Toddlerhood, which is the age between one and three, is the most confusing period both in your life as well as your child's. This is the phase where your child has begun his or her quest for independence while still being dependent on you for basic needs.
The one big reason why this phase is so confusing is because your child has begun to emote and respond to you but you're still unclear on how much your child understands and how he or she will react to situations. There are a few toddler emotional development basics that you should be aware of.
What you need to know. One thing parents need to understand is that toddlers (especially around two years of age) feel more emotions that just happy, sad, or angry. They also feel emotions like guilt, shame, jealousy, resentment, fear, and so on but they don't quite know what they are experiencing and hence usually act it out in the form of a tantrum. It is up to you to help your child identify these emotions by telling them what they are feeling.
Most parents are aware that their tiny tots learn reactions to situations and events from them. Even so, many of them unwittingly express their frustrations in front of the child. Bear in mind, your toddler’s got keen powers of observation. Therefore, it is important to be calm, controlled and most importantly consistent with your behavior when your toddler is around.
Contrary to popular belief, children as young as one and two are well aware of what is 'right' and 'wrong' behavior. This is something they learn from the various admonishments received from their parents. They are also very intuitive about the fact that while their parents may disapprove of certain actions, the same will bring a smile to someone else’s face, thereby prompting them to repeat their behavior.
What you can do. The trick to helping the emotional development of your child is to encourage them to do simple tasks by themselves and praise them when they accomplish it. This helps develop their self esteem and encourages them to be independent. It is important to keep in mind that toddler emotional development and self esteem in the later years are closely connected.
Lastly, it is important to understand that there is no definite science to bringing up a child. Each toddler is different, and even within the same house, you may find that methods which worked with your first child, may not work with the second. Some toddlers are hyper excited and constantly need to be engaged in physical activities while others seem content to be left alone with building blocks. One thing is for sure though, every toddler is extremely self centered and as such needs to be reassured that his/her parents are giving them undivided attention. So, ensure your child knows that you are available to them at all times and that they can count on you for assistance should they require it. This will definitely help the emotional development of your toddler.