Is your toddler laughing one minute and having a tantrum on the floor the next? Believe it or not, this is all pretty normal. In fact, most toddlers are moody. Not to be mistaken for bad or negative behavior, these mood swings and quick changes in emotion has a lot to do with them growing up. Sure, you might feel like strangling them or yelling at the top of your lungs, however, it won’t resolve the matter. The best thing you can do as a parent is maintaining composure and try to understand why your little one could be acting out this way.
They’re Trying to Express Themselves (But Can’t)
One of the first reasons why toddlers act out is because they’re trying to express themselves, but do not yet possess the language to do so. As most toddlers aged 1 to 3 only have a vocabulary of about 20 words, it can be frustrating to try and tell mom or dad what’s on your mind.
Solution: As tempting as it might be to yell it is best instead to try and pay attention to your toddler and help them further express themselves. For example, if your child catches a tantrum every time you get them dressed they could have sensitivities to certain materials or seams and tags. A resolution, in this case, might be to look for tagless t-shirts or seamless kids socks online. If they start throwing their food around at mealtime, perhaps they’re trying to tell you they don’t like what’s for dinner. A solution would be to try and create a menu of foods they do enjoy.
Their Emotions aren’t Easy to Control
There are some adults who have a hard time dealing with overwhelming feelings. So, imagine how difficult it must be for your toddler. Only having lived a few years they don’t have the reasoning skills required to move past what they’re feeling.
Solution: Let’s say your child was playing with their toys and it was time to clean up for dinner. You tell them to put away their toys and they immediately begin bawling their eyes out and throwing things about the room. They are upset because they want to continue playing and don’t understand that they can come back to it after they’ve finished their meal. Talk to your child in a stern but understanding voice and explain that you know they’re upset, but it’s important that they eat. Follow-up with a reward of sorts explaining that they can come back and play with toys, or get in the tub after dinner.
They Can’t Have Their Way
Another reason that tantrums may be common with your toddler is simply that they want to have things their way. However, when they try to do something and fail at it, or are told they can’t by their parents, it immediately turns into an emotional outburst.
Solution: Giving in to your toddler’s demands is not recommended. If they were upset because they couldn’t wear rainboots and a cowboy hat to school, for instance, you wouldn’t just let them walk out the door looking crazy. Instead, you provide them with options that you are most comfortable with, that will make them feel in control. This might mean giving them a choice between three hats and a few pairs of shoes.
When your toddler is all giggles and laughs one minute and then has temper tantrums, loud emotional outbursts, or starts throwing things around out of the blue, don’t be too alarmed. This is simply their way of processing their emotions and expressing themselves. As they’re unaware of how their emotions work or how to express themselves, it becomes necessary for you as the parent to stay calm. Talk to them in a calm voice and utilize the solutions above to try and put out the fire.