From newborns to adulthood, crying is a release of emotion that is perfectly healthy and natural. Newborn babies are solely dependant on their parents and crying is their only form of communication. As such, there are a myriad of things they may be trying to communicate with different cries.
As they get older, the reasons for crying in toddlers and young children will change. Sometimes, it can be frustrating to deal with constant tears and tantrums, particularly if you have more than one child.
As parents, we need to understand the source of frustration and emotions our little ones are going through to best decide how we can soothe them and provide them with the reassurance they need.
- Understand why they are crying
All too often you hear about how well behaved your child is at school, at nana’s place or with anyone else but you. Take that as a huge compliment. Your child loves you so much that he knows he is safe with you, and will let all those big feelings he has pent up flow freely in the safety of your devotion. Children find it very difficult to regulate their emotions. It’s confusing and it frightens them so it’s only natural that they need to feel safe to feel them completely.
- Empathise on their level
It’s so easy to forget that your little’s person’s world is still so small. Giving them the wrong coloured cup at breakfast time in their world is almost the same as missing an important deadline in your world. Try to understand what is causing them to feel the way they do. Physically get down to their level and show them you care.
- Build trust
One of my favourite parenting quotes is from author Catherine M Wallace. She says,
“If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
By having an open dialogue with your children from a young age, you set the foundation of a trusting relationship. They will learn that they can come to you with whatever big feelings they have and they will be heard.
- Encourage problem solving
Whilst you need to respond to your child’s emotions, try not to jump in and fix every issue. Children crave independence and resilience is a skill to be teach like any other. Once you have listened to your child and calmed them down, give them an opportunity to solve their own issues by asking leading questions.
- Look after yourself
Children are very observant and capable of sensing if you’re not ok. It’s so important to look after yourself so that you can be the best parent for your child. Raising a child is hard work. Do what you need to fill your cup and remain calm. What better way to teach your kids than to manage your own emotions in a healthy way?