Wondering how many different types of toddler tantrums there are? Or what will make your toddler have a tantrum? We were too. Whether you’re worried that your 3 year old tantrums every day or are losing your mind over your 18 month old tantrums at bedtime, we know you’re looking for the secret solution. Well, it doesn’t exist. EVERYTHING is likely to set your child off! In fact, we have found 11 different types of toddler tantrums. And at that rate, it’s no wonder your toddler tantrums daily!
Before you had kids, you probably saw a small child have a tantrum. Perhaps you foolishly thought, “My kid will never behave like that!” Maybe you were one of the smart ones that thought, “Ugh, too bad the occasional tantrum is just something that comes with having kids!” But our guess is that you didn’t realize that there are at least 11 different types of toddler tantrums. And that they happen on the daily.
The only mystery is wondering what is going to trigger today’s tantrum. Strike that. The first tantrum today. And then the next. Repeat until bedtime (which will DEFINITELY have a tantrum, so pencil that one in now.) So to help you identify the tantrums as they happen, here are the eleven different types of toddler tantrums.
I Don’t Like It
Perhaps the most classic catch all for toddler tantrums, “I don’t like it” covers a fair amount of issues. In fact, this is probably the kind that you observed pre-kids. Or, at least it’s what you thought you observed before you realized just how picky these little people can be. And sure, if you’re in a restaurant and you see a kid turn their nose up at a green vegetable, you might have hit the jackpot!
If only not liking something were the only reason kids threw a fit. Wouldn’t parenting be SO much easier??
I Can Do It
Have you ever tried to leave the house with shoes on your toddlers’ feet? Congratulations! You’ve likely survived an “I can do it” tantrum! Because toddlers love to do EVERYTHING; even things that are above their skill level. (Especially things above their skill level?) Common “I can do it” tantrums include – but are not limited to – getting dressed, pouring their own milk, buckling – or unbuckling – their car seat, and buttoning things.
Normally, we really want to let them try to do some of these things. We know that while they maybe can’t do it now, with some teaching and practice, they will be able to someday. But sometimes you just need to leave the house/pour a glass of milk without a huge spill/make sure the car seats are done correctly and safely. So until that day when they’ve mastered it? Tantrums.
You’re Doing It Wrong
If you’ve gotten your child to concede that they can’t actually do everything, you might have deluded yourself into thinking you turned a corner. Well, we’ve got bad news. You didn’t. You just opened yourself up to another brand of tantrum. Just because your two year old can’t do something herself doesn’t mean she’s not going to have opinions on the way you do it!
Before kids, you don’t realize how many ways you could peel a banana that are entirely unacceptable. Or that the way a sandwich is cut could absolutely ruin someone’s day. But thanks to toddlers, you now have a renewed understanding of just how important it is to do things the right way. At least, the right way according to someone who probably can’t communicate their specific desires to you and expect you to be mind readers. In other words, Good Luck.
Too Tired to Function
On it’s face, this is an easy one. Because it’s got a clear answer: Sleep.
We’ll wait a moment for everyone to stop laughing.
Because the one thing that will make a tired tantrumming toddler even more angry? Is the insinuation that sleep would help the situation. We all know it would. But those toddlers? Naps are the enemy. Bedtime is their nemesis. So rather than solve the problem, they’re going to thrash and scream and make themselves even more tired. Before you get excited – don’t. This will not mean they sleep better tonight. They’re too tired.
Too Hungry to Function
This one is slightly easier to fix, because occasionally a kid will crack if you offer, say, a full size sheet cake to get them to calm down. But some of our kids (I’m looking at you Cole) will absolutely refuse to eat. Because they’re just so hungry obviously. Now, if you’re like me, you probably can’t understand a world where you’re too hungry to eat.
I can basically always eat. Really hungry, medium hungry, just left an all you can eat buffet – I can always find room for a little more. But not toddlers. Toddler prefer to snack nonstop, until they do stop for an hour, realize they are basically famished, and then tantrum until they die.
