I am growing and learning so many things so quickly! Yet, I am still so young. I still haven’t mastered the ability to control my emotions. That is something that began when I was born, but will continue to develop over my life. I learn self control through my interactions with you and the other trusted adults in my life. As a young toddler, I have very strong feelings. I learn to say loudly and clearly, “NO!” I can become frustrated easily because there are so many things that I want to do, but I am not ready or able to do them yet. I am exploring my world and trying new things every day. That means you will need to help me learn to cope with limits, and provide me with guidance fit for a young toddler like me. It might be helpful for you to know 3 easy steps in settting limits for me. 1) Stop the behavior. for example, firmly take my hand and tell me in a serious voice: “No hitting. Hitting hurts.” It is important that you sound firm, but not angry. I learn best if I understand this is serious, but I am not afraid. 2) Help me label my feelings. You can help me understand you know what I am feeling, and it will help me to calm down. “You are so angry that Paulo took your toy. It’s okay to feel angry. But you cannot hit. Hitting hurts.” Offer me an appropriate way to express my feelings. Show me what I can do, like jumping up and down, or stomping my foot. 3) Help me solve my problem. For example, help me go to Paulo and ask for the toy back. Use a kitchen timer to help me and Paulo learn to wait and take turns. One of the best ways for me to learn how to handle my strong feeling is for me to see you modeling and showing me how to handle my feelings in a healthy way when you have strong feelings. “I am running late and I can’t find my keys. I feel very frustrated right now.” Remind me how to soothe myself. When I have a breakdown or a tantrum, what I am saying is I am having trouble coping. When you teach me how to calm down, you are giving me a very important life skill. It is important for you to understand the difference between spoiling and soothing. If I fuss because I want to watch a TV show, and you said no, then you give in to me and let me watch TV, I learn that my fussing is a way to be successful in getting what I want. If you comfort me because I am fussing, and let me know that you understand that I am disappointed, then help me find another acceptable activity, I am learning how to cope with disappointment. I need lots of soothing, with your gentle consistent guidance. This is how I will best learn self control.

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