Toddlers and Preschoolers have emotions just like adults. Often when parents see negative behavior, they want to immediately correct it and tell the child what is not acceptable. Yet, we as adults demonstrate negative behavior as well but we are not as likely to correct another adult by saying “stop” or “that is not acceptable.” Rather, we will say, “I notice your feeling upset or mad, what happened at work today.” When a child throws a toy and is angry, we as parents should connect to the emotion the child is having. Yes, we want to stop the negative behavior but if we can get the child to identify the emotion, like “you seem upset” or “what is wrong as you seem mad.” This is harder to do now but connecting to the emotion will help the child understand what is not acceptable. Offer a solution to calm down like “come sit by me and let’s talk.” Then after the child has calmed down then you can discuss correction or discipline and safer options of expressing emotions. This needs to be simplified even more for a toddler vs a preschooler. Again, we want to help children learn to navigate their emotions by being able to label what they are feeling, correcting unacceptable behavior and find ways to express emotions in a healthy way. This takes patience during the heat of the moment which is not easy. Yet, if parents work on this as the child grows and starts school, he or she will be better in touch with their own emotions and those of others. At Close to Home Child Care Center, we talk about different emotions like what it is like to be sad, happy, frustrated, angry, surprised, confident, scared, excited and sick and what are positive ways to cope when you have these feelings. We have books that we read as well to the kids so they can learn even more about how we are designed with different emotions. Then when there is negative or acting out behavior, we can discuss the emotion that caused the behavior and what can we do differently when we have that behavior. It takes time and patience but eventually these big emotions that we all have can be expressed in a healthy manner.