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Dealing with your child's emotions

There's a period of time between the ages of two and three that a toddler begins to develop their language and speaking skills. Tackling such a huge step as this results in the child acting more independently, and sharing their thoughts and opinions on, well, everything.

At this point in time, toddlers begin to test their limitations. As they develop, the more you will hear, "I do it," or something rather similar in your everyday conversations. They may want to tie their own shoes, pick their own clothing, or decide what they'll eat for dinner. Along with this newfound independence comes the wonderful word, "no." Anything of slight displeasure will cause your toddler to use this word and sometimes they'll use it just because.

These are the times that you'll need to learn how to navigate your child's expression of their emotions and try to do so with as much empathy and compassion as you can. All sorts of new emotions will come trickling in and as they struggle to put the right word to how their feeling, frustration mounts and will lead to meltdowns at times.

Children may be embarrassed to go potty with other people present, feel guilt if they do something wrong - which may manifest as anger - or be excited when they accomplish something new. All the complex emotions these events bring with them will have your child's moods swinging back and forth at breakneck speed.

Try these tips to help you navigate this age group:

  • Don't force them to compromise ALL the time. At some points, there just won't be a compromise. Pick your battles. If they want to wear their snow boots in the summer, sometimes you just have to let them.

  • Discuss their feelings and help them develop coping strategies that will work for them. Perhaps they can read a book, have quiet time by themselves or practice counting.

  • Share your own feelings as well, and help the child name them, so you can better understand them in the future.

  • Be patient. This is not an easy process for them either.

  • Practice self-control. You may feel frustration and anger, but try to empathize with your child, they're struggling.

  • Don't make a bigger issue. Creating another problem won't solve the one at hand.


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