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Whether you are new to toddler parenting or an experienced parent of toddlers, you know that dealing with toddler emotions is a huge part of the job. For having such little bodies, toddlers can have BIG emotions. Unfortunately, these big emotions have often given toddlers a bad reputation among parents. The phrase “the terrible twos” is still in common usage, even though many of us (including myself) don’t really care for it.
Most of the reputation about toddlers and their development has to do with a lot of misunderstanding. Many parents tend to view toddlers with the same lens they view adults. Adults generally act in rational ways, with reasonably well-thought-out plans and have at least some control over the emotional reactions. Toddlers, on the other hand, really haven’t developed any of these skills. They have only been on the planet for a few years! Many times they do not act rationally, they haven’t developed many planning skills or emotional regulation. Thus, the challenge in parenting a toddler is trying to see the world a little more through their eyes. A challenge, for sure, but not impossible.
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Toddler Emotions: Research Parents Can Use
Toddler emotions can change on a dime! I know many of us have seen this in our own kids. After years of parenting and researching this topic, the best piece of advice I continue to hear is “be the calm in their storm.” If we, as parents, can learn to be “unruffled” (as Janet Lansbury describes it) in the midst of our toddlers’ tantrums and big emotions, they will learn self-regulation sooner.
Research we can really use! Child development research has shown the best ways for dealing with toddler tantrums and it’s probably not what you think.
Need help with how to handle toddler tantrums? Research to the rescue!
This is another fascinating study that considers the role of language in how toddlers develop self-regulation. As you might expect, there are some interesting differences by gender.
Another part of understanding toddler emotions is learning about the development of empathy. The development of emotional intelligence in toddlers is a common question among parents and this research gives great insight.
Toddler Growth Spurts and Development
One aspect of toddler development we often overlook is toddler growth spurts. Growth spurts in toddlers can really influence their behavior, their moods, sleeping and eating patterns. Understanding a bit about these growth spurts, when they occur and their effect on toddlers can help parents tremendously.
Learn how to identify the signs of a toddler growth spurt and ways to cope with the behavior that comes with it.
If your toddler is suddenly acting differently or more erratic than usual, this article can help. This article helps us see how a growth spurt might be influencing your toddler’s behavior.
Toddler Development Toys and Play
As Fred Rogers said, “play is the work of childhood.” Play may look frivolous to us, but in reality, it is how most of the learning in early childhood happens. For that reason, the toys our toddlers play with really matter. These articles focus on open-ended toys that foster learning and creativity.
Once again research shows us that simple toys are still the best. Learn about how this brain-boosting type of play is still great for toddlers.
A curated collection of toys that toddlers actually love (as tested by my kids and many others!) and will not get pushed aside after only one use.
Play builds real skills! Tips for using play to engage toddlers’ minds and help them learn valuable skills.
Thriving as a parent during the toddler years isn’t impossible. With a little research knowledge, some positive parenting tips and a lot of patience, you can feel confident to help your toddler through their developmental ups and downs.