When you hear: "Why can't I do it?"
Your toddler insists on fastening her raincoat herself, then bursts into tears when she can't do it.
The fix: It's tempting to take over, but that may make the situation worse, since all kids want to be master of their universe. Here, it's best to be patient yourself. "Let your child do as much as she can," says Dr. Bellando. "When she starts struggling, ask her if she needs help." Never tell her she can't do it.
If your toddler won't let you pitch in, offer some soothing words of encouragement ("I know you'll get it soon"). And because kids think that adults know everything, she may feel comforted if you tell her about a time you felt frustrated.