Dealing with anxious toddlers is difficult because toddlers are ten times worse than ordinary babies who have tantrums. They have anxiety issues in potty training, eating, listening, and obeying. Toddlers easily meltdown all the time, and that’s because they are so emotional. They don’t know how to control their feelings.
According to Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD, “Some kids experience anxiety more than others. About 15-20% of kids are born with a more anxious temperament (the amygdala part of their brains are more reactive to novel stimuli from the start).”
As a parent, you will want to do everything to help your child. However, Clark Goldstein, PhD points out, “When children are chronically anxious, even the most well-meaning parents can fall into a negative cycle and, not wanting a child to suffer, actually exacerbate the youngster’s anxiety. It happens when parents, anticipating a child’s fears, try to protect her from them.”
So how do you parent an anxious toddler? Let’s talk about the tips I’m going to share. Here are some broad strokes that are important for you to remember when it comes to parenting.
Teach Them To Express Their Feelings
Toddlers can’t express feelings just like that. Even if you think you know your kid, you don’t. Also, although they have a fantastic vocabulary and can directly tell people what’s on their mind, it doesn’t mean they can already figure out their anxious emotions. As a parent, you can teach them how to express their feelings so they won’t get used to melting down.
Encourage Them To Fight Fears
Letting your toddlers handle stressful situations is good. However, it doesn’t mean you have to throw them into things and expect them to do it when you tell them to. That way, instead of helping kids achieve stable mental and emotional states, you’re only adding pressure and stress. Alternatively, let them discover the things that scare them, provided that you’re going to guide them along the way. You have to be there with them and show them how it’s supposed to get done.
“All too often we teach kids to take deep breaths and to get their “minds off their worries” instead of teaching them how to defeat those thoughts,” explained Natasha Daniels, LCSW. “Distraction only go so far. Parents need to get to the root of the worry and pull out that weed.”
Let Them Explore Their Feelings
It’s usual for some parents to become over-accommodating, but it doesn’t help at all. It only enables toddlers’ anxiety throughout their behavioral, emotional, and mental development. When you don’t allow them to experience agitation, anger, and pain, they will have a difficult time differentiating it from other emotions. Don’t stop them from learning just because you are too afraid that they might get hurt. They need to understand that sooner or later, they will eventually experience the challenges in life.
Acknowledge Their Emotions
When you tell toddlers to get up there and stand on their own, you’re not doing the right thing. You might think that it’s helpful in teaching your child independence, but it’s not. It will only make them feel pushed and feel betrayed. In fact, when you ask toddlers the things that scare them, what gets them mad, and what makes them sad, they won’t be able to answer it in detail. They will have problems connecting their experiences with those questions. As a parent, you need to acknowledge their emotions and know their capabilities as well.
With sensitive and anxious toddlers, the emotions are uncontrollable. The sooner they can tell you that they feel scared, sad, and angry, the more significant changes you can figure out what to do. These tips are not exactly mind-blowing, but all of these are important in handling your baby properly. Do not risk your child’s overall health. Show them the importance of getting out from their comfort zone, and be there to assist them with their needs.
Can the generation today still say “I had an awesome childhood?” If we look at the kids, do we even see the happiness they are supposed to be getting from their youth or are they prisoner of what we call the modern world? Yes, the advancement of technology is a good leap for humanity. There are tons of things that can be done easier by using it, but like everything else, its excessive use can be damaging as well.
Many of us, parents, think that it is okay to argue or fight in front of our children, especially when they are still young. We believe that they do not understand what we talk about, but we are wrong. Notice how smart infants and toddlers are. They are similar to a sponge that absorbs everything around them. They can quickly tell what the emotions are related to the tone of our voice or our facial expressions.
With the advancement of technology today, it is difficult to keep away our children from it. There are tons of apps that are available for them to access. They can download it from Google Play for Android and App Store for iOS. There is a way to turn this technology to our advantage when it comes to raising our kids. We could download games and apps to help our children learn numbers, shapes, colors, sizes, alphabets, phonetics, and many more.
Parents could relate to hearing “Tell me a story” before bedtime. It is never too old or boring for kids to listen to a story of adventure and fantasy from mom and dad. It is, in fact, a great way to bond and develop comprehensive skill, vocabulary, and imagination of the kids.
One of the most exciting feelings we could ever experience is awaiting a new-born baby’s arrival at home. Everyone in the family must be ready and thrilled to see and touch your angel. The grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives are all lining up to find out from whom your baby got his eyes and lips.
Are you confused with what to feed your toddler? Are you have a difficult time knowing the kinds of food that they can eat? Do you have any questions when it comes to your kid’s eating habits? Do you want to learn how to do it the right way? If yes, then consider yourself lucky because we have decided to come up with a list of practical suggestions for all moms out there.
We understand that caring for a toddler is not an easy thing to do. There are lots of challenges that come up, especially when it comes to feeding a toddler. Check this for the list of suggestions to follow:
- Always Go For Healthy Options
Obviously, you need to make an effort to ensure that your kid follows a healthy lifestyle. Start early by training him to enjoy eating vegetables. Avoid food products known for being high in fat or cholesterol. At the same time, do not buy baby food items that have too many preservatives. Go for those that are rich in vitamins.
