Ohh.. This is it! All of a sudden, the little one finds the joy of flexing his almighty vocal muscles! And he’s executing it well to deafen your ears and shatter all glass!
You must be thinking why is my kid doing this? Well, I did. I bring my little devil two to playgroup once a week. 90% if not all the other kids are behaving well, except him. Why is mine so different? He’d scream at the top of his lungs and would not stop.
I tried to ignore him, even spanking him. But it didn’t work. Well the spanking kind of worked for a while, and he’s back to his nasty behavior again.
So, after much reading and discussions with other moms (with real life experiences), I’ve summed up this:
5 Ways To Stop Your Toddler Screaming
#1 Distract his attention.
When your toddler starts to scream, shift his attention to something else. Usually, I will point to anything around him and say ‘What’s that?’. Most of the time it works. I then carry on talking about that ‘something’ and gradually get back to what I was doing.
I tried tickling him too. But sometimes it upsets him more, and he’d even hit me. It works fine for my friends though. She said her child would be giggling in no time.
You can also give your child a toy or a book. Really, anything that would distract his attention and give you a peace of mind.
#2 Time Out.
This one requires a bit of practice. When my son starts screaming, I will find a spot and make him stand there for a short time.
At home, he has a little naughty corner in the living room. When he does something wrong, for example screaming, I’ll take his toys away, and get him into the naughty corner.
When we are in playgroup, I’ll put him on top of a table so he can’t go down and play. Of course, I am by his side for safety reason. In the beginning, he’d cry wanting to go down. You just have to be firm and explain to him bad behavior leads to punishment. He will learn eventually.
#3 Acknowledging his feeling.
Sometimes your toddler screams for no reason, but sometimes for good reasons. To me, it all depends on what he is doing when he screams. If he screamed when he’s out in the yard playing, it could be an insect bite, snake bite, falling down etc. I always check on him thoroughly.
But if he screamed when he’s watching the cartoon, usually it’s for silly reasons. My son screams every time he sees cookie monster. Like are you serious?! Usually, I’ll stop him by saying ‘Don’t Be Silly’.
Acknowledging his feeling is one thing, giving in to him is another. We as parents have to be firm and consistent in our parenting. Don’t give in just to stop him screaming.
#4 Run Errands based on his schedule.
I find this to be a reciprocal situation. There are times where I wake my Bubba up at this ungodly hours to suit my schedule. Sometimes, I’ll suit his.
Understand your toddler’s schedule, and try to avoid any activities during his nap time or sleeping time. Obviously, a cranky child tends to scream more. So, feed him on time, change his nappy, and he’s happy. Happy Baby = Happy Mommy.
#5 Signaling Action.
My son is an early riser, but his father isn’t. Since he begins to understand more, I have been teaching him this signaling action – finger over lips. Every morning I’d put my finger over lips and say the word ‘quiet’ or ‘shhh’ in the softest tone ever and say ‘daddy’s sleeping’.
Somehow, some way, he just learned that he needs to be quiet. It works well when he screams too. I’ll just put my finger over lips, and he gets the message. Not all the time, but Most of the time.
Which is not bad, really.
You see, we need to understand a few facts here about toddler screaming.
He has just learned that he can make voice, or rather, noise. He’s experimenting and he doesn’t know he’s annoying you.
To a toddler, it’s all about verbal expression. He is constantly trying to express happiness, pain, frustration, all sorts of emotions. And the only way he knows is making voice (noise!).
Don’t take it too personally. If you did, you will become so frustrated and you end up suffering yourself because he doesn’t know a thing.
One thing you have to keep in mind is that DO NOT let him manipulate you with screaming. Do not give in just to stop them screaming. There are times I just ignore him and walk away. I know that if I give in once, or twice, and he’ll soon control me!
This phase will pass as your child grow to understand instructions better. So hang in there, parents! You’re not alone for sure!
Bonus #6 → Get the earplugs! :p