Is it normal for toddlers to cry all the time?

Jessica - posted on 03/14/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My 16 month old twin girls cry all the time over everything. I can't help but think this isn't normal. I get up from the floor and they are clinging to my legs like I'm leaving them. I'm a stay at home Mom and am so frustrated. I'm trying to stay calm when they cry but it just gets so overwhelming sometimes. When one of my girls starts crying, the other one joins in. What is the best thing I can do? I'm starting to get a complex and think that they are just unhappy. But, there's got to be something going on? They are already starting temper tantrums, throwing themselves on the floor, slapping each other and sometimes my younger daughter slaps herself on the head. Someone please give me some ideas as to dealing with these issues. Thank you!!

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Jaime - posted on 11/20/2012

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Jessica I literally have the EXACT same situation. I have 16 month old twin boys and I was searching for information because I was thinking of taking them to see a Dr. One especially just cries and whines ALL the time. To the point where I don't enjoy being with them all day :( And that makes me so sad because I wanted nothing more than to spend time with them as I work part time and worked hard to get the time off to be home with them. I just keep wishing it will get better and thinking that maybe once they are older but people keep telling me not to wish away the time. Ugh, I feel so lost as I see my friends having completely different experiences with their singletons or babies of different ages and I wonder if it's just that they are twins or if there is really something wrong. I know this is an older post but could you let us know how it all worked out for you now that it's been some time?

Christine - posted on 03/18/2011

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Oh thank God I am not alone, we were seriously considering taking my son to the dr but he had no other symptoms other than he whines and cries a lot... seems moody... I am also super paranoid because my cousin died of a brain tumor when he was 2 and a half because nobody could figure out why he cried all the time

Tracy - posted on 03/16/2011

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Hi Jessica,



I am a stay at home mom too. My girls are nearly 17 months and they do the exact same thing. The leg clinging can be especially annoying when I need to prepare meals. And yes, when one starts the other seems to follow. I think it is normal but there are some things I do to prevent melt downs, although I have no idea whether any of this really helps.



I notice leg clinging happens either right when they wake up or when they are tired. For this reason I find it helpful if one wakes up 20-30 min before/after the other. So bedtimes and nap-times are 20-30 minutes apart (well most days). Of course even when I put them down at the same time they rarely wake up together anyway but still stagger sleep times. That one-on-one time is nice, even if it is just 30 minutes a couple times a day. I am also pretty strict with naps and bedtime. They rarely sleep in the carseat or stroller.



Lately I have been making a real effort to get them out of the house more often to get exercise and tire them out. We try to swim at least once every 2 weeks (with hubby of course!), I go to a lot of indoor playgrounds, and I have just experimented with letting them actually walk when we go for walks outside. Two out of three attempts went well, but I am trying to forget about the gong show that happened the last time we went out! LOL! For some reason one the girls decided to follow some birds and would simply not walk in the right direction. Took forever to walk the equivalent of about 4 houses, and then I had to listen to screaming when I finally had enough. But getting out was worth it.



I have also taught them baby sign language (actually its ASL American Sign Language). Its not too late to start if this interests you. Even if you just teach three or four signs it could reduce frustration. The ones I find most helpful are: milk, eat, cracker and banana (fav snacks), help, more, and sleep. They know nearly 20 signs now and sign everyday. The newest sign they are learning right is "outside". If you want to know more about it let me know. I can give tips for getting started.



Distractions still seem to work most of the time. When I am doing dishes and starts heading my way I either say "where is your baby/ cat/dog/elmo/ book/ ball?" or "look Ella/Emma has a ball/book/block/car etc" Most of the time it works. They copy each other and like to please so they will fetch the toy and show it to me. I just have to get one doing it and the other follows. Don't know how much longer it will work, but it works for now.



Lastly, when I know they are tired (and so am I) we pop in a Baby Einstein or Baby Signing Time DVD. I know many people are against this (I was for the longest time) but I can see that they are learning from it. One of my daughters learned the sign for horse from the DVD. I never used that sign with her! Of course I am in the room talking (and signing sometimes) about what is happening which I am sure helps.



In any case I am hopeful this is a phase and will pass. Not sure if any of what I do actually helps, but it certainly can't do any harm (expect maybe the TV thing... the jury is still out on that one LOL!).



Take care and good luck!

