It is perfectly normal for toddlers and kids to feel frustrated. After all, they are learning how to navigate the world and figure out how things work. It is important for them to learn how to process these feelings in a healthy way, so that they can develop resilience.
Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN
It is perfectly normal for toddlers and kids to feel frustrated. After all, they are learning how to navigate the world and figure out how things work. It is important for them to learn how to process these feelings in a healthy way, so that they can develop resilience. In this blog post, we will discuss tips and techniques that you can use to help your toddler cope with frustration in a healthy way.
Pretend to struggle with ordinary tasks and verbalize your struggle. During your struggle say to your child: “I am so frustrated, but I know I will figure it out.” This is great to do during activities that tend to get kids frustrated easily like puzzles, block towers, practicing writing, coloring in the lines, etc.
Praise them for all the great work they’ve already done. “I’m so proud of how you did your letters. That’s such hard work and you did a great job! Do you want to try the R again now?” Make sure they know that it’s not a bad thing if they get upset when things get hard, their feelings are valid. It feels hard because it IS hard. Our kids are learning new skills all the time, it’s hard to learn how to walk or write your name. It takes work and practice and you aren’t going to get it right the first time every time.
This is a great tool in normalizing imperfection. We are huge advocates of giving young kids pencils without erasers. Erasers tell our children that when you mess up, you need to start over to correct it. Don’t cross out a mistake just try again. Mistakes are normal and don’t need to be erased.
When our children get frustrated, it’s typically the first impulse for us as parents to come in and rescue them. Give your child a chance at struggling through things on their own instead of fixing everything right away.
If you can tell they are at their end let them know it’s okay to walk away and come back to it later. Say things like: “Do you want to take a break? We can try this again tomorrow. You worked so hard today!” Give them the power to choose how they respond.
If you’re looking for more help, we have a great podcast on frustration tolerance that will give you some additional tips and techniques. Frustration is an inevitable part of life, but with the right tools and techniques, you can help your kids handle it better. We hope these tips have been helpful and that you are now feeling better equipped to deal with frustrating situations as they come up.