Toddlers can cry for two to three hours in 24 hours, and living with the toddler cries and temper tantrums isn’t easy. You’ll often be all over the internet and pediatrician’s offices looking for a way to stop the wailing.
Toddlers cry for a variety of reasons, and although it may feel frustrating, there is always a purpose to it. Crying may be triggered by the four primary and universal emotions, including happiness, fear, sadness, and anger.
Understanding which among the four universal emotions makes your child cry is key to stopping the wailing. This article will discuss what causes toddlers to cry and how to stop them from crying.
Let’s get started!
Why is my toddler crying?
Generally, toddlers cry when the big emotions of anger, happiness, fear, or sadness are triggered. But these emotions are evoked by a few things, including:
Being overtired is one of the reasons for a crying toddler. The more tired the toddler is, the more difficult it is for them to get sleep – and this may make them cry.
If your little one is rubbing their eyes, breaking eye contact, yawning, or losing interest in activities, it may be time for them to rest. The child may also look restless, and they may pull their legs in pain due to not getting much sleep.
If your child starts to fuss as you approach mealtime, hunger should be the first thing to consider. In toddlers, this is the most common reason for tantrums and wailing.
And as the child grows, they’ll likely demand more meals and snack time during odd hours. If that’s the case, you may want to shift the mealtime schedules to match the child’s eating demands.
3. Stress and frustration
Yes, toddlers too get stressed, and they’ll often cry in response. The stress or frustration may be caused by changes in the environment, a non-functioning toy, failure to meet their demands, etc.
Regardless of what leads to the stress/frustration, your little one may struggle to manage the emotions. Consider what the toddler was doing before they started crying to get a hint of what was causing the frustration.
Visual effects, too much noise, or people can cause crying in toddlers. If that’s the cause, the child will try to take shelter behind your leg or in a corner before they start wailing. Try removing them from the difficult situation and see if their puddle of tears stop.
5. The child wants attention
Sometimes, your little one needs your attention and doesn’t know how to ask for it. If you’ve ruled out fatigue, hunger, stress, and overstimulation, the child may be asking for a little time with you. This is especially true if you often work and leave your child with a caregiver, they may suffer from separation anxiety.
Note: if the child uses crying to gain your attention too often, it can become a cycle that’s hard to break.
How can I stop my toddler from crying?
Knowing why your toddler is crying is the first step to stopping a crying child. You can help your little one understand, identify and manage the emotions behind the expression.
Here are ten techniques you may use to stop your toddler from crying:
Technique #1: Find missed communication
At first glance, crying may feel like manipulation, but this is what’s happening with a toddler every time they cry: they’re trying to communicate a message to you. And since all children will cry until they’re heard, the whining may not end until you ‘get it.’
Finding the missed communication and validating what the little one wants and your child’s feelings, allows you to help them calm down. Only when the kid knows that you understand them can they entertain the idea of finding a solution and eventually calming down.
For instance, if you’re in the grocery store and your child starts to cry over a favorite toy, letting them know that you understand they want the toy is the first step towards calming them down. You may then in a calm voice, promise to buy them a bigger toy if they stop crying or offer any other solution.
Technique #2: Meet the underlying healthy need
All toddlers’ behaviors are influenced by three healthy needs: experience, power, and connection. Everything the little one does focuses on meeting these needs.
If the toddler is trying to meet either of the three needs, and it’s not working, they’ll likely persist repeatedly until the need is met. They may cry to seek attention and help in accomplishing their needs.
Technique #3: Pay attention to your words
There is no doubt that toddlers’ cries and whines can be frustrating. But that shouldn’t be a reason for you to raise your emotional temperature.
Calm down and avoid using words that may cause more frustration in your little one. Saying things like “stop crying” or “Shh, people are looking at you” will not calm the child down – it may even worsen the situation.
Instead, use affirming words, like “I’m here with you” or “Let’s talk about it.” These words will likely calm the child and stop them from crying.
Technique #4: Discover patterns
If your child is crying all the time in a specific pattern, it can be a good thing for you. You can now anticipate the whining before it happens, make a plan and work on it proactively.
Identify the underlying need that could be making your child cry and work on it accordingly. For instance, if the toddler is crying over the power need, you should look for ways to make them feel more control over the specific situation. It could also be they got too little sleep or not enough sleep and need a most established bedtime routine.
Technique #5: Look at the basics
Most parents understandably overlook the basic reasons that may make a toddler cry or whine. And that’s because most of them are busy, often forgetting the core things.
Here are a few questions to guide you in identifying if the child’s basics are being met:
– Is your little one getting enough outdoor playtime?
– Is your toddler getting enough rest for their development and age level?
– Is your kid getting enough nutrients for healthy body development?
– Do you get time to play or enjoy with your child?
These questions should help you identify the child’s fundamental needs and work towards meeting them.
Technique #6: Turn up the music
You don’t need to limit your lullabies when your little ones threaten to shed tears. Instead, play the lullabies and try other music genres to the child to stop them from crying.
Like movement, music can calm the child’s nervous system, reducing their respiratory and heart rate. This calms your little loved ones, encouraging them to relax and sleep.
And never underestimate the power of your voice. You may not be Adele or a Taylor Swift when it comes to singing, but your voice can soothe your child to sleep. A familiar voice and rhythm will entertain most toddlers, helping them relax.
Technique #7: Use the five S’s to soothe your child
If you can’t tell what is upsetting your little one, focus on making the environment as comfortable and soothing as possible. You can achieve this using the five S’s, including:
– Swaddling with a warm blanket
– Laying the little one on their side
– Shushing the child
– Gently swinging the kid
– Allowing the little one to suck
This will help the toddler feel super relaxed and calm, especially if they aren’t crying for a specific reason.
Technique $8: Put out the lights and cut the music
Toddlers can easily get overstimulated by the noise and lights of everyday life. Remember, they are still trying to adapt to the change from a quiet womb to the noisy and bright days.
Thus, putting off the light and cutting the music can sometimes work to stop the toddler from crying. It will make them calm and relaxed.
Technique #9: Play it back
You may also record your little one when they fuss and cry and let them listen to it when they are about to cry again. In most cases, the child will be fascinated by the sounds of a crying or fussing baby, calming them.
Here is why the technique works: At times, the little ones have difficulty calming down, even after the offending agent is taken care of. However, a distraction like the sound of themselves crying can work wonders to calm the baby.
Technique #10: Seek Professional Help
If you’ve tried every tip on this list and the little one won’t stop crying, consider making an appointment with their pediatrician. The uncontrollable fusing, crying, and whining could be due to underlying medical issues, like an ear infection.
Some indications that it’s time to call a doctor include:
- When the crying is frequent, prolonged, and unexplained
- When patterned behavior like fidgeting and rocking accompanies the crying
- When fever or other signs of sickness accompanies crying.
- If an illness makes the child cry, the pediatrician will help manage the problem.
The bottom line
Crying is a normal part of child development, and we all benefit from a good cry. It eases anxiety, releases stress, and eliminates emotional pain.
But for toddlers, the crying can get out of hand at times. They can cry for hours and hours, especially if they are sick, hungry, stressed, overstimulated, or when they need a hug from you! The best thing is to always acknowledge your child’s emotions and try to offer a safe place your child can express their feelings when having a hard time.
This post provides you with ten techniques to help you stop a toddler from crying. Good luck as you purpose to use it at home!