I recently read an article by Janet Lansbury, titled Talking to Toddlers- 4 Secrets That Bring You Closer that was helpful and informative. The article discusses 4 ways to communicate with your toddler to alleviate frustration and build trust.
The first secret she points out is to talk normal. Don’t talk baby talk to your toddler. Speak slowly and in shorter sentences.
The second secret she discusses is to turn ‘no’ into ‘yes’. An example, “I want you to sit on my lap” rather than, “Don’t bounce on me.” She explains that this may not always work but it is better than responding with no and don’t all the time. Children appreciate positive instruction. It makes them more likely to respond with compliance and makes them feel more respected.
The third secret is to give the toddler real choices. Rather than asking your toddler what they want to wear, ask them if they would like to wear the pink dress or the white dress. Give them two choices and let them decide between the two. Asking them a broad question like what do you want to wear is too overwhelming.
Her final secret is to first, acknowledge. She explains that acknowledging your toddler’s point of view can be calming. Toddlers get frustrated when they can’t communicate what they want or need, and when you acknowledge their point of view it helps them feel that they are being understood.
Landsbury points out,”That when a toddler feels understood, she senses the empathy behind our limits and corrections. She still resists, cries and complains, but at the end of the day, she knows we are with her, always in her corner.