Friday, May 18, 2012

Learning Toddler Language

   My son is going on 6 years old so its been a while since I have had to try and interpret the interesting language of a toddler.My daughter is now almost 17 months and we moms know what this age can be like.Happy,fun,confusing,frustrating and difficult all at the same time.Some days it seems like there is no pleasing her and both of us just get through the day the best we can.

   I often think to myself, if I could only know what it is that's bothering her, then maybe I can make it all better.Figuring out what is causing her frustration will surely ease mine.Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes not.So, I decided to start paying closer attention to some of her gestures and foreign words to see if I could better figure out what makes her tick.

   If you think about it even adults that have communication barriers have problems in their marriage,on their jobs,friendships,and family.What to do about it?
   
  Learn a persons style of communicating and pay closer attention to what they are trying to say or need from you.

  So here is what I have learned in the past month by trying to better understand what the melt downs really mean.

   We were at my Mom's and while my kids were in the living room playing,my mom and I walked down the hall to her bedroom so she could show me the curtains she made.We finished that and as we were coming back down the hall, Gabriella was working her way toward us.When I got to where she was I took her hand and was going to lead her back to the living room with us.Well,she threw herself in the floor and began to cry! At first I was thinking,what in the world is this all about and attempted to get her to calm down and go with me.Then,it hit me to think where it all began.We were in the bedroom and she was on her way to us.So,I took her by the hand and said,"you want to go see too?" Instantly she quieted so we walked to the bedroom.She looked around curiously at the room and smiled.Then she turned around to go back to the living room.All she wanted to see where we had been and what we were doing and she was fine.

 We learn pretty quick as parents what their cues are as far as hunger,need for a nap,and wanting to be held because that started at birth but as a baby grows and learns about the world around them they begin to have interest in things other than the basic needs in life.Its up to us to figure out those cues as well.I know we all have busy lives but sometimes it only takes a few minutes to satisfy them.If your toddler is standing close to the door and is screaming at the top of their lungs, its probably not just a by chance she chose to have a melt down in that particular spot.Could be if you get down on her level and talk to her there might be a chance you will find out just by asking a simple question what the problem is.Do you want to go outside? Then open the door and watch for a reaction.If she seems to be happy about it, then take a five minute break for some outdoor time.More than likely just those few minutes will solve the problem.Also,by asking the question she may learn to say outside over time,making the communication barrier a little easier,and no reason for all the screaming about that particular desire again. In my sons case "ou si" was the first go at the word but it was enough I knew what he meant. Toddlers may not know what to say but they understand more than you might think what you are saying.So don't be afraid to ask what they want,thinking they don't know what you are saying.Sometimes I will take her hand and say show me what you want and I watch for pointing and what she may be looking at.

   Of course,there are just some things they will want that they just cant have because it maybe dangerous, unhealthy or just bad timing.That's OK though, because we are not the only ones that have things to learn.The best thing I have found for those situations is distraction to get their mind off the forbidden.A lot of times my favorite trick is to turn some music on or begin to sing her favorite songs.
    Understanding my toddler been one of my biggest challenges but I am glad to finally be seeing progress!