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Losing Patience with your Baby

Do you find yourself quickly losing patience with your infant or toddler?  Ever wonder why you go from happy to frustrated in the blink of an eye?  It could be that your expectations and your child’s developmental capabilities aren’t meshing.  When we have expectations that aren’t in line with our children’s development we can find this season to be a lot more challenging.  

Important things parents should know about infants

Crying is how infants communicate.  Sometimes they are trying to communicate physical needs and sometimes emotional needs.  Crying is not a bad thing that needs to be fixed.  Crying needs to be responded to with compassion and wonder.  Sometimes you will discover the cause of the crying and be able to meet the need swiftly and other times meeting the need means holding your baby and listening to them with love and calm support.  It’s always appropriate to ensure all physical needs are met before assuming your baby just needs to release stress through tears.  

Infants get overwhelmed very easily.  They are not ready to fall in line with our fast paced schedules and need a calm, quiet and familiar environment with a slow and gentle introduction to the world.  When there is extra stimulation, change or busyness we need to expect they will struggle and cry more often and should be ready to respond with calm and compassion. 

It’s normal and important for infants to wake frequently when sleeping.  This ensures they have frequent feedings and helps protect them against SIDS. 

Important things parents should know about toddlers

Toddlers are coming to the realization that they are separate from their mothers and can have their own opinions and preferences that are different from other people.  Toddlers are known for asserting their will and testing the boundaries to see what’s acceptable and what is not.  They are more likely to cooperate when they are given choices and have their thoughts and feelings acknowledged. 

Toddlers are very interested in learning about their world and figuring out how things work.  They look for consistency and draw conclusions from their experiments.  They will continue to play with objects or do certain actions in their play until they feel they have learned all they can or have mastered a skill and then they will move on to something new. The toddler that is fascinated with items that roll and is frustrated when you try to encourage them to stack blocks instead is probably telling you they are trying to figure out rolling and want and need to focus their energy on that at this time. 

Toddlers learn through repetition.  This is not only seen in their desire to play the same things over and over or their commitment to hearing the same stories read aloud hundreds of times.  It’s also seen very vividly in their need for repetition in limit setting.  It can get really tiring telling your baby or toddler multiple times to jump on the floor instead of the couch but it is necessary.  Toddlers have not yet developed the skill of self-control and need lots of help from parents and caregivers to stop them from doing something they aren’t supposed to do.  It is not developmentally appropriate to expect a toddler not to do something just because we told them not to.  They don’t have the capacity to do this the majority of the time and often need gentle physical guidance in addition to confident and friendly verbal limits.  

Toddlers are curious and they learn through all of their senses.  They are fascinated with everything because everything is so new to them.  Anticipating that your toddler will have a strong drive to explore new and familiar things through touching, tasting, hearing, seeing and smelling can help you remain calm so you can gently guide them away from safety hazards or items you don’t want them to explore. Knowing your child is in this stage of development, it’s important to prepare the environment for your curious toddler in a way that lessens both of your frustrations. 

These are just a few examples of how your child’s development has everything to do with your day to day interactions with them. 

Are you stumped by why your child acts a certain way? Maybe your approach to responding doesn’t seem to be working and you can’t determine why?  Book a consultation today! I love helping families see their babies in a new way and helping them find strategies for relating that strengthen their relationships.  A little understanding of how babies are wired can go a long way!

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