Just when you thought you were ''Mom of the Year,'' a high-energy toddler outburst tells you that you still have a lot to learn. Toddler outbursts usually come in two different forms -- completely hyper and disobeying behavior and the standard-issue temper tantrum. Both can leave you scratching your head when your previously calm child experiences a surge of energy that leaves her driving you -- and everyone else in a 10-mile radius -- completely insane. Watching the signs, and knowing what triggers your toddler's crazy behavior can help you stop an outburst in its tracks so you can get that ''Mom of the Year'' trophy.
1. Signs and Symptoms
Moms know all too well the signs of an impending outburst. If it's of the high-energy, hyper variety, some of the signs might be a break down in behavior, such as not listening when you ask her to calm down or ignoring you completely. Sudden stimulation can also amp up her energy levels. If your child's outburst is of the kicking and screaming variety, you'll get a head's up when your child whines or seems tired but suddenly perks up when she wants something, according to Heidi Murkoff's "What to Expect: The Toddler Years."
High-energy outbursts have a few causes, most of which can be avoided. First, over stimulation can be one a main culprit, since a certain cartoon, a trip or an activity can cause your little one to feel hyper and out of control. Your child might be overtired, and showing tiredness as a "second wind." Of course, your child can also have an outburst if you expect her to be on her best behavior over a long period of time. If you're talking tantrums, removing our child's ability to make choices can cause her to funnel her energy through a tantrum rather than a high-spirited burst of disobedience. "The child is seeking attention or is tired, hungry, or uncomfortable," according to KidsHealth.org, a division of the Nemours Foundation.
Prevention is usually the best medicine when it comes to sudden outbursts from a hyper kid. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep and that you work trips and outings around nap time. If you are participating in something stimulating, keep it short and if you're doing something quiet, look for ways for your little one can expel her energy -- like heading to a park for 10 minutes. Toddler tantrums can be prevented in similar ways, with proper sleep and avoiding over stimulation, but if your little one is throwing a fit because you won't buy the right fruit snacks, see if there's another choice that she can make, such as choosing a yogurt flavor or picking an outfit. The Child Welfare Information Gateway notes that giving small choices can help your child feel more in control.
4. Possible Issues
While all toddlers have tantrums every now and again, if your child seems constantly hyper or overstimulated, see your pediatrician. While hyperactivity disorders, like ADHD and other disorders, such as autism are difficult to diagnose at an early age -- the American Academy of Family Physicians notes that school-aged children are usually evaluated. Your pediatrician might suggest some ways to prevent high-energy outbursts, like avoiding large, crowded spaces or giving your little one something to hold or squeeze. Your pediatrician can also be on the lookout in the future for possible diagnoses, as your child gets older.
- KidsHealth.org: Temper Tantrums
- What to Expect. The Toddler Years; Heidi Murkoff, et al.; 2008; Workman Publishing; p. 171-172
- LiveScience: Decoding Temper Tantrums: The Nuances of a Toddler's Outbursts
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Dealing with Temper Tantrums
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Evaluation and Treatment of ADHD
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images