Very young children are only just beginning to learn how to deal with their emotions and it is natural for them to feel frustration when they have trouble expressing themselves. Here are some suggestions that may help!  

  • Ask your child to show you what they trying to say.  Have your child point or physically bring you to what they are trying to talk about. Pay attention to body language and try and listen to a word that will help you understand.  Use your words to describe what your child is showing you; your child will let you know if you are on track.
  • Talk to your child about anger and frustration. Share the ways you deal with frustration.
  • Help your child recognize the situations which are likely to cause frustration.
  • Try to help your child identify successful and not-so-successful ways of expressing frustration.
  • Help your child learn control words like “no”, “stop”, “wait”, “my turn”, “me too”. If your child can’t say these words, find other ways to express the messages (e.g. gestures, signs, symbols, photographs).
  • Provide opportunities for your child to play successfully with other children. Find play materials for your child that don’t require a lot of language for successful use.
  • Tell other children that your child is trying very hard to be a friend. Stay nearby to help resolve any problems that may arise.
  • Praise your child when they deal with frustration successfully.
  • Even though your child may be having trouble communicating thoughts and feelings, don’t hesitate to set some rules about expressing frustration. Be sure your child knows these rules before applying them.