It’s quite common for a toddler to fall down or get hurt, thanks to their growing levels of independence 😉 There are few things that we have been hearing since ages when dealing with a hurt or crying toddler that do not seem right to me after evolving as an individual now. Read on to know how can the situation be dealt in a better way but don’t beat yourself up for doing apparently the wrong thing all this while 🙂 I did the same till some time back!
- Don’t say ‘it’s ok, nothing happened’ – Why do that? Why not acknowledge their hurt? They know they are hurt, you know they are hurt, then why hypocrisy? Let’s acknowledge their hurt, it helps them feel better, trust me. Don’t you feel better if someone says ‘I understand your pain’ to you when you are in pain? Yes you do, right! Toddlers are no different. This makes them feel emotionally better. They realise their parents understand them. In older years, this acknowledgement will go a long way & as teenagers they will come to you as a friend for any advice they need or to share any thing because they know you acknowledge their feelings & not push the feelings to trash like nothing happened. It is REALLY important, isn’t it?
- Don’t say ‘oh you fell down, see the ant just died’ – I don’t see a need to create this fantasy. Either they will absorb they were the reason for the poor creature’s death or celebrate the moment getting up, yay the ant died. Or may be neither of the two. But being realistic is easier, just telling that baby, you just fell down & got hurt!
- Don’t say ‘go & slap the floor/table/drawer/etc, it hurt you?’ – Wait & realise what exactly are you sowing in your toddler’s mind with this action! You are telling them it is somebody else’s fault & hence you got hurt, and you need to react with violence to make it tit for tat. NO, we don’t need to teach this 🙁
- Don’t preach ‘I told you not to climb up there, didn’t I’ – Your child is crying & the least s/he wants is a preacher. This is a moment to soothe & not preach.
- Don’t be inconsistent – one caregiver deals in one way & another in a different way, let’s try to be consistent. Toddlers love a sense of routine. They get confused easily if people around them behave in different ways for same action. So decide mutually how you are going to deal with a situation.
- ‘Oh baby, you just got hurt! Come in to my arms, I will give you a BIGGGG hug’ (acknowledge their hurt & keep them close)
- ‘Tell me where did you get hurt? I might be able to help you ease the pain. Oh toe? Let me kiss your toe 🙂 I will also massage your toe. Tell me are you feeling better?’ (Tell them a loving touch is what they need to heal a wound, in a broader sense too)
- ‘Is it still hurting? Let us give it some time. Do you want your favourite book/toy?’ (Toddlers are easily distracted)
- ‘Baby how did you get hurt? I think that chair was too high for you to climb? Let’s be careful next time, OK? That’s how we learn, it’s ok to fall or get hurt.’ (Put in their head that it isn’t BAD to fall in life, it is perfectly OK. After they are pacified, we can preach in a gentle way.)