Archie is well napped/ slept (and fed!) then his mood is considerably better than if he hasn’t.
- Give them a little bit of independence – A lot of a toddler’s frustration is because of a lack of control in so many situations e.g. when they eat, what they eat, where you go etc. So allowing them a bit of independence in the right circumstances can help them to feel a bit more in control. For example, Archie enjoys helping me around the house so I always try and involve him where I can by asking if he’d like to help me, such as folding the laundry away, putting his shoes away, getting the changing mat out. It’s obviously his choice whether he wants to help me or not but most of the time I find he wants to and he enjoys the praise I give him afterwards.
- Get fresh air – Where possible, it’s good for both you and your toddler to get out into the fresh air at least once a day. Usually I like Archie to have at least a good hour or so in the garden to give him a good run around and I find it massively helps his mood.
- Be kind to yourself – This one is so important because dealing with an emotional toddler can be really hard. Take help where you can so you can have a break. It will give you time to reset, gain some perspective and you’ll probably be much more patient and understanding afterwards.