- Make Mealtimes Pleasant
Find the perfect time to feed your toddler. It is necessary that you make his mealtime relaxing on his part. This is an excellent way of making him interested in eating his food. Try to eliminate distractions when he is eating. Otherwise, he will end up ignoring you or the food that you want him to consume. If your kid has a low appetite, try to use fun utensils to get his attention.
- Set A Schedule
The next thing to do is to make it a habit to feed your kid at a particular time every day. Develop a system so that everything will become easier on your part. To determine the perfect schedule, you may need to find out what is the sleeping time of your toddler in the morning as well as in the afternoon. Be sure to take your time in choosing the right schedule to avoid making mistakes.
- Go For Small Portions
One of the most significant errors that most parents make is thinking that their toddlers want to eat a lot. Well, this is a misconception because kids with ages 1-4 are not big eaters. They may be picky regarding the food intake, but they will always consume only a small amount of food served. For this reason, it now becomes necessary for you to always go for smaller portions whenever you would feed them.
- Avoid Sweets
While your child is still at a tender age, it is highly recommended to train him in avoiding sweets. It is significant to point out that sugar can lead to severe illnesses such as diabetes. It can also trigger some medical complications. Because of these, you need to be extra careful in planning the meals for your toddler. Keep them away from chocolates and candies.
Take your toddler’s mealtime a particular bonding moment for both of you. Make every moment count. Remember that time flies fast. Before you know it, your two-year-old has already transitioned into a teenager.
Parents are always concerned about their child’s welfare; thus, they should be aware of some of the most common diseases affecting children.
Expect common colds to happen up to five times a year. The standard remedy for cold is to treat mild fever, congestion, cough and sore throat with plenty of fluids and rest. Certain drugs bought over the counter like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can aid in the management of fever. Always follow the direction carefully and seek your child’s pediatrician if the child is less than six months old. According to pediatricians, parents should avoid giving cough and cold medicines. The dosage is frequently confusing and can lead to an overdose, and the effectiveness is debatable. Use a saline spray to provide moisture in nasal passageways and aspirator to evacuate excess mucus. A cool-mist humidifier can help in congestion. Expected recovery is five to 7 days.
As a mom, I also have issues with my child for being so stubborn. He always makes himself free of any consequences because he knows I can entirely lose control over his unhappy reactions. I admit, I often fall in his trap because I have so much faith in him that he will change for the better. However, a kid will always be a kid. Somehow it makes me think, is he really under four years old because he seems to know what exactly he wants. He is an expert in manipulation because there is no way he can end up paying for his misbehaviors.
But as soon as I try and observe the ways of my kid, I begin to understand things. Positive parenting is not always about following a perfect disciplinary plan and action. Sometimes, as parents, all we need is a considerable amount of compassion and empathy for our little ones. With that mentality, I can say I now have a better version of my kid. So how did I do it? Here’s how.
Tips And Guidelines
- I was not able to notice that too many activities made my kid feel exhausted all the time. I was not aware that it is the number one reason for his stubbornness. After knowing that, I created a routine that helped in lifting his physical, emotional, and mental strength. I incorporated lots of sleep and regular meal time on his schedules. I made sure he exercise and play outside, as well. Soon after the changes, I noticed my kid’s positive behavior towards different tasks. He now has focus and motivation. He now listens to opinions and is open to suggestions. “It increases their sense of security because they know what’s coming next,” says Jean M. Thomas, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Washington, D.C. “The more secure toddlers feel, the more they can focus on things like learning, exploring, and playing.”
- Engaging in an argument with a kid is one of the most distressing things that can happen in a household. That is because children know they are kids; there is the persistence of getting what they want. In the case of my kid, I gave him what he wants. However, I made sure always to provide two choices. This type of strategy made my child think about his demands thoroughly. He became more focused on thinking about positive consequences instead of the negative ones. Choosing between two options made him realized to decide between two things only. That is to have something, and not to have anything at all. “It is a good idea for parents to change their behavior first and not wait until the child does what the parent wants.” Kyle D. Pruett M.D. wrote.
- After I realized that I was not able to provide quality time with my child, I began to change terms with my priorities. I engaged in a meaningful conversation with my kid and made sure there is a warm connection between us. I made sure that his concerns are well-answered and that his demands are well-acknowledge. I made sure that his good deeds are appreciated. “Kids tend to open up a little bit more when there’s not a direct eye contact,” says Megan A. Mooney, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and president elect at the Texas Psychological Association in Cedar Park, Texas. Soon after that, my kid began to love working with other people. He showed compassion toward other people’s incapability to do things. He became helpful and considerate of other’s needs.
Sometimes, we parents do not often see that our child’s stubbornness is not at all inborn. Usually, it is our fault that our kid turns out like that. So before we judge our child’s actions and behavior towards the things around him, let us evaluate how we are as moms.