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Tired of Tantrums? Helping Your Toddler Work Through Their Feelings

The first year of your baby’s life is spent decoding cries: Are they tired? Hungry? Gassy? Need a new diaper? Over time, you get pretty good at reading their cues and meeting their needs before the crying escalates.

But at around 12 months you may notice your (now) toddler getting upset over anything from not getting to pick out a toy at the store to being served peas rather than toast.

Tantrums or “upsets” are par for the course when it comes to raising toddlers. Although unpleasant, upsets are a normal part of a toddler’s development. As toddlers become more independent, they can also become more persistent. They are learning to think for themselves and regulate their emotions. Sometimes a toddler’s emotions can overwhelm them. Helping your child understand what their feelings are and what to do about it is a lifelong skill.

What Upsets Look Like

Some upsets pass fast, others can go on for quite some time and you may see:

Crying (without being hurt)

  • Screaming and yelling
  • Stomping feet
  • Falling to the floor
  • Some toddlers will hold their breath for a short time
  • Refusing to leave a location, especially if they are having fun

The life of a toddler is filled with little frustrations. They want to touch, taste, and experience everything and, as a result, are told “no” more than they’d like to hear. In addition, there are other reasons your toddler might become upset:

  • Things do not go as they expected
  • They don’t know the words to use to ask for what they want
  • Being overtired or hungry

For tips on preventing upsets as well as calming strategies, visit lanekids.org.

This article is brought to you by Parenting Now Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis, and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com). 

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