All about crying and toddlers
In the one to two year old most crying is due to emotional disturbance: to fear, anxiety, separation, deprivation of her parents and parental love.
Crying due to insecurity
- The best way of coping with these anxieties is to give your toddler extra affection and, while doing this, to encourage your toddler to be curious and adventurous, and to have a growing sense of self-confidence. Praise and reward each feat, each new achievement. Your toddler requires your approbation and will do almost anything to get it, including showing off her new independence, so it really is quite easy to encourage her.
- A child who is securely attached to at least one of her parents (mother or father) uses that parent as a base from which to explore, and will go on to explore confidently. Much research has shown the importance of the presence of the person with whom the child has a secure attachment enables her to cope with new, possibly fearful, experiences and with the accompanying anxiety.
Crying due to fear of separation
- Never be scornful of fears and always try to be sympathetic and supportive. Reassure your child, more by actions than by words, that you are to be trusted and relied upon. If you say you will come back in half an hour, do so. If you say you are just going into the next room, go no further. If you say you will pop back in five minutes to check on a game, do so. One of your baby's greatest sources of confidence is that she can trust you.
- In your attempts at sympathy and reliability do your best not to be over-protective. This will only curb your child's adventurous spirit, and stop her from building up self-confidence.
Crying due to frustration
- Try to be patient. The best form of support you can give is your help. Help with the painting; help with building a tower of blocks; help with climbing; help to make sand castles; help to prop up soldiers or farmyard animals. If the frustration at her inability causes crying, you can easily distract your child into another favourite game.
- If she gets frustrated when she tries to copy older children's games, or tries to do something that an older child can do easily, suggest that you play a game together that you know she can physically cope with. While it's important for your toddler to try new things, and to continue trying when she doesn't immediately succeed, too many defeats could have a retrogressive effect.
- Don't be drawn into battles with your toddler - whether they're over using the potty or eating a certain food. She'll want to assert her independence and, where possible, respect this and don't force the issue. Let her decide whether she wants to use the potty, and don't worry if she wants only to eat green beans and ice cream. A calm acceptance of facts is better than arguing.
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