Kids are capable of experiencing a full range of emotions by the time they’re two years old. The problem with two-year-olds is that they have just started developing their cognitive skills. Which means that they can’t always make sense of what they’re feeling, not even mentioning the controlling aspect. So how can you decode toddler mood swings?
Coupled with your tot’s limited attention span, not understanding his or her own feelings can quickly lead to an emotional seesaw. Or mood swings as we like to call it. You see, two-year-olds love accomplishing things. But as soon as things don’t go according to their plan (or they just can’t get that puzzle piece to fit), they’ll display their dissatisfaction in any and all ways possible.
Tips for decoding toddler mood swings
One of the keys to success here is helping your kid achieve the independence he or she is craving. While also teaching them to manage their emotions at the same time. Focusing on the negative emotions. As parents, we tend to underestimate the power of emotions in our little humans because they come and go so quickly. It is our responsibility, as the adults in the household, to teach our kids to state what they’re feeling instead of physically demonstrating it.
Two-year-olds are beginning to develop their language skills. But they still have limited abilities as far as effectively communicating is concerned. This often leads to frustration because they just can’t get the message they’re trying to sell across to us.
Then there’s the fact that two-year-olds have problems when it comes to delayed gratification. Tots simply can’t understand why they can’t have what they want then and there. And it might feel like their world is crashing and burning if they can’t immediately satisfy a need.
Distraction is a great short-term solution for mood swings
The good news is that your toddler’s temper tantrums are generally short-lived. And just like they can hone in on a goal, they can easily be distracted by something more novel. If your two-year-old is unhappy with his or her current pursuit, you can take advantage of their short attention span in order to steer them towards another activity.
But you need a long-term plan too
Keep in mind that even though a cleverly planned diversion can take care of an emotional outburst, it’s not the ideal solution for all situations. Talking to your tot about what he or she is feeling is super important as well. And while you can’t expect a two-year-old to name the specific emotions he or she is experiencing; you can help them identify and label those feelings. Which gives them the tools they’ll need later on in life.