Have you tried to calm a crying child, or soothe your inconsolable toddler? Finding ways to comfort an upset child is difficult.
Just put yourself in your child’s shoes. The world is a big and confusing place for them. Even though they can talk, they are still learning to express their thoughts and feelings, and it can be very frustrating for them if they cannot tell you why they’re upset or what they need.
Crying is very a normal developmental growth. In fact, it is necessary in all children.
My daughter is almost 4 now. Today, her little sister accidentally made a mess with her paw patrol cards, and she lost it. She started bawling. While it may seem like an insignificant thing to us, it was not little to her. In fact, it was a large problem to her because she had immaculately arranged her cards in matching order and now they are haphazardly strewn all over the floor. Hence, all Hell broke loose.
Besides understanding why toddler throw tantrums and learning how to prevent tantrums, we as parents should also be prepared to calm an inconsolable child. Here are some things that you can do to help comfort your crying child.
Children can sense our emotions. When they are flustered, it is important for us to stay calm or you will make the crying worse. Take a deep breath, and when you are ready, try some of the following ways to calm them.
Hug your child and just stay silent
Sometimes they just need to cry it out loud. This is their way to let out their emotions. By hugging them, it tells them that you still care for them and love them even though you are not saying anything. Create an environment of love and comfort. Your child will stop crying eventually.
Take your toddler out for a walk
Perhaps your child just needs to breathe in some fresh air and a change in scenery will help.
Acknowledge their feelings and ask what you can do
Assure your child that you hear them, and a phrase as simple as “what can I do to make it better?” works wonders. It shows that you care as a parent, and that you are trying to work things out with them. Sometimes your child just needs a little guidance from you.
Distract your child with a brain game
I have used this trick a few times. When we ask a child to think, the brain functioning moves from the emotional side of the brain to the logical side of the brain. For example, if you child is crying, do something totally different and dramatic, like jumping up and down, then try asking him to count the number of blocks that are in front of him, or ask him to point out the things that are red color in the room. Literally, just ask your toddler to do anything that requires brain work. Keep it simple though so your child can feel a sense of accomplishment. Your child will slowly calm down as he follows your instructions or questions, and soon he will stop sobbing.
Remember to always use positive parenting phrases even if you’re feeling flustered.
- I love you. You are safe here.
- Can you tell me more about it?
- Can you help me understand why you are crying?
- Would you like to take a break/ try again?
- That’s ok. Let’s come up with a solution together.
- I will be right here when you want to talk about it.
Do not say “don’t cry” or “stop crying” because they will not work. Your toddler will think that you do not understand how they feel, and they will cry even louder. By telling your toddler to stop crying, you’re also indirectly invalidating their feelings. As parents, no matter how hard it is, we should try to support our little ones by helping them with emotional self-regulation. This is something that we can only do if we create a safe place for them to express their emotions and treat them with empathy and understanding.
What are some of the ways that you have used to comfort your crying child? Share your comments below!
Want to understand why toddler throw tantrums? Check out my other post on the 8 reasons that could impact your child’s behavior that leads to tantrums.