Life

Ask the expert: Why toddlers' tears could be good for them

Some childcare experts argue that crying is actually a healing process.

Q: My two-year-old daughter is a real cry-baby. What's the best way to deal with her tears?

A: Kate Orson, author of Tears Heal: How To Listen To Our Children (Piatkus, £13.99), says: "Frequent crying can be related to a difficult start in life, or present-day challenges like transitioning to daycare. Your daughter may just be more sensitive than other children. The fact that she feels safe to cry with you is actually a backhanded compliment. She trusts you with her feelings.

"Our most common impulse is to stop crying as quickly as possible. However, crying is a healing process; a natural way to release stress and tension.

"When we distract or stop our child from crying, they may keep trying repeatedly to find reasons to cry. Upsets might also come out in indirect ways such as whining or aggression.

"The best approach is to simply be there, and stay close, offer hugs and a few reassuring words. It's best not to talk too much when your child is in the middle of an upset. They simply need to let go of their feelings, and soak up your love.

"If you listen when you have the patience, you will find your daughter will be able to regulate her emotions much better. There may be some long cries at home, but less unexpected ones in the checkout queue.

"With this listening approach, meltdowns will become less frequent over time. You should also notice other positive changes, like improved behaviour and a deeper connection between the two of you."

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