Learn how to navigate the challenges of parenting toddlers with these effective tips and strategies
Parenting toddlers can be challenging, but it’s important to keep in mind that their brains do not have the capacity for self-control. As a parent, you play a crucial role in guiding your child and providing them with unconditional love and approval of their intrinsic worth. Here are some principles and strategies to help you better parent your toddler.
Focus on Connection
To manage your child’s mood and behavior, it’s crucial to establish a rapport and connection with them. You can do this by playing with them, communicating comfort with loving touch, validating their feelings, listening to them, and reflecting what you hear. Additionally, it’s important to talk their emotional brain through difficult situations and give them words to describe their experiences, empathize with their perspective, and redirect them to options or coping strategies.
Give Power and Choice
It’s also important to give your child power and choice, which is called “feeding the meter.” This helps to build their sense of independence and confidence, and prevents bad tantrums as toddlers have an inferiority complex and act out more when they feel powerless. Try to appeal to your child’s “downstairs brain” by redirecting their attention to something new, interesting, or funny. Engage with their “upstairs brain” by asking questions, giving them space and time to do what you’re asking, and tailoring your parenting methods to their specific capacity and threshold.
Understand the Causes of Tantrums
Tantrums often result from hunger, loneliness, tiredness, excess energy, or overstimulation. When your child has a tantrum, it’s important to validate their feelings and needs, give them the words to describe what they’re feeling, and redirect them to options. Additionally, it’s important to help them feel felt by acknowledging their emotions and offering comfort and support. Determine why they behaved that way, what lesson needs to be taught, and when the best time to teach it is (not during the tantrum).
Internalize Love and Approval
It’s important to love your child even when they are at their worst, so they can love themselves. Treat them how you want them to automatically feel toward themselves, as the way you behave toward them will shape their future interactions with others. Foster their healthy tendencies for exploration and avoid being too directive. Most importantly, make sure your child knows that you love them no matter what.
Parenting toddlers can be challenging, but by focusing on connection, giving power and choice, understanding the causes of tantrums, and internalizing love and approval, you can help guide your child and provide them with the unconditional love they need to develop a healthy sense of self.