Staying Cool as a Parent
Tips to Stay Calm
Parenting can be very rewarding, but once in a while almost all parents lose their tempers with their toddler. And most parents wish they had not. Here are some tips to help you stay calm:
- Stick to routines. Your toddler likes routines. It helps your toddler to co‑operate if he or she knows a certain thing will happen at the same time each day.
- Adjust your expectations. Sometimes parents have expectations of themselves and their toddlers that are much too high. Learn about child development to get a better idea of what to expect from your toddler at different stages. For more information about toddler development, click here.
- Rest. Sometimes taking a nap when your toddler does can help you feel less overwhelmed or angry. Make time for yourself. Build in some regular time for your own relaxation. Trade time with family members, friends, or another parent. Do something you enjoy. For more information about caring for yourself, click here.
- Know that you don’t always have to fix everything. It can be difficult to hear your toddler cry. But if she or he hasn’t learned to talk yet, crying may be your toddler’s way to express feelings. You do not have to “fix it” every time your toddler cries. If your toddler is not hungry, hurt, or otherwise in need of your attention, and if your toddler seems to be crying because of being upset or angry, it is fine to let your toddler cry for a little while. Don’t ignore your toddler, but wait to see if your toddler is able to calm down.
- Talk about the challenges. Talk to someone close to you about the challenges you are having and how you are feeling. It is best not to do this in front of your toddler.
- Get to know other parents. Connecting with other parents can help you build a support network.
- Protect your toddler. If you are feeling overwhelmed and afraid you might lose control and hurt your toddler, get help immediately. Put your toddler somewhere safe and call a family member, a friend, HealthLink BC 8‑1‑1, your public health office, or your doctor.
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken Baby Syndrome (or neurotrauma) is the name for the injuries that can happen when a baby or toddler is shaken. Shaking a toddler can cause serious injury or death. Shaking can cause brain damage, blindness, paralysis, and seizures. Shaken Baby Syndrome often happens when a parent or caregiver loses control because a child won’t stop crying. The parent or caregiver gets angry and ends up hurting the child.
To prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome:
- Learn how to calmly cope with your toddler’s crying.
- Do not leave your toddler in the care of someone who has problems controlling their anger.
- Tell others who look after your toddler that crying is normal. Ask them to call you if they get frustrated, so you can return.
- Learn how to control your anger. If you are very angry, put your toddler in a safe place, such as the crib, and walk away until you are under control again. If you feel unable to cope or are afraid that you may hurt him, make sure he is safe. Then call someone for help. Never pick up a toddler when you are angry about the crying.
- Call a family member, a friend, HealthLink BC 8‑1‑1, your public health office, or your doctor.
For more information and resources to help prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome, click here.