Advice — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months


my son is going to be 16 months on the 17th lately he has been starting the tantrums a bit stomping his feet and just laying on the floor crying (that part he doesn't do that much and if he does he just lays there) if he doesn't get his way he gets mad for a few seconds and throws his pacifier or sippy cup. He was never like this and no one does this around him. He was usually a happy baby until about a week or two ago. Also lately we have been putting him down in the bed to sleep instead of rocking and the first few days he was fine went to bed no problem but the last three days he has been basically crying himself to sleep he cries so hard I have to rock him until he is drowsy to get him to calm down and then when he is calm and drowsy I put him on the bed and he falls asleep. He doesn't do this with his dad, why is he doing this? Could it also be that I just started working again this is my third week working at my job I was a stay at home mom from April till now.

Re: Advice

  • First off, tantrums are a completely normal part of toddler development. Unfortunately for us parents, every toddler has them because their brains just aren't developed enough to deal with negative emotions so they go kaboom, many times over very insignificant things,  but to them, they are very significant. 

    Ways to deal
    1. Don't loose your cool. I know this one is tough, especially when it's in the middle of the grocery store. But letting them see they are getting a rise out of you will only make it worse. 

    2. Don't give in to whatever caused the tantrum or it goes from being a normal expression of toddler feelings to being a way to get what they want. 

    3. Make sure that their basic needs are met. Are they do for a nap? Are they hungry? Is it because you have been running errands all day and they are overstimulated and at the end of their rope? Are you putting them into a situation that they developmentally can't handle? (like taking a 2 year old into a toy store to buy a toy for someone else). By keeping this stuff in mind, you can prevent some tantrums to begin with. 

    4. Distract if you can, get them out of the situation if you can, and be available for hugs and soothing, but step away if they start hitting you, ect. For us, asking what different animals say and then making the sounds or reciting a favorite story works great. Obviously if the tantrum is over a time out, you have to let them scream for the duration of the timeout and then calm them down after. 

    As for bedtimes, do you mean that he goes down fine for dad awake, but not you? I've personally found that because I'm the primary caregiver in our house, DH has more luck sometimes with doing bedtime stuff because there's less separation anxiety with him. Do you have a bedtime routine? When you talk about putting him down awake, do you still rock him first? You may need to rock him until he's drowsy and then put him down as a transition for a while before you can put him in bed fully awake, but even when you do put him to bed fully awake, you will probably need to rock him first since that has become part of his "it's time to sleep" cues. 

    Our bedtime routine is turn on white noise and dim lights, diaper, pj's, teeth brushing, bottle, then rocking with 3 songs with the lights out, then we lay her down, say prayers and leave the room. 
  • +1 to tantrums being developmentally appropriate at this age. I have a 15m old and he will tantrum if he can't have what he wants. Also, they are at that age where they understand a lot but cannot communicate effectively, which would be frustrating for anyone. 

    For the bedtime issue, remember that routine is comforting, so if you have been rocking him to sleep then this change from you is going to be unsettling at first. It will take some time for this to become the new normal and the adjustment period can be sucky. The fact that this is happening around the same time as a different change in his routine (your returning to work) might be relevant, but I wouldn't let that stop you from trying to go ahead and start this right now. 

    My son had a similar problem with naps, where he needed to be rocked to a dead sleep before being put down, otherwise it was endless screaming. I ended up doing some sleep training and the entire sleep routine (naps and bedtime) is much better for it. Some people think sleep training is mean, but it really isn't that bad. There is crying, but contrary to popular belief you aren't just letting your kid scream endlessly. And we began to see results in like, 3 days. I tell my friends who wonder how we got him to be so good about going to sleep, to check out the Ferber book and give it a read. Once you do, maybe you'll want to try something in it, maybe not. But it teaches a lot about sleep in general that is really insightful, in addition to techniques for 'fixing' this type of issue at bedtime. If nothing else, read it to him while you are rocking him sleep, why not? You're stuck rocking him anyway. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • the only thing I have to add is that I'm wondering if your LO is getting his 1st year molars. They've been a huge pain in the ass over here. my guy just turned 16 months and he's been working on his molars for over a month. he will be fine one second and then the next it's a full blown tantrum for up to 45 min. I'm talking inconsolable, won't let us hold him at all. it's esp bad when he's about to go down for a nap or right when he wakes up, I think because he's not distracted from the pain. just wondering if that's what going on with your dude too. 

  • Thank you so much!!! And yes his dad doesn't live with us we are still young and trying to save to buy an apt. Our routine is bath time brush teeth clean up toys have his snack and then a bottle in our room quiet in the bed and sometimes he lets me put him to bed with out rocking if he's really tired if not in have to rock a little then sleep lately he's been ok haven't been crying that much at sleep time with me. Now it's just really tantrums lol
  • Oh and I know my son is teething because I see a lot of drool.. as for molars I am not sure since he started growing teeth after he turned a year it would be two - three at the same time one just finished growing by itself.
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