How to handle a screaming toddler?

Your toddler screaming may look mischief, but its developmentally normal phase which sets in at around 14 months. Good news is that your toddler is now alert and self-aware and knows what he wants. At 18 months, toddlers have very little communication skills. A child of this age generally knows not more than fifty words and hence it makes sense that in the absence of language, he uses another outlet to express how he feels. He takes screeching as a way of communicating his needs. But it may not be taken very well by your surroundings and may even cause uncomfortable surroundings.


What to do about it?


  • Identify the cause

They key is to have a few responses ready to keep a balance with your toddler’s need to express. Excitement, tantrums for attention, exhaustion, hunger, being bored, being over-stimulated, uncomfortable etc can be reasons that could lead to a screaming child. For this, you need to identify what triggers his screaming and then acknowledge his feelings. If you know what tends to start the shrieking, you can figure out what he's really trying to say and you can avoid those situations.

For example, if your kid wants your undivided attention, you can prop them up on your lap and smile at them or make some gestures indicating that you are not ignoring them.

  • Do not scream back

Screaming back is the last thing you should do. Follow the rule ‘No screaming at your toddler to stop screaming’. Toddlers enjoy this extra attention that they get by screaming. On the other hand, do not give into their demands to stop the screech, as this will convey them that screaming will get them what they want.

  • Distract

You can divert him/her and make them do some other activity or hand some interesting objects. Or better way is to catch his attention by talking to him in a low pitch so he gains curiosity to listen to you.  You can sometimes also try ignoring it, although it’s not going to be easy and is not something that must be done frequently.

  • Know the exceeds

As the pitch of a baby's cry increases, so does the urgency to respond to his needs arise. A distinctive ultra-high-pitched cry can indicate the presence of neurological problems. You should asses if the noise is because he is distressed or is he/he being overtly joyous.

  • Coach on the difference of private & social conversations

Teach the concept of social and private voice tone. Give a demo of how you talk in home and how you do outside home. Teach your child different ways to communicate (he can come near to you and signal what he wants).

  • Deal with anxiety

The fact that tots have poor impulse control makes them react repulsively especially when they are in public or when you go off their sight. This can also sometimes be separation anxiety. What he/she needs is a slow time for introductions with acquaintances or new faces/environments.

Why scribbling for toddlers?


Does scribbling make sense?

Scribbles may not make sense to adults but these lines and loops and sniggles are meaningful to a young child.

Why is scribbling so important for young children?

  • Scribbling and drawing are the first steps in learning to write for a preschooler.
  • They are a child’s creative way of penning his/her thoughts.
  • Children use this very skill in their later stage of writing, from as early as kindergarten or nursery or much later in life when they need a penchant for writing.
  • It’s a good way to release their emotions.
  • Scribbling allows pre-schoolers to write to feel independent, as they are usually told what ‘not to do’ and this activity sets them free to follow their whims and fancies fully.
  • Experiences in early childhood are ways of approaching life. And all that which is learnt through creativity gives positive brain reinforcement.

Encourage scribbling and drawing

  • Set out lots of paper, pencils, crayons, and markers so children can draw or scribble whenever they want.
  • Give away plane sheets which allow them free style drawing. Let them put their own thoughts into the scribbles.
  • Encourage making miss you, love you cards for friends and family so the kid gets to leave his impression with those vague scribbles.
  • Ask the child to explain what is written when he comes to show you his drawing.
  • Make drawing and scribbling important by clipping it to the walls.
  • Do not give negative comments as this may discourage your toddler from showing his/her drawing again.