Cranky toddler in the morning — The Bump
Pre-School

Cranky toddler in the morning

3 y/o DD is a total mess in the morning most days. She gets 11-12 hrs of sleep at night and wakes on her own, so it's not an overly tired thing. We've tried asking her, once she's out of her funk, what we can do for her in the morning to make her happier, but she can't differentiate and articulate between now (I want a sucker) and tomorrow morning. She usually snaps out of it 3 hrs after being awake. Any suggestions? This is hard for me, being a morning person.
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Re: Cranky toddler in the morning

  • 3 hours to be cranky in the morning seems like a long time.

    One thing that helped my kids when they were small was a routine.  This can be hard to do if you're a SAHM with younger children, but if you can have some kind of predictable routine, it might help.

    Also, one thing that has always helped my kids (even now that they're big kids) is to get dressed and do bathroom stuff BEFORE breakfast.  It's tempting to sit around and watch TV with the pjs on -- cozy too!  But I found I got more resistance to getting dressed and brushing teeth if I waited until later in the morning to tackle those tasks.
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • She hasn't taken a nap since she turned 2. She does have quiet time in her room usually twice a day. Our morning routine is always the same-eat breakfast together as a family, play for a bit, and quiet time in her room while DS naps and I shower. She then gets dressed, followed by a snack. Her mood can change on a dime- one minute she's crazy cranky, the next she's happy. I just wish I knew how to flip that switch myself.
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  • Okay, describe "cranky."  Is she cranky about issues related to the morning routine?  Defiant?  Cries more? 

    The more you describe it, the less it sounds related to sleep.  She's a young 3; could it be that she's just still working out some toddler negativity?
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • When she wakes up, she's usually extremely whiny. She has no problem with the routine, but she whines constantly. We don't respond to her until she finds a "strong voice," but it can take a while sometimes.
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  • When she wakes up, she's usually extremely whiny. She has no problem with the routine, but she whines constantly. We don't respond to her until she finds a "strong voice," but it can take a while sometimes.
    Well, in my experience, whining is pretty typical of age 3, especially with younger 3s.  Where two year olds are defiant and have meltdowns, kids by age 3 learn that whining can sometimes be an effective way to get what they want.

    When my kids when through this, I also just refused to listen to them until they could talk in an "big kid" voice.  The phase passed pretty quickly!
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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