Creative Child

How to Parent with Sensitivity

by Brittany Ferrell

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Patience is not something learned instantly. You have to model how to act patiently over and over again. I started by taking deep breaths whenever my daughter was melting down. The breaths actually helped me to remain calm, and over time she would begin following suit. Before I knew it, she was able to calm herself down when she felt frustrated with just a few deep breaths.

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Offer a Hug

It is so natural to pick your baby up when they are crying as an infant. But when your sweet baby turns into a demanding toddler who not only cries, but also screams and flails their arms and legs, the last thing you may want to do is go in for a hug. Try diffusing the toddler behavior with a hug anyway.

Children at this age receive so much stimulation from their environment and their emotions are wild, all consuming, and overwhelming. The physical closeness of a hug helps reinforce your bond. It allows your little one to feel safe in this big, scary world. It helps them know that you care about how they are feeling and understand that everything will be okay.

The “golden rule” I always try to enforce with my students is to “treat others the way you wish to be treated.” Think, when you are stressed out about your job or an aspect of your personal life, would you want to be ignored, yelled at, or punished? What if at that moment, the pinnacle of your stress, someone validated your feelings or gave you a big hug?

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By demonstrating that you are sensitive to your child’s feelings and toddler behavior, you are showing your child how to be empathetic to others. You are teaching your child patience, compassion, and how to problem solve. Most importantly, you are helping to foster a relationship built upon trust and understanding.

For more tips on dealing with toddler behavior, try these 10 Toddler Tips for Problem Behaviors and pointers for surviving your toddler’s obsessions.

Brittany Ferrell has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Education. She has worked as an elementary school teacher for twelve years and was awarded "Teacher of the Year" 2011. In February 2014, Brittany and her wonderful husband, Jerome welcomed their miracle, Madeline Olivia to the world and she has chronicled her struggle to become a parent in her published memoir, "From Dream to Dream Come True: My Journey to Motherhood". Brittany writes about her fairy tale dream come true of motherhood on her blog, A Mama Tale.

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