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How your toddler’s tantrums can help their communication skills

Toddler screaming and pulling at her hair during a tantrum

From the supermarket floor to the world stage … how can helping your toddler with their tantrums make them a better communicator?

Anyone who’s been a parent for more than a few years will tell you kids are very good at communicating without the use of that little thing we grown-ups so often take for granted: language.

They’re not, however, always so great at letting you what it is they’re feeling.

And for parents, recognising what your child wants to tell you – be it a cry for food and for sleep, a shriek of excitement or a look of satisfaction – goes beyond simply meeting their physical needs.

Identifying emotions is one of the most important ways to strengthen the connection you have with your child.

You may have noticed that responding early to a child’s actions can sometimes prevent a tantrum or negative reaction.

It’s not always easy (especially when a million other things are demanding your attention!) but acknowledging how your son or daughter feels is more than worth any time and effort it might take. Not only can it help keep some semblance of peace, it also goes a long way towards developing your child’s communication skills.

Think of it this way: all behaviour is communication.

So when your child reacts with ‘challenging behaviour’, they’re trying to tell you something.

What is your child trying to tell you during a tantrum?

  • Try looking beyond their actions, and get to the root cause – their emotions.
  • What are they trying to communicate to you when they react?
  • How can you respond so they feel as if they’ve been heard?

These, and questions like them, are important ones to ask when trying to understand how your little one is feeling.

Like us adults, when a child feels validated and understood it goes a long way. You’ll find it will strengthen the bond between you, and prepare your child to manage their emotions later in life. That’s what I call a win-win.

If you have any interesting, unique or just plain funny stories about how your child likes to express themselves let me know in the comments section below.

READ: There’s heaps more information for parents of toddlers in our Toddler Info Hub.

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