Deciphering the behaviour of your young one
- 24 November 2022
Being a parent or facilitator to anyone can be a tough job. It is particularly tougher if you deal with a young one. Any experience with 3-6 years old children is an adventure in itself! These children have a communication system of their own. For example, crying may not always mean that “I am hurt”, it can mean “I am sleepy or hungry” or so many other things. Any behavior of the child in your care is a form of communication. Because they do not have the vocabulary to say things that we as grown-ups understand.
Ruchika Sachdeva, our Early Years’ facilitator brings to you some top hacks to decode the communication of your young one and how to deal with it effectively:
It is often troubling for parents and facilitators alike when their child throws a tantrum, it’s a common happening for all children of that age. Anytime when your child starts to throw toys around, or painting walls with their food instead of eating it; it’s their way of saying, “I am tired”, “I need help,” “I am frustrated.”
Trying to reason with your child at this time is going to be counter-productive and might backfire. Rather calmly figure out what might be their requirement at that moment and validate their feelings. Toddlers learn by testing the limits of their caretakers. Validation and acknowledgment of their feelings tell their tiny- overactive nervous system that you are on their side. Most often than not evoking that trust is enough for them to begin calming down.
Other times, you may want to wait it out and offer support. But do ensure not to give in to behaviors that jeopardize safety such as hitting, kicking, biting, or throwing things around. You may need to stop the behavior first to ensure safety of everybody and then reiterate to your child that, “your feelings are important and valid.”
All parents will agree with me that toddlers are impatient little beings that throw a fit even as you are working on fulfilling the requests they just made. That is because their they generally do not have the physical capacity to wait or be patient. They are growing at lightning speed and their impatience is true sign of that speed.
Stay calm and do not get agitated with their impatience. Respond lovingly but firmly that you have heard the request and that it will be taken care of as soon as possible. While you work on their requests speak out every action of yours as you go. For example: when you are cutting strawberries for an impatient toddler, you can say, “Yes! little bean I heard you. I’m gonna be done very soon. I am washing the strawberries. Here goes the first one and the second and the third and so on. I am now cutting them up. Here’s the first one, now next, and so on. Now off they go on the plate, one, two, next and so on.”
If your child often clings to you when you are around other children or they start yelling, screaming, or indulging in other unfavorable behavior, then it’s good news! They love you and can’t get enough of you! They are saying, “Mommy/ daddy/ teacher, I love you and I do not want to share you with another person who looks just like me.”
It could also mean that they are saying, “I am not getting enough of you,” especially if you are working long hours or have had a sudden change in lifestyle like a new job or the child started kindergarten or if there’s a new baby in the family.
At this stage, their sense of self is attached to you and the things that are most valuable to them.
Just like always validate their feelings and take care of their needs first. Then hug them and let them know how much they mean to you. Let them know that “I am your Mumma/ papa/ teacher, and I will take care of you forever, because I love you. Being nice to others doesn’t diminish my love for you. “
These and many more such behaviors make life with a child in the Early years full of joy and wonderment. As hard as it can be to decipher it, it is certainly full of excitement.
Join us for more such hacks and tips to raise your toddlers in an environment of positivity and love. Being one of the best IB schools in India, we aspire to bring the best.
Ruchika Sachdeva is an artist, early years facilitator with a keen interest in human psychology. She uses her keen observation skills and intuition to get to the root of any “communication” offered to her by her pupils.