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The art of Comforting with your toddler

The art of Comforting

Giving comfort to children is as basic and essential a part of parenting as giving nourishment; your child needs adequate amounts of both in order to thrive. Much of the comfort comes naturally to mothers in the form of a quick hug, a touch of the lips or the brushing away of the tears. Usually that works but on some occasions more is needed to make your toddler feel ok again - a little extra thought, effort and time is required to drive the blues out of the door, particularly as he grows older and more complex.

Be aware of your power:

To a two or three year old, you are omnipotent; for now your reassuring words and loving touch carry a lot of weight. When you cradle your toddler in your arms and say, "everything will be just fine", she will magically feel reassured. That is why your brand of comfort is the best medicine for whatever that is bothering your baby - be it physical or emotional.

Be calm in the storm:

Nothing upsets like an upset parent; nothing alarms a child more than a parent who is alarmed. So though it is natural for you to feel your child's pain, it is best if you learn to disguise it. You will be more effective in handling a hurt child if you remain calm and if this calm is transmitted in your words, tone of voice and facial expressions and body language, your child will pick up on those vibes. Toddlers whose parents don't overreact are able to pick themselves up after a fall.

Don't pretend there is no storm either:

You shouldn't ignore your child's pain totally either, especially when it is an emotional pain. Toddlers are small and vulnerable; to them everything is big including their pain. By dismissing their problems as something trivial all the time, you are conveying that their feelings don't count and that can hurt in the long run.

Comfort conditionally:

Children deserve consolation when injured even if their behavior has been less than desirable. Comfort your child even after they fall off from an off limits chair or swing.

Lend a listening ear:

Encourage your child to talk about his pain or feelings even if his communication is unclear and halting. Although it is difficult to decipher what he is trying to communicate during times of stress, your efforts to recognize and validate your child's feelings will be something he will appreciate.

Listen but don't lecture:

Toddlers need your support not your lectures. Be aware though that too much of sympathy can turn your child into a dependant, self-pitying kid.

Don't try to make everything better:

If your child broke his toy car, it is ok to sympathize but it is not a good idea to buy a new one immediately. If children don't learn from their mistakes, they are likely to repeat them over and over again.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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