What To Do When Your Toddler Screams
The shrieking phase is a nightmare that almost all parents have to deal with. To survive it, you need to remember that the laws of reciprocity do not apply here – restrain yourself from the urge to shriek back!
Remember, your child’s vocabulary is still limited, while her curiosity is endless; this can be quite irksome for a child and sometimes it seems like the only way to express those feelings is through yelling.
While such behavior can be annoying to random strangers and people around you, you cannot always please everyone. Strike a balance, trying to minimize the disturbance to others, without denying your toddler’s need for self expression.
- Do Not Scream Back:
The worst thing that you can do is lose your temper and scream back. This can actually encourage unruly behavior, as toddlers realize that they can elicit a response by screaming and throwing tantrums. In other words, your screaming back gives them the attention they seek, thus reinforcing the behavior. Likewise, caving in to shrieking tantrums to spare yourself any social embarrassment will also encourage such bouts of screaming.
- Differentiate Between The Types Of Screaming…And Have Your Response Ready!:
You need to be more observant and attentive. You will soon notice that not every incident of screaming is the same, as toddlers resort to such behavior in a variety of situations. Being able to discern the cause of the screaming will allow you to provide the most effective and appropriate response. For example, an excited toddler may scream in delight and can easily be calmed with a loving hug; you can also calm toddler who is screaming because she feels excluded by simply picking her up, placing her on your lap or by talking or singing to her.
- Distraction Works Wonders:
It’s no secret that kids have endless curiosity and can get interested in a variety of objects in a brief span of time. This makes it fairly easy to distract them, especially if your child is screaming because of their frustration or unhappiness with a particular situation. The next time your tiny tot is shrieking, you can simply hand him an interesting new object, or sing her some catchy rhymes.
- Praising Good Behavior:
Children crave attention and appreciation, especially from their parents. Whenever your child is well behaved, make sure to show your appreciation by lavishing plenty of attention. Such positive reinforcement techniques can help to encourage good behavior and will reduce the occurrence of screaming.
- Show Them Boundaries, Be Consistent:
Toddlers are not yet socialized and are unlikely to understand the principle of cause and effect. This is something that they learn over time as you reinforce positive behavior. It helps them learn the difference between right and wrong. You need to set a good example and should draw clear boundaries. Always be consistent in your approach, as you will otherwise send mixed signals that can be confusing to a child.
- Give Them Attention Or They Will Scream To Get It!!:
Nothing is more embarrassing than having your child scream and throw a tantrum in a public place like a restaurant or mall. Toddlers usually resort to such behavior to get your attention. Instead of pandering to their demands and encouraging such behavior, give your child adequate attention when you are outdoors – this can help to avoid such outbursts. If your child still throws a screaming fit when you are out, make it clear that such behavior will not be tolerated, in a firm but gentle manner. You can also use the distraction tip to your advantage in such situations.
- When All Else Fails, Simply Detach Yourself:
Sometimes, despite your great parenting skills and immeasurable patience, your child may keep shrieking and not respond to your attempts to regain control. In such situations where you start to feel like you may lose your cool, simply detach yourself; pretend that it’s someone else’s child screaming and that you are merely a spectator.
Although much harder to do, this helps control noisy outbursts, as toddlers quickly learn that their screaming will do them no good.