The Toddlers in our lives are a far more complicated bunch than they would appear. They often talk and act a lot older than their age and sometimes even lull us into a false sense of not only maturity but of emotional understanding and even have us believing their comprehension is more developed than it is. This is totally normal and all part of that Toddler rollercoaster. When expectations are raised above their abilities, you can expect tantrums, meltdowns, aggression, screaming and no doubt tears! We’ve set our little toddlers up for failure. Toddlers can feel like a mystery from one day to the next fighting over which colour plate and tantrumming over what seems like the silliest of things. Today I’ll take one area of communication we as parents can nurture, in an attempt at reducing some of these toddler frustrations and in turn hopefully nurturing some positive behaviors.
Communication; I think the ultimate source of frustration with this age group is communication. What’s the first thing you think of when I say communication? Talking, because they can’t talk or may not have much language yet and you would be right. What’s often forgotten though is communication also includes receptive language. What are they taking in of what you say? This is the one that really fools us parents. More often than not a parent of a toddler, during an In Home or Virtual Behavior consult with me, will say the following about their toddler “they understand everything”. Toddlers could receive Oscars for their amazing performances in understanding. Sometimes they do not take in all the language used in adult sentences but with gestures, routines and body language they get by really well and fool us into thinking “they understand everything”. This is when the “huge tantrum out of nowhere” occurs. So, my advice is…. in a situation you know they find difficult or somewhere they don’t like or don’t want to be, if it’s obvious they are in bad form, straight away reduce your language and cut all your sentences right down. Go from “guess where we’re going to go now? We are going to go to get into the car and go to the playground” to just three words “car and playground?” pair it with an upbeat tone, facials and body language. Never forgetting the age-old tip of stopping and getting down to their level and making eye contact. It’s a classic buts its essential. Remember if you want to be heard, minimize distractions. I don’t hear the full story my husband is telling me while scrolling on Instagram and likewise for a toddler glued to Paw Patrol mid theme song moments away from the big rescue! Therefore, take the necessary precautions to increase your chances of being listened to when you need to be heard. Toddlers don’t need nor understand abstract chitchat. If you are one hundred percent aware that they are a mini grenade about to go off….Reduce and minimize! Think Statements.
Hope this helps make someone’s day easier or even just helps someone understand their toddler a little better.