Staying calm to work out what’s bothering baby
IT CAN be frustrating to have a baby or toddler who is super upset while you simply have no idea what’s causing the issue.
Babies and toddlers experience a vast array of emotions and struggle to communicate their feelings to parents, especially when they’re upset.
For parents of new babies its especially difficult as you’re still learning what their cues are and what certain things mean.
While an upset little one can end up a tiring experience, it’s vital to persevere and not to give up.
This column takes a look at steps you can take to get through it and even identify what’s affecting your child.
It’s time for a timeout – for the parent
Dealing with a child who is feeling angry or upset can be an emotional experience and can lead to you feeling drained and stressed out, which may only increase the child’s anxiety.
If your own emotions are under control then you can take charge in a calm and effective manner.
If you’re feeling upset when dealing with your toddler or baby, it’s actually a good idea to take a time-out so you can feel calm again and not be stressed.
Maybe take a walk into the neighbouring room and a few deep breaths.
Remember, your child needs you and you’re the most important person in their world.
Come back to the child and deal with the situation in a calm and loving manner.
Take charge early on
Early identification before your baby or toddler becomes too worked up is a very good idea.
If you jump in to soothe your child when they’re only a little upset, it can prevent a much bigger issue later on.
A good way to do this is to take the child to a neutral and comfortable place to sit together.
Stay with them and try to do something different like reading a book or a game until their feelings begin to settle.
Talk to them in a firm, yet kind way
While you need to take charge, you also need to reassure your baby or toddler. It’s important to use a firm, but also calm and kind voice, as you talk to them.
Always acknowledge their feelings and talk to them about what emotions they’re feeling.
When you do talk to them use simple words to describe their feelings as this will show them that you understand.
For example “The puzzle is hard and you can’t get the pieces in. That makes you feel cross, but I can help.”
Have your loving arms ready.
Always show your child that they’re welcome back into your arms.
No matter how unreasonable or difficult they’re being when upset, show them that afterwards your arms are ready to hold them, comfort them and protect them.
If you just want to have a chat and a bit of reassurance, the WBHHS child health team can help.