Four Tips on Maintaining Emotional Balance in Toddlers


Baby Burnout Blues

When you think of someone feeling burned out or overwhelmed, you may think of a person who works a lot, or doesn’t have a lot of time to unwind. However, your youngsters don’t really come to mind. The truth is anyone can become overwhelmed at any age. Kids can experience burnout too. Especially, over the previous eighteen months being in a Pandemic. Numerous day-to-day activities have changed. Of course, they don’t have major obligations and bills to pay but they DO have their own pressuring factors. Regardless of whether it is learning to process new feelings, or overcoming potty training challenges, many children do not know what being “burned out” means, and as parents, it is very easy to confuse with “normal” toddler tantrums.

Here are some tips I find to be very helpful in maintaining emotional balance for my little ones.

Restore confidence by stepping back

We have all heard the phrase, “less is more,” and in many cases, it is actually true. This is one of those cases. Whatever the challenge is at hand your child is dealing with, allowing them to take a little break helps to get back on track with a fresh mindset. The last thing we want to do is overwhelm our kids with frustration!

Most toddlers are eager to do things on their own. Especially, mine! Since they are so close in age, one quickly learned from the other how to say, “I do it.” I often provide opportunities for them to play and explore safely. Oftentimes, children will give more effort into something when they think no one is watching. There is no pressure anticipating a reaction from the person watching.

Zzzzz… is not for zebra in this case!

Healthy sleep habits are so important in children’s overall development. Based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children between the ages of 1-3 should get an average of about 10-14 hours per 24 hour period. This would include naps as well.

The same way adults are grouchy from a sleepless night, children show their  “grouchiness” in the form of temper tantrums. Establishing a bedtime routine is something that should have been set when the baby was born, lol. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes having more than one child makes things much harder. To be completely honest, we are still trying to make bedtime more efficient. As the girls are getting older they continuously find new ways to hype each other up every night, smh.

Fortunately, my youngest takes a nap at least 5 days a week for a good 2-3 hours. My oldest on the other hand? I have been trying to get that child to take a nap for 3 years now! Haha. Although, I strongly enforce rest times throughout the day. This typically includes tablet time, or a special milk drink, and a quiet show.

Healthy sleep patterns help maintain positive attitudes in not just children but grown-ups too.

Get Physical!

No, I don’t mean to drop-kick your kid across the room! Although, sometimes they make you want to. Moving along, all jokes aside, I can’t stress how important physical activity is for children. I mean, they gotta burn that energy to fall asleep right?

Things have been difficult for so many during this time. While many businesses were closed it was very easy to rely on TVs and tablets for entertainment. Especially, for those who live in apartment buildings or condos and don’t have a personal backyard.

I try to take my kids outside as much as I can. Even if it is just a short walk around the block, 20 minutes of fresh air can make a big difference. I’ll admit, we do tend to have the TV on a lot in this house. However, the kids love to listen to music, dance and sing along. They much rather prefer songs over shows. One of our favorites for indoor exercise is kid’s Zumba videos on Youtube. The girls have probably danced to them over 100 times. Even my 1 year old knows all the moves! The “minion song” and “I like to move it, move it,” are their favorites!

The bottom line is having some form of physical activity even for just a few minutes can help burn any unwanted energy when it comes down to Zzz time.

Talk it out

Communication is another critical factor in earlier child development. Starting back to when those little munchkins were still cooking, some doctors and midwives would recommend talking to our babies. Luckily, in my household, we have grown to talk about everything. My husband and I  like to use the cause-and-effect method a lot when it comes to explaining why we don’t do certain things. For instance, when the kids decide to throw food on the floor. I will say something like, “if you throw food on the floor, all the bugs are going to come, then we are going to have so many creepy bugs crawling on the floor to eat your food. Do you want bugs?” If your kid doesn’t like bugs it works lol.

The more kids learn the more questions they have. In both good teaching moments and bad ones, strong communication skills will go a long way for our little ones. We even use examples sometimes to get the point across which actually makes the kids pay attention more because it gets them involved in the lesson.

These are just 4 of the main things we incorporate in our household daily to help maintain positive growth and emotional development in our children. Not to mention, healthy eating habits, creative learning, etc. Children learn at different stages and not every child is the same. Understanding at what point your child’s behaviors start to change during a certain moment can help to overcome challenges and continue encouraging confidence.