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Crocodile tears? Tired tears? Or something more? Whatever the reason for your child’s outburst, toddler tears can be difficult for parents to know how to handle correctly. Children enter the world vulnerable and they require the care of others to strive so you want to make sure you know what to do with a crying toddler. An article published on Time.com notes that tears serve a purpose other than just raising your blood pressure and can actually help to trigger bonding and connection between parent and child. So next time your toddler cries out, make sure you know these 5 simple steps to cope with their tears.
Evaluate Physical Condition
Are they hurt? Tired? Hungry? In need of a nap? Often tears are a result of a physical condition that children have no vocabulary to express. Headaches, stomachaches, and gum pain can all manifest in tears. Did she eat something that isn’t agreeing with her? Did she play in the sun too long? When was his last dentist appointment? And yes, toddlers need teeth cleanings, even for their baby set of teeth. According to Springs Pediatric Dental Care, a pediatric dental office in Colorado Springs, “Even if your child brushes and flosses correctly, they still need the “teeth cleaning” they receive in our office. Removing plaque is essential to preserving teeth since plaque build up on and between the teeth, which only a professional can completely remove.”
Your toddler will learn with time, and as their vocabulary and experiences expand, to express themselves. For now sometimes you will need to do sleuth work to figure it out what is going on with them.
Tears are a natural part of being human so telling a child to stop crying is a fruitless and only frustrating directive both for the parent and the child. In order to model healthy emotions, teach your kids that crying is a natural part of one’s life and tears can result from happy or sad occasions. Just try not to judge or freak out when your toddler starts or won’t quit crying (and they will) just start teaching them that you believe tears are a healthy part of human life.
Once you have determined that your child is not in physical pain think about other causes that could be triggering this event. Stress can play a large role in tears and being over-stimulated by too much activity or television can cause a young child to feel overwhelmed, stimulate tears and a real crying session. Getting angry or stressed out with them will only heighten tension all around for everyone. Commit to staying calm and remind yourself that tears are a natural part of the human condition and that emotions come and go.
Think about what the source of the tears could be. Often asking your toddler to communicate or to answer questions such as “What’s wrong?” or “Why are you crying?” will not get to the heart of the matter. Your toddler might not have the vocabulary to express herself well and interrogating them while they are in the middle of a crying fest will only frustrate the both of you. Instead, acknowledge their feelings by saying things like ” I see you are really upset” or “Sometimes a good cry will help you feel better.”
Don’t use rewards
As a parent, it is natural to want the tears to stop right away and help your toddler. When your child was an infant, your job was to decode his or her tears and then respond accordingly. In a way, your baby has trained you even before your attempts to train him. Often parents fall into the trap of using a treat or a snack in order to distract their child from his or her tears but this behavior can teach toddlers that their tears can get them what they want. Avoid handing your toddler these easy tools of manipulation. and encourage your toddler to ask for help by saying something like, “When you are finished crying we can talk about what you need.”
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