Jessica - posted on 03/16/2011

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All of thios has been useful. I have noticed that when they cling to my legs, they are generally tired. My girls wake up at the same time, I've tried sneaking in and getting only one child and they always wake up. All of this will be put to use, I've been interested in teaching them sign language, and I guess I've been intimidated by it actually. I will teach myself at the same time! :) As far as Baby Einstein goes, I use it as well. I am fairly liberal with tv, certain shows. Honestly, the girls don't really watch it anyway. They love to explore and roam around. I'm like you, I am strict with their naps and night time routine. They take a nap at 1 every day until 4, I get them up at the same time and put them to bed always by 8. It just works for them (and me LOL).

Also, I try to divert them by having them get a particular item, i.e. their cup, dolly, teddy, etc.

My husband is deployed at the moment and sometimes I just get so stressed, the day i posted this, they seemed to be in rare form. I just needed to vent and it seemed so much worse than it really was. I'm sure you have those days :) Writing on here was my outlet at that time. Thanks for listening and for the great advice!

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Catherine - posted on 11/01/2013

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All of these posts are really helpful and I wish I had seen them earlier.
My twin girls are almost 3 years old. I experienced two crying/whining babies until they were 2 1/2 years old and then all of a sudden it calmed down. They still cry/whine when they are tired or bugging each other, but overall they are FUN to be around which was not the case for the first 2 1/2 years. It calmed down when they started to communicate a lot with full sentences. Also, doing new activities with them makes them happier too (getting out for a walk, going to a new store or playground, discovering a new game). Playing music helps too. Because they are calmer I am calmer too and I think the circle of emotions in both directions is better and more balanced. Also, regularly my husband goes out with 1 twin (and our older son) and I take care of the other. Of course in this case each twin is totally calm and never cries which is the proof to me that the cries/whines were in reaction to a set of situations that were not allowing them to achieve balance for whatever reason (not an internal illness or permanent state of being).

Hope this helps.
PS: I wish I had tried baby sign language when they were smaller but I did not think about that.

CAB - posted on 02/07/2013

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Thank goodness I am not alone,my oldest of my 15mo old twin girls is really bad about crying and throwing tantrums! They are like night and day from one another and we are having a rough time with the older one. I have tried letting her cry it out but she never stops she makes herself sick I am hoping she grows out of if!!!

Hope - posted on 01/11/2013

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Thanks for posting this. I have twin girls too and I totally relate what you are saying because the same thing is going on here. One is more aggressive than the other. Please tell me things have gotten better as you wrote this some time back. My girls are now the age yours were when you first posted this.

Sophia - posted on 12/04/2012

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My 16 month old boy twin cries and whines ALL the time while the girl twin is just totally cool. I don't know what else to do except either holding him all the time (even that sometimes does not work) or just letting him cry out (he'd do it incessantly for hours). He is a terrible sleeper too, still wakes up 2-3 times at night crying. I'm tired, frustrated and fearful -- did I do anything wrong? How can I give my girl twin some attention while her brother clings on me All the time?

Heather - posted on 11/24/2012

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which i know i sounded cruel but me daughter is doing really well now she is not clingy as what she was i think its even harder to leave them to cry when you are first time mum but you just have do it it want course them any pain by leaving them to cry i know the your first insteact is to pick them up even when they have been feed and nappeys changed and winded etc but it is ok to leave them to cry for ten mins or so

Heather - posted on 11/24/2012

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they have to learn whats right and wrong from the start my 14 month daughters grandmother turned around and said to me its ok to leave to cry for ten mins or so cause they have to learn that you will come back to them

Rebecca - posted on 03/24/2011

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Sounds like my twins to a T. When people asked me if they are "good kids" I used to say "no they are miserable most of the time" Now they are 21 months and they are getting much better. I even find myself enjoying playing with them now with no fighting. It is nice. Finally!

Kelly - posted on 03/24/2011

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This sounds normal for a 16 month old and the fact that you have two makes it that much harder. The best thing to do is keep them on a consistant schedule so they know what to expect day to day and get out of the house when you can. Even just a walk around the block to break up the day can help. If the weather is cold, put them in the car and drive around for 10 minutes if you need to. I find that I get most frustrated when I am trying to get something done around the house and they won't let me. I just stop what I am doing and sit with them on the floor and play toys. Once they are playing I sneak away and finish my work. It will get easier in some ways and harder in others as they get older. Each age has its good and bad points. My oldest twins are b/g and they are 5, then I have a 4 year old boy and 2 year old twin boys. The two year olds are definately the hardest to parent right now. Try to enjoy this time as it really does pass by so fast!!!

