Dealing with toddler frustration is never easy. As a parent or teacher, this is one of those instances that challenge your patience to the limit. However, the Montessori approach to dealing with toddler tantrums and frustration emphasizes the need to choose your language carefully. It is vital that you figure out what works for your child but there are recommended ways to approach this situation more effectively.
Choosing Your Words Carefully with Children
In Montessori, language is a powerful tool in a child’s learning and development. According to Montessori, language is the root of all learning and it can impact the way a child thinks and their sense of being. It is important to maintain appropriate limits when it comes to language use. These limits will govern parents and educators’ approach in choosing words to use when interacting with Montessori kids.
It will also define how a child views their relationship with a parent or teacher. If you want to improve your relationship with your child, it is best to examine how you use language when communicating with them.
When dealing with toddler frustration, it is normal to feel frustrated yourself. Whether a parent or a teacher, this shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not enforce positive discipline in children. Your goal is to offer limited choices to a child in a positive way so that it can diffuse frustration more effectively.
How to Diffuse Toddler Frustration
While it is never a good thing to “buy into” a child’s frustration, you need to hold your ground, too. There are a few strategies that you can implement to effectively go about it. In particular, the use of the right phrases might hold the key to easing toddler tantrums and frustrations.
Here are the 7 phrases that you can use during this situation, especially in a learning environment such as in the Montessori classroom:
“I hear you”
One of the sources of frustration among toddlers, especially in a learning setting, is when they feel like their concerns are not being addressed properly. You can use this frustration by acknowledging a child’s behavior and tantrum tendency. Let them know that they are heard and that you are willing to extend help if needed.
“That looks really tricky”
Empathy is one of the most effective approaches to dealing with a frustrated child. If you see them struggling with a task, simply acknowledge that this task is indeed difficult. Don’t make it worse by making them feel as though the task is very simple – it will only make their frustration worse.
“Sometimes I get frustrated too”
In addition to showing empathy towards a child, it is also important to make it known to them that you feel the same way. It’s a great way to remind them that everyone struggles and that they are not alone in such feelings. This will help diffuse their frustration.
“What part would you like help with?”
It is always a good practice to promote independence in children. However, when they are frustrated, extending help or making them feel that you are available to help is enough to ease the situation. Before you extend help, though, verbally express it first. This is how you can train a child to become more capable on his or her own.
“I’m here if you need me…”
This is somewhat related to the phrase above. Do not extend help unless a child specifically asks for it. Give them a chance to deal with their frustration on their own but let them know you are ready to help if they need you to.
“You are working really hard on that!”
When a child gets frustrated about a particular activity, you want to encourage them for their effort. Let them know that what they are doing is enough, even if they have not achieved their goal yet. By putting value to the work they have already done, they will become motivated to keep doing it until they succeed.
“Would you like to take a break and try again soon?”
If a child’s frustration continues to build up, let them know it is okay to take a rest before trying again. Let them practice the act of being patient with their own self. It is never a good thing to force something on children so you have to encourage this mindset in them, too.
Most children will eventually overcome the phase where they have a constant need for tantrums. Over time, as they develop their language skills and expand their understanding, they will be able to express themselves more effectively, such as in verbal language. Until such time, you need to be extra patient and know the right phrases to use to aid them in expressing their feelings in a positive manner.