Trouble With Your Toddler

Toddler tantrums

By Karen Doherty, Parenting and Family Expert

Do you want to say hasta la vista to toddler troubles? Whether you want to terminate tantrums or simply prevent them, Sarah Ockwell-Smith tells us how in her new book ToddlerCalm. Sarah, who offers some of the best advice I’ve seen on babies, emphasises the importance of understanding and empathising with toddlers so that they feel loved and supported. We talk more about this in my video.

Here is Sarah’s Common S-E-N-S-E approach to coping with toddler tantrums. Simple but very helpful, this acronym and the ideas it encompasses are a godsend for parents:

  • Safety
    When your toddler is acting-up your number one priority is to ensure that they are safe.
  • Empathy
    Once you’ve ensured they’re safe, try to listen and empathise with your child and try to understand why they are behaving this way.
  • Name
    It helps your child to gain a better understanding of how they are feeling if you can name their emotions. “You must be really angry/sad/disappointed/annoyed/frustrated.”
  • Support
    As parents it is our job to support our children whilst they are struggling with their emotions. This can be in the form of a hug or simply listening.
  • Exchange
    Offer your toddler a more acceptable choice such as, “I know you’d like to stay up and play, but if you go to bed now there will be time for a story.”

Here are more nuggets from Sarah:

  1. Communicate at your toddler’s level – bend down and hug them. A hug is a communication tool that says ‘I love you’. It’s vital that they feel loved and looked after.
  2. Use play to enable your toddler to release emotions and communicate.
  3. Spend time together talking, reading or playing. This is particularly important if they have a new sibling and will help with any sibling rivalry.
  4. Try to act the way you want your child to act. If you stop and think and stay calm, then the likelihood is that your child will too.

This is just a sample of the great advice Sarah offers. It really is gold dust and will help you to support your toddler through any difficult stages.

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