My 16 month old daughter wont stop screaming

Jacqui - posted on 02/11/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I have a 16 month old daughter and another on the way. She has been screaming for a while now and i have no idea on how to stop her, I'm really worried, she doesn't talk, she'll say ta, daddy, dad, mum, mummy, hi, and basic words like that. With the new baby due in July im worried that it will be born and my daughter will still be screaming which in turn will keep the new baby awake. Has any one got any advise that may help me please?

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Kate CP - posted on 02/11/2009

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When you say she is screaming is it out of pain or because she can't communicate with you? Children who don't know how to verbalize will scream and throw tantrums just because they are so frustrated that they can't talk. If this is the issue the best thing to do is acknowledge their frustration: "I know you're angry and frustrated. If you can tell me what's making you angry, I may be able to help you." This will at least get most kids to pause for a moment and try to think of what to say or do. That's when you take the opportunity to help expand her vocabulary: "I can see you're having a hard time getting this toy to do what you want. Would you like me to help you?" or "I'm not sure what's wrong. Are you hungry/tired/feeling sick/thirsty?"



The important thing to remember is to stay calm. If you get upset and start yelling and screaming it will only feed your daughter's anxiety. If you need a moment to get away put her in a play pen or her crib and give yourself a little "time out" for a few seconds. Sometimes just catching your breath can help you deal with an emotionally charged moment. Good luck!



Kate

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Margaret - posted on 02/11/2009

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When my daugther was an infant and I was going through all that new mom stuff, I used to ask my pediatrician a lot of questions.  



It could just be her way of communicating right now.  Maybe she is frustrated because she wants to be able to communicate with you more, but she doesn't know how.  I wouldn't worry too much about it.  Every kid develops at their own pace in their own way.  Try talking to her a lot using lots of different words and read to her.  Point to things and tell her what different things are.  When you read point out what is in the pictures.  My first word type books would be perfect for that.  When you go to the grocery store, name the different things that you are putting in your cart. 



My son had a two word vocabulary at 16 months old...hi and bye.  At 19 months, he finally added a third word...hello.  After he turned 2, he got mom and dad down and then all of a sudden he wouldn't stop talking.  The words just flowed forth faster than I could count them. 



And July is about 4 1/2 months away.  Things could take a dramatic turn by then.  And though everyone thinks that babies will sleep more sound if the house is perfectly quiet, they actually sleep more sound if there is noise around.  Otherwise, if it is perfectly quiet and all of a sudden there is a noise even a little one...they are wide awake.  If a baby is used to noise, they will usually sleep right through it.  I learned that tip from a cousin of mine that used to work doing daycare and has a degree in early childhood development. 



Hang in there and I hope this helps.

Kate CP - posted on 02/11/2009

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It's tough hearing your baby cry. It's really tough when you don't know what to do to get it to stop! Be careful about giving her toys when she is screaming because it could become a form of reinforcement for that behavior. This problem is probably going to get worse before it gets better. That's just because this has worked for her so far and changing the rules will be confusing.

One of the things I tell me daughter when she gets really ramped up is "I can't understand you when you are screaming. Take a deep breath like Mommy (take a deep breath and blow it out) and tell me what's wrong." If they can't tell you you can ask them to show you: "I can't understand you when you scream. Can you show me what you want?" Even if it's something she can't have just knowing that you understood her will help calm her down.
Use your own emotions to model behavior for her. Verbalize your emotions: "I'm angry right now!" or "That makes me sad." When she sees Mommy expressing her emotions in a healthy, normal way it makes it easier for her to communicate with you. Remember: baby see-baby do!

Caitlin - posted on 02/11/2009

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I also have a 16 month old who used to scream about everything. We have taught her a few key signs or things to do to express what she wants. For instance, if she is thirsty, she needs to bring her cup to us (we give her one in the morning and it kicks around the house during the day, so it's available for her to show us). We have tupperware dishes around so if she is hungry, she'll bring us a dish. We try to show her things when she is upset to understand what she wants. Maybe your daughter has a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, I would try to show her that if she is upset, if she throws it, go on to something different (like a cup or a dish or a toy) until you figure out what she wants. I used to get soo stressed out watching my daughter throw a tantrum, finally my husband and I thought of this and it has helped my stress level (and hers) drastically.

I hope this helps. I'm 9 months pregnant so I know what it's like to be stressed out of a screaming toddler and trying to keep yourself sane at the same time.

Jacqui - posted on 02/11/2009

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thank u Kate for replying, she screams for everything except pain!  I try to do what u say, but it just makes me so angry and sad at the same time that i can't communicate with my own child!  sometimes giving her toys makes her happy, but everthing leads back to screaming. 

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