The only thing worse than hearing the clarion call of a screaming toddler in public is realizing that its your very own toddler making all the noise. But it happens. The good news is that it’s perfectly normal. Knowing how to handle your child’s outburst can make both of you more comfortable.
Why Toddlers Scream
Your toddler is very busy exploring the world and her limits. As she masters walking and gross motor control, your toddler will move to vocalizing and language. Just as she tries out a wide range of sounds on her road to language mastery, she will also test a wide range of volume levels to express her emotions and get the results she wants. But sometimes toddlers scream just to hear the sound of their own voice.
Toddlers don’t just scream in frustration. Instead, they scream in response to a wide range of emotions. Laughter can quickly turn to a scream as play ramps up. Toddlers may also wail when someone they love leaves or a toy is removed. However, they will just as quickly squeal with joy when that person or toy returns to them.
How to Handle It
The first thing to understand is that screaming is normal. Don’t get upset or embarrassed when your toddler behaves like a toddler. Instead, start teaching your child limits. Differentiate between an indoor and an voice. When inside a building, model a lower volume. When outside, yell, run and have fun with your little one. When your child screams, remind her to use an indoor voice. Don’t get frustrated if she doesn’t catch on in a day or two. It will take time.
Screaming at Night
At bedtime you may be particularly vulnerable to screaming. Your toddler may scream rather than go quietly to bed. Both parents and child are tired and less able to control emotions. Keep your own emotions under control. Yelling at a toddler only escalates the situation. Remind your child that she is loved, safe and that it is time for bed. Sit quietly in the room, or near the door, until she quiets and is ready for sleep.