Toddlers are often known for their big emotions and temper tantrums (The terrible twos may spring to mind!). As they navigate the world around them, they are learning how to express themselves and manage their feelings. As parents or caregivers, it’s important to know how to support toddlers with big emotions in a compassionate and understanding way.
We’ve put together a few ways you can support your toddler with their big emotions:
- Acknowledge their feelings. When your toddler is upset, it’s important to acknowledge their feelings and let them know that you understand. You can say things like “I see that you’re feeling angry” or “It’s okay to feel sad.”
- Model calm behaviour. Toddlers often take cues from their parents or caregivers, so it’s important to model calm behavior when they are upset. Take a few deep breaths, speak in a calm tone, and try to remain patient.
- Offer comfort. Offer physical comfort, like a hug or holding their hand, to help toddlers feel more secure and comforted.
- Provide choices. Toddlers like to feel a sense of control, so offer them choices when possible. For example, you can ask them if they want to read a book or play with a toy to help distract them from their big emotions.
- Use positive reinforcement. When a toddler manages their emotions well, praise them and offer positive reinforcement. This can help encourage them to continue practicing good emotional regulation.
- Use distraction. Sometimes, distraction can be a helpful tool for toddlers who are experiencing big emotions. You can offer a favorite toy or activity to help redirect their focus.
- Create a safe space. Designate a special space in your home where your toddler can go when they need to calm down or express their emotions. A cosy corner with soft pillows and blankets is a good example of a safe space.
Remember that managing big emotions is a learning process for toddlers, and for parents and caregivers – but with consistent support and practice, they will get there.
If your little ones are struggling with their emotions at drop-off time, our helpful blog is full of great tips and advice to help manage their emotions.