Their big emotions can be overwhelming to them AND us!
But, it’s important to teach them that all emotions are welcome in your home; but not all behaviors necessarily are.
I do believe education about toddler behavior can help parents reframe when their toddler is having a tantrum.
Toddlers are fascinating to me and teaching them about emotions is an important step. One of the reasons toddlers have epic meltdowns is that their developing brains are capable of very intense emotions BUT they don’t yet have the skills to learn to process those feelings.
Mantra: All emotions are welcome in our home, but not all behaviors are.
What does this mean? It means, we absolutely welcome our children to FEEL: to be upset, to be happy, and to experience the full spectrum of human emotions. But, we guide them when they hit, throw, or kick to teach them how to process those big feelings.
No feelings are bad. All feelings are part of being human.
Tools to utilize
An important part of teaching our kiddos about feelings is to show them what feelings are. I recommend starting to label emotions as early as infancy. As soon as your infant starts mimicking your facial expressions and sounds, start labeling emotions. As they get older into the toddler years, continue to verbalize, verbalize, verbalize. “I see you are frustrated.” “I see you are happy!” “I see you are angry because X,Y,or Z.”
Also, this labeling helps with language development in toddlerhood! By seeing your face and hearing a word, they’re more likely to mimic these words. You can use books to demonstrate various facial expressions with your child.
By understanding WHAT they are feeling, our toddlers can better learn to process it. And, by being open to their feelings, we as adults see them for what they are and can better guide them through coping skills.
Remember, by teaching them this, we model that all emotions are normal.