Emily has just turned three and I love her more than anything in this world. But this age…well, this age is just so tough. Two and three-year-olds are learning to make sense of so many new feelings and emotions. Often they would just feel confused and overwhelmed by their own feelings because they can’t name or describe these feelings yet so well. These little monkeys, therefore, need our constant support and safety. However, it can be a tough nut for a parent. The first challenging part for a parent is, that this can be a leeeenghty process, often varying in intensity too. The second challenging part is, that this can be really nerve-wrenching time, so if you haven’t started your yoga yet, you definitely should start now.
The Emotional Rollercoaster
Emily has been going through this phase for a while. She has been an intense baby since day 1, so no need to say how much hard time we are going through right now.
There is a huge emotional development jump between the ages of two- and three-year-olds and often there have been moments where I am not able to follow anymore all the ups and downs. She wants to be independent, to do everything by herself, to make decisions of her own, definitely not listen to the word ‘NO’ (she would even stop in the middle of a busy road just to not listen to my directions!!!). One moment she would be so happy, hugging and kissing me while next minute she would turn into a weeping, screaming and hitting (how frustrating and hurtful is that??!) girl that often worries me to the level that I ask myself: ‘What did I do wrong?’ and ‘Is this normal?’.
Other times, we would both end up being very frustrated by the circumstances of trying to get dressed up for about an hour, throwing a tantrum on the floor because I helped her to close her shoe while she wanted to do it ALL by herself alone and there’s no way I can undo this action even though I apologize and they the shoes off again so she could put them back on by herself. I always try to support her as much as I can but sometimes even I (human being) can’t take it anymore. Result? That’s not an ideal situation for none of us. It’s not healthy for the child that (as hard as it can feel at that moment) simply just needs my support and love, as well as it is not easy for me as a mother. I end up blaming myself, flooding my mind with the guilt of being a bad mum. All in all, nobody is happy with the things the way they are.
Supporting The Emotional Toddler
So what to do? Run away! Don’t worry, I am just kidding (even though sometimes I am close to it). There’s no way where you could hide from motherhood. So all we, parents, can do is to find the best way to help and support our toddler through this difficult phase.
Emily loves reading books so I started looking for books that are focused on emotions that name and describe them, so Emily learns for example that feeling angry is natural and we all do feel angry sometimes. It’s dangerous when kids start feeling guilty for feeling angry or learn that angry equals a bad kid, especially when parents punish kids for these feelings. For me, it’s important to let Emily express her emotions she’s feeling and eventually learns to control them.
Emily’s and my favorite books:
Glad Monster, Sad Monster
This is a super fun book about a monster experiencing different emotions. Each emotion includes a monster mask that your kiddo can put on her/his face try and try how they can do that specific emotion. It’s engaging, educative and funny.
Mouse Was Mad
Pretty realistic (!) book about a mouse that throws tantrums out of her frustrations. Screaming, kicking, jumping, stomping… However, towards the end, the mouse learns to control her emotions and turns out to be an inspirational model for other animals.
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo
Very simple booklet about a little girl who has her ups and downs and can’t control her actions when she is angry.
However, I must say that this is not my favorite book. It doesn’t try to find a solution to the emotional tantrums and ironically, Emily finds the name ‘Bombaloo’ quite funny so she actually wants to act like a Bombaloo 😉