Toddler emotions can be large and intense. But no matter how little they are, their feelings are valid and significant to their small world.
One thing us big people often forget is that these children haven’t gained the skills to appropriately navigate their behaviours and expressions in response to emotion. Hey, some adults still can’t!
Instead of dismissing their feelings as ‘terrible twos’ or getting frustrated set them up with strategies to support them.
1. Anticipate times when difficult emotions occur. Roleplay with your child to give teachable opportunities to recognize when their feelings are becoming ‘too big,’ and offer solutions, such as take a break or a breathing exercise. 2. Remember these feelings are valid in their mind 3. Acknowledge their feelings 4. Describe unwanted behaviour 5. Give an appropriate alternative 6. Give constant reminders and role model appropriate behaviours in regular routines and play
Example 1 Toddler hits or throws toys when frustrated or angry. “I would be frustrated too if my tower kept getting knocked over. If we throw our toys, we can break them. We will not be able to play with them anymore. It seems you need to get some energy out. Do you want to give Mommy a big bear squeeze or do you need to jump and stomp and a big pillow?”
Ex 2. Toddler continually throws food on the floor and laughing. Adult – I see you are having fun, but food is for eating, not wasting. If you are all done eating, we can clean the food up together.
Create play opportunities with your child where you too get upset, frustrated or mad and role model different strategies too ‘feel better.’ When children can practice self-control and regulation then will be able to form better strategies for themselves and continually be able to grow.
Afternoon Siesta in the Grass
What is Needed: Blanket, Sunscreen, hat
Nothing is more precious than the moments that pass too quickly during childhood. Take a breather and enjoy a moment out in the fresh air with your toddler. Resting side by side while taking in the world around you is a beautiful bonding experience between you and your little one.
Look for shapes in the clouds Count the airplanes/birds going by Watch for falling leaves Close your eyes. What do you hear? Smell the grass Look for rocks Makeup or share a story Pretend to fly like butterflies Bring a magnifying glass and look for bugs
Skill to Practice: Show interest and awareness in others, understanding and enjoyment of healthy eating habits.
Extended Learning: Instead of feeding your baby, give your child the utensils. Let them play and explore. Feed them hand over hand.
Language & Literacy
Follow the Recipe
Choose one of BrightPath's provided recipes and make sure you have all the ingredients.
Go step by step through the instructions and help your toddler pour, measure, stir, whisk AND do the dishes.
Give them a recipe card and pen to ‘write’ down their recipe. Ask them what they would put in a (cake, muffin, stew, etc.) and write down their answers on a recipe card.
Watch the food cook or bake. Notice the visual changes, the smells, and steam or heat.
Skills to Practice: Early Literacy and Mathematical exposure Basic Life Skills Health, Hygiene and Sanitary Practice
Extended Learning: Give them their own bowl and let them use whatever ingredients they want. Write down their recipe and share it with them when they get older!
Fast and Slow – Stop and Go
Its time to get silly with your child and burn some energy!
Teach your child the 3 rules of the game. 1. Follow the direction 2. Follow the speed 3. Stop or Go when directed
Join along with your child and do these different activities together. Direct them to go slow or fast. Give them an opportunity to try each action both ways.
Give them time to stop and have a moment to break or breath. When telling them the next motion, give them a moment before you say “Go,” so they can premeditate ideas.
Squawk like a chicken Skate on a skating rink Stomp and roar like a dinosaur Run Turn Crawl like a cat Fly like a butterfly Dance Drive a car Wiggle Twirl like a Ballerina Hop like a kangaroo
Skills to Practice: Large Muscle Control Listening to Direction Math Concepts – Opposites
Extended Learning: Use a ruler, plank of wood or paper towel roll to make a slope for a car or ball to roll down. Test out different angles and see how far and fast the car/ball goes
Shaving Cream Rainbow Designs
What is Needed: Shaving Cream (Whipping Cream as an alternative), food colouring, tray, piece of paper, Paint Brush for toddlers who are sensitive to sensory play
Sensory activities allow children to calm, self-regulate and focus on their experience with their material, as well as learn literacy, math and numeracy concepts, opportunities to explore science, and challenge abilities and thinking.
Spread Shaving Cream all over the tray. Add drops of different colour food colouring around the tray. Have your toddler use their fingers or hands to mix the colours together. Once you agree on a design, lightly set a piece of paper on top. Pat gently. Remove and let dry, face up. Continue manipulating the designing and making new pieces of artwork.
Skills to Practice: Science – Colour Transformation Social/Emotional – Regulating Behaviours Language – communicate and express during play, learning descriptive vocabulary