After watching some of our videos, a parent asked what to do with a child who cries for no reason. I thought this is a question in every toddler’s parent as I myself have a toddler at home. Here’s my advice in one word, ‘Just chill’. He/She will be alright. I’d like to explain from my own experience.
Why do they do that?
My daughter is 3 year old and she is “that” child. She screams suddenly and throws things around for no reason. To the extent that in my street, I am known as the dad of ‘that’ screaming child. While telling stories, she would scream if the book is not kept in a certain position. She wants wear the shirt on her own, but I surely know she will scream while trying to put the second hand in. She would keep a ball in her hand, cry… and give it to me and cry even more. When I try to give it back to her, the crying exponentially increases. While getting down a spiral staircase, she would cry because they are not symmetric.
I’ll give you an experience I had recently. We went to Fun city for the first time and she wanted to get into the enclosed play area. This is the area where only children are let in and they have all kinds of physical activities from slides to punch bags to ball pools. Parents are not allowed inside this area. She was 2 years and 10 months old. As soon as she asked for it, me and my wife were envisioning a screaming child who will throw things around, cry for not being able to do something, or other children were faster than her or God knows what reason. We for some reason decided to do it, faked her birthdate (first time) for her to become a 3 year old and let her in. We bid her bye, hid behind a pillar and watched. What happened next shocked us. Both of us were on the top of the world looking at this peaceful, most adjusting person in the world. She stood in a Q for her turn, when someone played things wrong she told them something (We couldn’t hear) and got down, when balls were thrown around, she picked them and put them back in the ball pool etc etc etc. Let me tell you what we did with her when she threw tantrums at home.
What did we do?
When she screamed, we never reacted. Positive, or negative. We never took things away from her. We never gave her a solution. We just gave her some time to figure it out. If she wants to try again, or throw it away, or didn’t want it in front of her; just stand there with a face that says we understand her. Very few times when she was frustrated for a long time, we tried distraction her into something else. But nowhere did we say “that is too big for you” or “Lets not do that again” or “Don’t scream people are sleeping” or even carry her and console her.
After she is done with her screaming, there is a point when everyone is silent and she thinks. I was very careful to never disturb that moment. She thinks and the decisions that she takes at that moment are the ones I saw at the Fun City. Most of the times, she tried doing it again and screamed again. But we let her do whatever she decided.
Will Art help me?
One another constant and regular thing we did with our daughter was to expose her to things that did not have a specific structure or needed less focus and needed her own time. While she was getting frustrated with lego blocks, she was getting less frustration with crayons and play dough. Not that she did not throw tantrum at all, but she didn’t know what was going wrong immediately. There was no task given and we did not tell her the right way of doing it. We just asked her to do whatever she wants and I would do keep doing the right thing sitting in front of her. While she was just scribbling on the whole page, I would sit opposite to her and colour various shapes. While she is playing around with the clay, I am sitting there making clay balls. This calmed her down a lot and she also knew it was ok to do things wrong.
I still hear you asking “When will this change?” I don’t have an answer for that. But all I can say is, I have seen children come out of this in just 2 days. They will behave as if they have never screamed in their lives. So wait for that time and never guilt trip your child for screaming. More importantly, don’t stress yourself about the screaming and crying. You know when they are uncontrollably crying or faking a tantrum just to get things done.
Have you found other ways of dealing with it? Or are you struggling with some other issues? Write to us and let’s together find solutions. Happy Parenting!