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Toddler whinging and random hysterics - is this normal?(18 Posts)
Writing in despair as my 22 month old dd has hysterics in the next room (with dh doing bedtime) because she doesnt want her nappy on but how can dh put her to bed in her cot without one on - nowhere near potty trained or dry yet.
No idea what brought this on - it is yet another random outburst of the many we are getting. She is tired but 5 nights out of 7 bed time is a battle. She also seems prone to frequent whinging / crying for no apparent reason. There is nothing medically wrong with her and she is otherwise (and especially when with other people) a bright bubbly little girl).
Can anyone tell me if this is just normal toddler behaviour. If so what are you supposed to do about it that is kind and compassionate - we are not into leaving her to cry or ignoring?
oh yes just normal toddler behaviour unfortunately.
I find ignoring tantrums to be a very effective way of dealing with them - unless of course they are genuinely upset about something and not just having a tantrum for the sake of having a tantrum.
I'm not sure you can altogether avoid leaving to cry and ignoring - the point is you learn to distinguish crying about something real from toddler tantrums where actually the kindest thing is to not take it too seriously. Obviously distraction is the best tool, but I'm sure you know that. Toddler Taming by Christopher Green was a good book, I thought.
I second what belgo says. 90% of these tantrums are all for your benefit and if you run to every one, they will have you running round like headless chickens! I have a 22m year old boy and there are plenty of tantrums regularly, but most of them are ignored and its amazing how quickly he stops when he sees mummy not reacting
yes but surely there's a difference between a tantrum which is more like angry defiant crying and genuine upset crying with tears streaming down face
if you ignore then how do you ever find out what is the matter - personally I couldnt just walk out of a room when dd is like she was earlier tonight (now asleep thank god)
sometimes I feel out of sorts for no apparent reason and get grumpy stroppy with the people I live with, but if the people I loved ignored me then I would feel really crap about myself. I just wonder if when they are so young they dont know how to express how they feel and dont even understand how they feel.
but it sure is nice to know I am not the only one going through this as it is so wearing on the nerves and causes me to worry whether dd is unhappy
any other tips for how to cope with life with a demanding toddler
Bumbleweed - just a thought but if most of the battles are taking place at bedtime, is it because she's tired? DD (now nearly 3 yr) went through a very similar phase and I brought her bedtime forward half an hour which made all the difference?
Maybe try monitoring her sleeping patterns with her behaviour to see if lack of sleep is a factor - what time does she go to bed, how many hours does she sleep, does she have a nap? etc.
Hope that helps but in answer to your op, yes - it is completely normal, I'm afraid. I use a combination of ignoring, distracting and (when she's really hysterical) just holding her and rubbing her back until she calms down. It will get easier as her language progresses, I promise
the only way i ever found that made me feel OK was to forget about the issue that triggered the tantrum and talk about other things cheerfully and quietly, maybe about what stories she might like tonight, or funny things that happened in the day that you enjoyed. i'm sure you do this anyway; i know i've had to do it for 15 minutes occasionally before ds has stopped howling and joined in.
sorry if this is a grandmother/eggs scenario. i didn't have a clue before ds was born and not much more now tbh...
I agree with Choosy. I wouldn't get too hung up on why she's having the tantrum because most of the time it will be either 1. impossible for her to explain due to her limited language skills, or 2. impossible for you to do anything about (one of our good ones was when she wanted to build a snowman and it was June) or 3. somewhere where she is in the wrong (eg she hit her baby brother and you told her off) - it's relatively unusual for you to be able to go 'Oh, you wanted another breadstick! Sure, here it is!'
You can ignore the tantrum without ignoring her - you can make it clear that there is still pleasant chatty family life going on and she can come back to it whenever she fancies. Sometimes leaving the room for a little while is just a way to focus her attention on that (Oh, look, mummy's gone!)
I am also a relative beginner though - mine is only about 4 months older than yours!
bumble, i see your original post was at nearly 8pm and DD was just going to bed, so it could well be she is tired. If my boys, 2.8 don't nap at nursery, they near always fall asleep in the car on the way home so i have to wake them to get them out and then we have half an hour of the screaming abdabs until they calm down.
I found CBEEBIES a god send for bedtime routine - it's timed just right to get em into bed at a reasonable time and In The Night Garden really chills them (and me!) out. They now know, when the credits roll its bedtime. We still have a few tears during bath and getting dressed, but always in bed by 7 and asleep by half past.
oh btw i remembered this afternoon that for a while we dealt with nappy tantrums by just leaving the nappy off until ds was asleep. However, you have to set an alarm or something to make sure you go back and put it on - or have very good mattress protectors and a lot of bedding!
sorry it has taken me all weekend to get back to this just wanted to thank you all for your posts and ideas
is she tired? yes often probably but since being only a few months old has resisted and fought off sleep at all costs - and no technique of the very very many we have tried has changed this. she wakes early no matter what and although she has a fairly constant bed-time routine and totally sensible bathtime of 6.30pm latest, the time she will actually go to sleep is totally variable.
will definitely bear in mind that it gets better as she is better able to express herself, and will try the just leaving nappy off thing - tonight she refused her pyjama top and I just had to go with it and covered her up later on
feeling bit more cheerful about it all today, as met up with a friend who has an equally demanding toddler and it was good to talk
dd now 8. She was demanding from 2 weeks old and is more so now! Tbh i learned to accept what she is, let her get on with things that don't really matter (what clothes she wears, 1 ponytail or 2 in her hair, orange or apple juice etc) but stand my ground on important issues. Leave her nappy off if she doesnt want it on. She may actually be fine or she could put it on at last minute because decision is then hers. I found with my dd if i left it to be her decision she'd do what i wanted anyway once i stopped telling her to do it! Its definitely a girl thing!
I must have a girly boy then...! He is just the same tbh. I don't have many answers but I agree with letting go on control of the little things that don't matter and picking your battles, saving them for the bigger things that do
Can you turn any of it into a game? Make it a joke? I found with my over wired and over tired dd at bath/bed time, she would resist the nappy, or the pyjamas, or whatever she fancied resisting, and getting cross or stern about it just made it worse. Either the joke business about having to catch her to put it on (with lots of hahahahas etc...) or saying "quickly quickly, let's put your pyjamas on before you miss the start of Night Garden " (or whatever), would help. Definitely not worth engaging in a battle, or showing ANY weakness re: not putting on the nappy/pyjama top or whatever it was....
It's tiring though, isn't it? Good luck!
You might find that you can begin to reason with her. DS2 is 23 months and is definitely learning about the need to do one thing before another can happen - eg get into his high chair before he can have his tea. I would try explaining that the sequence of events is nappy on, then milk/stories/whatever aspect of bedtime she enjoys. Good luck!
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