Is your child emotionally challenged?

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For parents with kids, do your know the level of your toddler's emotional development right now? It is vital to ensure that your children are maturing at the right pace emotionally. Read for tips on how to monitor emotional development in children.

Normal? What’s normal when it comes to a toddler’s development--more specifically emotional development in children? After all, activities like crawling, walking and eating solid foods are all fairly predictable in the life of a baby or toddler.

But talking, separation issues, social skills--these are horses of a different colour altogether (as the Great and Powerful Oz would say).

RELATED: Is your preschooler on track?

The mommy races

The cold, hard truth is that the number one reason mums get concerned about their toddler’s emotional development and physical growth is that they’re afraid of what other mums are saying.

They are afraid someone is going to think their child is ‘slow’ or ‘behind’. They are afraid their child may, in fact, be slow or behind. Shame on you!

Your job as a mother is to provide a safe, loving, healthy and stimulating environment for your baby or toddler. Your job is to allow your child to grow and develop at their own pace. It’s not to push your child to do more than he or she is ready to do. How does this play into the emotional development in children?

RELATED: Easing separation anxiety about starting kinder

Pushing vs. stimulating emotional development

Pushing your toddler’s emotional development is trying to extract something from your toddler that just isn’t there--relentlessly. Stimulating, on the other hand, is providing your toddler with things and situations to encourage their curiosity, their urge to discover and the opportunity to both succeed and fail.


Stimulating emotional development in children happens when you:

  • Read to them
  • Sing to them
  • Talk to them (not using baby-talk)
  • Give them toys that encourage role-playing
  • Expose them to a variety of environments such as museums, parks and zoos
  • Require them to sleep on their own in their own bed in their own room
  • Let them fall down, get dirty, make a few messes
  • Help them deal with the things they are afraid of
  • Allow them to socialise without you hovering over them
  • Let them stay overnight with Grandma--without you
  • Allow them to make choices--red over blue, grape over watermelon, the red shirt not the yellow one, etc


Pushing emotional development in children, on the other hand is:

  • Giving them toys and games that are not age-appropriate and insisting they try
  • Enrolling them in activities they show no interest in
  • Grilling and drilling them on a certain skill
  • Punishing them for their inability to complete something
  • Comparing them to other children
  • Bribing them to do more--to do better
  • Promising to reward them if they succeed

Surely you can see the difference...

As you look over these two lists, do you see the difference? Do you see the difference between encouraging emotional development in children and pushing your child too far? Remember, no one is going to be able to tell which college graduate walked first, was potty trained the earliest or which one cut a tooth before age six months. But they will be able to distinguish the student who is confident, socially adept and able to reach for the stars with their feet firmly on the ground.

RELATED: Discipline vs. punishment

We hope this article on emotional development in children was beneficial to you. 

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Written by

Darla Noble