Babies, in general, need to have their needs met as soon as possible: if they have a dirty diaper, it should be changed to avoid rashes. If they’re hungry, even more so for newborns, they should be fed immediately. Pain and fever require special care, and so on and so forth. 

As children start growing up, however, they gain more conscience about actions and reactions. They learn, for example, the acts of throwing tantrums or crying will get reactions like being or given attention. It’s only natural, that babies use this action-reaction as means of communication to get what they want. And that is where parents and caregivers must step in: it’s necessary to teach them to wait and show them that some things aren’t as urgent as basic necessities. Even food, for example, requires some time to be ready and the child needs to learn to wait for it.

How does one ‘teach’ frustration

Hearing a “no” when they try to touch something dangerous, or want to stay in the bath a little longer, or even being told to interrupt playtime for whatever reason, o how they must wait for mom to finish a task before holding them, among other things, are great opportunities for the baby to learn how to deal with frustration and understand, even if just intuitively, that the world is not going to cater to their every need. Dealing with disappointments now will help them cope with bigger disappointments in the future and it will help them socialize without fear.  

Yes, it’s tough to watch your kid cry, we know it. But let the little ones vent what their feeling, welcome what they have to say, embrace how they feel but don’t give in. Then, once everybody has cooled off, explain your reasons for doing or saying what you believe you had to. Rest assured, you’re doing the best for your tot.

Just keep in mind, balance is key. Using this tactic all the time (not promptly attending to the child’s needs) isn’t recommended by experts, as the child can feel unheard, unloved and disrespected. Learning how to balance caring and giving children autonomy is one of the most arduous tasks of parenthood.

Read next:

+ The age of biting, hitting and kicking: how do I proceed?

+ How to impose limits for my child?

+ What to do in moments of aggression?

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