The first three years: Managing big emotions

Dads, raising children between the ages of 1-3 means you’re probably no stranger to a tantrum or two. During this age, children are experiencing a lot of emotions, but because their brain is still developing, they don’t handle them the same way adults do. This can result in throwing themselves onto the floor, uncontrollable crying, screaming, and the list goes on. 

Acknowledging and understanding that they can’t help their reactions, as their brain is still developing, is the first step to managing the situation when a tantrum does arise. 

Top tips to help manage big emotions 

  1. Stay calm. Sometimes this can be hard, but it’s important to remember that your toddler can’t help their reactions when big emotions arise. Getting annoyed or angry won’t help the situation.
  2. Listen to them. Empathise and stay with them in their emotions. Acknowledge the fact their upset or angry and let them know your understand. e.g. “It’s been a big day for you, I can see why you’re tired and cranky.”  
  3. Stay with them. Don’t storm off or disappear because it’s hard work. Sometimes the best solution is to wait it out with them, let them feel their emotions and move forward. 
Mondays with Fathering Project founder Dr. Bruce Robinson
We want to foster connection, sharing, and collaborating in this time of isolation and need. The Fathering Channel is an online community hub and a source of research-based advice, support, and information. Tune in every Monday for Bruce’s weekly video – packed with fathering advice and tips.
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