Toddlers can be extremely moody; their mood swings will be equal to a teenager. Temperament is a huge influencing factor, this differs in each kid. Kids who are flexible and easy going, have a stable mood. But kids, who have intense emotions and impulsive reactions, are said to be ecstatic or enraged. Their moods are unpredictable. They even have a problem going to sleep and moving from one activity to another. Such kids are highly sensitive; they can get overwhelmed easily leading them to give intense responses.
It is important to understand that, whether your child is flexible or enraged, every kid will have their off days. Of course, persuading a moody toddler is definitely not an easy task. But don’t give up, have patience. Do every possible attempt to cheer up your toddler. Take him to a park, play games such as ‘hide and seek’, ‘doctor and patient’, and encourage him to dance to his favorite music. Your kid may take a lot of time to snap out, but if you give up and leave him unattended it will have a huge impact on him psychologically. Kids need to be loved, cared, and pampered.
Reasons why toddlers are so moody
Here are some reasons why toddlers are moody:
They have difficulty communicating their wants and needs
This world is new for the kids between one and three. It is fascinating and each day there is change. But, this change can be frustrating for the kids who just know 20 words. They find it hard to communicate with the limited words they know. Stay calm and try to analyze what your kid wants. Pick the items your toddler possibly wants and give it to him, do this until he is happy.
They have trouble dealing with their emotions
Young kids are easily swept away by emotions as they have hardly any practice in dealing with moods and emotions. You can’t expect logical and reasoning abilities from a young toddler. In order to make your kid understand emotions, try labeling the feeling at that particular time. You can tell, ‘I know you are enjoying playing with toys and you are having fun but you need some rest to continue to play so why don’t we have a small nap time.’
Difficulty in switching from one task to another
Making transitions is the main trigger for mood swings in toddlers. It takes a lot of their mental and physical strength to adapt to the world that is changing every day. Your kid might be putting a lot of concentration in his play than it seems to you. Kids get cranky when they are asked to shift focus to something else as they would be doing the previous task with full focus. Try the sequencing technique. With simple instructions, let him know when changeovers come.
They don’t really understand the concept of time
Don’t expect your toddler to follow your schedule politely. Kids don’t understand the concept of later, not now, and waiting. You may have planned the park schedule for late evening but your kid may compel you to take him at mid-noon. And kids can’t wait for anything if they ask for water; it must be in front of them that very second. Otherwise, they get restless or start crying. Always be ready with a distraction. Make sure it is appealing and entertaining.
They feel independent and want to do things as they wish
After two years, toddlers start to feel very independent; they think they have the strength to do any task. But they get frustrated when they realize that they don’t have enough strength to do a particular task or if you stop them while doing it. You can give your kid reasonable choices and make him realize that your choice was better than what he wanted to do.
They are very tired and hungry
Toddlers are very active as a result they lose lots of energy and become very tired. They get hungry every three hours. This makes them act restless and cranky. Make sure the food you are providing has enough nutrition to keep up to your toddler’s energy.
Tips for dealing with moody toddlers
1. To stop your toddler from doing something risky, put him in a safe place with fewer distractions.
2. Don’t give cookies and candies to calm your toddler. He will take this an advantage and start acting moody, every time he wants a cookie.
3. No matter how much he tests your patience, never scream or argue with your toddler. That can worsen the situation.
4. Ensure your kid is getting enough nutrition, to keep him happy and energetic all day.
5. Do not keep a stressful environment at home. This psychologically affects the kid most. Such environments make them angry, anxious, and moody.
6. Encourage your kid to express himself. Be a good listener and make him feel important. This will boost his confidence and calm him down.