Being a Toddler Can Be Frustrating for us all

child-1.jpgLife can be frustrating for children. A child’s brain wants more than the body is capable of achieving, and that limitation is pretty annoying! 


While seeing your child frustrated can be emotional, rest assured that frustration is a completely normal part of growing up – as well as an essential part of development. Toddlers learn through trying things out. Exactly the same as we still do as adults, if something doesn’t work, they need to feel that frustration in order to try something different and move on to the next step. 


We’ve all been there when a toddler got so frustrated that it quickly devolved into the dreaded tantrum. Your toddler might get frustrated because she can’t communicate what she wants. Or because she can communicate what she wants but you’ve told her “No”. Or because she has a clear idea of what she wants, but doesn’t yet have the skills to achieve it (this is my son at the moment). We have the issues when the toast is cut in the wrong shape or the cheese was sliced not grated!

 

You can help in a number of ways (pick one to try when you next need it, depending on your time frame and energy levels!) 

tantrum.jpg

STAND YOUR GROUND. 

When your child is having a tantrum your instinct may sometimes be to give in to her demands and get it over with (especially when you’re out in public). 

But it’s actually best to let the emotions run their course. You don’t want to reinforce the behaviour by giving into it, but you also don’t want to invalidate her feelings by shutting them down. Sometimes we all need a good old cry, so try to remain patient and calm when she is upset. 



NARRATE. 

Sometimes narrating your toddler’s frustration can be helpful.

 For instance “You really wanted that story tonight, but we can’t find it! It was your favourite! I can see that’s making you feel frustrated!” Simple narration can help your child feel understood, which in turn can help calm her down. 



JUST ASK. 

You can also check in with your child to see what she needs. Try asking “Do you want some time alone, or would you like a hug?” That simple compassion can work wonders. I’m all for a hug when I get frustrated!


Tantrums can be overwhelming, sending parents into panic mode. Just remember – the frustration underlying those tantrums is a really good thing, it’s helping them learn to deal with things progress!