Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our Passionate Children

I know people call them the "Terrible Twos," but I love this age. The world is a magical place to them, and they are so joyful about discovering new things. Imagine, you walk into a small room, the doors close behind you, and when they open again, you're in a whole new place! Magic! (No, just an elevator.)

This is also the time of passionate feelings, intense and sometimes uncontrollable, made all the more so by the inability to express them in words. We can help with this. These little ones are acquiring words incredibly rapidly. I've read statistics that say a typical 18 month old knows eight to ten words, and by 36 months knows 1,000. Phenomenal! This is obviously a time when we can help them match words to these feelings. When your toddler wants something she can't have and throws herself on the ground in hysterics, tell her "I know this makes you feel frustrated and angry, but I want to be a good mommy so I can't let you have a doughnut instead of lunch." When your little guy thought he was going to the park, but it started to rain and he cried, tell him "You must feel so disappointed. We'll go after it stops raining."

When your toddler has heard these words repeated many times, you can ask her/him next time these intense feelings crop up, "Are you feeling mad? Are you disappointed?" And your child will feel better knowing he/she can communicate those feelings.

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