Guess My Favorite Color (Spoiler Alert: You’re Wrong)
The most simple of tasks, like offering a cup of water to your toddler, is now an activity frought with danger. Think you know your toddler’s favorite color? Guess again. It changed. In the last 3 minutes. And they didn’t tell you. But while you try to think about what it could be, they’re going to provide the world’s most annoying soundtrack – eternal screams.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve frantically knocked down cups trying desperately to get the right one while my daughter screams into my ear. Then again, I probably don’t have to, because you’ve been there.
Of note: the color preference is not contained to cups, plates, forks, or other kitchen items. The colors of shirts, shoes, socks, crayons, toothbrushes, pony tail holders, and pieces of paper – yes, even trash – are all potential land mines in toddler land.
I Don’t Like (Fill in the Basic Life Necessity)
Every once in a while your kid will decide that they don’t like food. Not like, they’re being picky. Like, they don’t like any food. Or that they hate clothes. Or being in the car. Basically anything that makes functioning in society possible. Hopefully they only pick one basic life need to hate, but you could get lucky and they could hate more than one. Or maybe you have two toddlers because you’re like me and didn’t space your kids far enough apart and they’ve decided to hate different things.
Either way, getting through the day is going to be tough until this phase passes.
And by “this phase,” I mean roughly the next 13-40 years.
Existence of Siblings
Sure, my kid tantrums because her sister is playing with a toy she would like immediately. Or because her brother gets to do something cool that she’s not big enough for. But don’t let yourself think that the sibling has to actually do something offensive. Toddlers will tantrum because their brother is sitting there. Because their sister is breathing. My toddler has even thrown a tantrum because she didn’t like the way her brother was looking out the car window. (We never solved the mystery of how he should be looking out the window or where he should be looking instead. We just know she didn’t like it.)
Indeed, all the sibling must do in order to be a proper toddler trigger, is exist.
I Agree, But Am in the Mood for a Fight
This one would be funny, if the tantrums weren’t so annoying. I recently had two toddlers in my car that got into a viscious argument over which child was a boy and which was a girl. As they screamed at each other, “I’m a boy!,” and “I’m a girl!.” I tried to intervene and let them know that they were both right. Izzie is indeed a girl and Abram is indeed a boy. And they could probably stop fighting about it, since they agree and all.
But not toddlers! Who cares if we agree on something?!? We’re in a mood for a fight and we are not going to let this go until we are done.
Or until someone says “penis” and we decide giggling is more fun that screaming at each other. The moral of the story is, if your kid is in a mood for a fight, you probably just have to ride it out until the mood passes.
Yes, your toddler ASKED for a banana, but did they really want a banana? Probably not. Maybe they were just testing you to see how quickly you’d bend to their demands. Maybe they really did change their mind. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that toddlers are incredibly fickle.
My toddler spent a solid three months picking out her clothes every day only to lose her ever loving mind as soon as the clothes were on her. The ones she picked out. And every day she looked at me like I was the devil himself when I asked her what was wrong. If it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, well honey, it’s a toddler’s job. So buckle up, because this is one bumpy ride!
It’s Been A While and I Need to Keep Mom on Her Toes
This is probably one of the most perplexing tantrum types. Maybe you thought you were out of the tantrum phase. Or maybe you’re just having a really good day and it seemingly came out of nowhere. The truth is, toddlers don’t really need a reason to tantrum. Sometimes they just want to make a lot of noise. Sometimes they want to get some attention. Perhaps sometimes their little bodies have just been holding in a lot of feelings and it’s got to come out sometime.
Since you are your toddlers person, she trusts you to listen to her screams. He trusts that you’ll give a hug when he’s done trying to slap you. And you both know that when it’s over,
Looking for more laughs to get through the day parenting? Check out these Mommy Humor posts from The Salty Mamas!
- Tired as a Mother? 7 Reasons Why You’re Exhausted
- Laugh Your Way Through the 10 Levels of Parenting Desperation
- Most Hilarious “My Kid is Crying” Tweets