Blog, Parenting Tips, Toddler Tips

MY Cranky Toddler – What’s the Problem?

When babies grow to to be toddlers, you will notice how new behaviors emerge. Unfortunately, some of these traits are going to be less than desirable, because crankiness is a common phase among small children. Two year olds are referred as to being in “the terrible 2’s” for a reason. Same goes for 3-year olds that have earned the nickname, “threenager.” That being said, there are several reasons behind toddler irritability, so continue reading this article as we explore some possible reasons why your toddler is so cranky!

Toddlers Exert Voice and their Independence

The fact of the matter is, many toddlers are able to do some things on their own. For instance, some can sit through a movie, or for a long period of time. However, they are unable to do things such as decide when the movie has to be turned off. Toddler irritability is also due to the fact that because their speech is just coming in, they still are unable to really express how they feel through sentences.

Therefore, they can display distressing behaviors such as flopping on the floor, biting, screaming in public and show resistance in other ways.

The good news is, there are ways to manage these behaviors displayed by your toddler. Listed below are methods to use when calming a cranky toddler.

  • Be calm while disciplining your toddler. If you are screaming at him or her, it will only turn into a screaming match! If you are calm and collect, and keep your voice down no matter how frustrated you are- your toddler will be receptive and eventually realize who is boss!
  • Consistency is key. The best thing to do is to set a schedule for your small child. This way he or she will know what to expect on certain days. Keep lunchtime, nap time, playtime, etc. at the same every day. Sure, there will be circumstantial variations in schedules. Some of the time, you may even be able to plan for those too. However, if your child knows what to expect ahead of time, toddler irritability will be reduced.
  • Never give into tantrums. It is so easy to give into bad behavior that your toddler is displaying just to keep him or her quiet, but what will that teach the child? He or she will quickly learn that in order to get what he or she wants – all that has to be done is to create a huge fuss and throw a tantrum.
  • Start implementing timeouts. Timeouts are incredibly effective because toddlers hate being alone with nothing to do. If they misbehave, and they are threatened by you telling him or her that a timeout is going to happen if the tantrum continues – the tantrum (more than likely) will end quickly.

Keep in mind that toddler irritability is not only caused by these small children exerting their voice and independence. Other factors can come into play.

Your Toddler is Overtired

If your little one hasn’t gotten a good night’s rest, and is beginning to break naps at the same time, he or she may not be getting enough sleep. Therefore in this case, toddler irritability can be explained by being overtired. There are some tips to make sure your child is getting ample rest:

  • Set a strict bedtime schedule. Setting schedules was already discussed previously. However, it is best to get your toddler to bed early such as 7 p.m. each night. If possible, don’t wait until too late at night to get them ready for bed. Young children often rise earlier or more frequently than adults do, so having an earlier bedtime leaves room for your child to potentially get the recommended 8 hours of sleep. If your toddler knows when their usual bedtime is, then chances are he or she will fall asleep rather quickly.
  • Set bath time right before bedtime. When your child is bathed and clean, he or she will feel fresh and calm after. Just in time to go to bed! A great tip to calm your child before bedtime is to use safe and gentle bath time products that contain lavender or other soothing fragrances.
  • Keep nap time short. Toddlers are breaking their naps by age 2. However, if they end up having too long of a nap then they may not sleep well at night when it’s time for bed. A nap lasting for about an hour and a half (90 minutes) is usually just the right amount of time.

There is one last common issue that is behind toddler irritability. That is if they are unwell, but are unable to express that they feel yucky. If your child is cranky, the first thing to do is take his or her temperature. You will also want to monitor how much he or she is eating. If your toddler doesn’t seem hungry, and seem “off,” then there is a good chance that he or she is sick. Even if there is no fever present. Always take your child to the pediatrician if you suspect illness. If there is significant worry or potential danger, take your child the the emergency room right away.

To sum up, remember that your toddler is starting to exert independence and wants his or her voice being heard. There will be plenty of tantrums as a result. But if you can manage these behaviors properly, then the child will grow out of it quicker. Also, make sure your little one is getting ample rest and has a healthy diet. Once you have a handle on all of it, and can get into a routine, then you will find that toddler irritability will be a lot less of a problem!

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