Diane - posted on 03/18/2011

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Don't worry, it's normal! My singletons didn't cry as much as my twins but when you have just one it's easier to appease them (because there's just one) but also because they didn't have anyone to feed off of. That being said, I have found that there are certain times of day when I can get up and get things done in another room and it's fine and then there are certain times of the day where I do something else (like fold laundry) as long as I'm in the room with them and then there are those times of the day when they really just need me to sit with them and play a silly game or just hold them. Sometimes a cracker will work miracles but in general if you can find a sort of pattern to what times of day they seem to need a certtain amount of attention you might be able to get more done and have a more peaceful day. The more you are right there with them when they need it the more often they will be okay with you just being in the room rather than down on the floor. Good luck!

Andrea - posted on 03/18/2011

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This sounds like frustration. It is very normal for them to do it at this age. They can't say what they want and they know what they want NOW. This is a time when most moms find themselves spending the whole day on the floor. They really need one on one time with someone but when there is no help it is hard to do. Try to make the effort though. Tantrums are so hard and they will get worse. Try to keep calm and leave him alone to do what he has to do to release his frustration, you can talk to him afterwords. He can't hear you anyway when he is in the middle and he can hurt you when he gets bigger. My goodness it just brings back memories - sitting on the bathroom floor, trying to position pillows everywhere so he wouldn't hurt himself. I couldn't hold him as much as I tried. The hitting will get worse unless you sit there and you referee between them and show them ways to express themselves and ways to cope.

Jessica - posted on 03/17/2011

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Hi Kelly,

I am so scared of the terrible three's...I've heard a lot of horror stories. I keep thinking to myself, "if you think they are bad now, how are you going to handle them when they are 2 and 3 years old?" Ohhh boy!

The past few days I have been ignoring their fake cries and they seem to give up after a little while. They are most clingy when they are tired or first waking up...

Thanks for replying and for the advice! :) Your daughters are soo cute!

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Hi Jessica, My twin girls started the terrible two's around 18 months of age. And then when they hit 3, the 3's made the 2's look like cake. I did find at the end of 3's that when I put them in school, they are not as likely to be so clingy. When my girls used to cry together, if they were crying for no reason, I would make sure they were safe in their play area and go in the other room and let them cry it out. After a few times of this consistently in a row, they will catch on that it is not ok. Hang in there and be consistent.

Krystyna - posted on 03/15/2011

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Jessica....YES...you are not alone..kids seem to cry all the time over anything at all, and throw tantrums, scream yell, fight, etc.. My twins are almost 7 and I have a 5 year old. Sometimes I feel I'm going to loose my mind with all their whining and crying. Get out when you can and save your sanity!

Jessica - posted on 03/15/2011

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Hi Kim,

Thank you for sharing some of your issues...it helps me realize that they are just going through a phase. There have been instances where I want to laugh too, and it's hard to refrain. :P I think my girls are adjusting to many changes. We were visiitng my family for about 5 months and they got all kinds of attention from my parents. Now, it's just me and I think they are missing that extra attention. Today, they seemed a bit better. I've noticed if I keep my cool and don't get upset when they do, they calm down. I've really got to work on not picking them up over every little whine. I think it's the motherly instinct to want to sooth but they are learning to get their way now. I appreciate you replying, I felt so helpless yesterday! I will definitely be taking them outside more often as the weather gets nicer, they love going for walks! :)

Kim - posted on 03/15/2011

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You're not alone.. my boys are 15 months this week. Just yesterday they were horrible! Whiney all day long! The older one got mad at the other one because he wouldn't give him a toy. So he grabbed his brothers leg and started shaking it..lol. I have to laugh now because now that I think of it it looked kinda funny. But when I told him no he threw himself back and had his little tantrum and calmed down. For identical twins they are so different!

I work 3rd shift, so my boys never even know I'm gone, except for when their dad lets me get a nap. So I'm always home with them during the day so it is similar to being a stay at home mom. I get the leg clinging too! And they freak out when I leave the rooms. I know since it's been warmer we've been able to get out of the house more. On the days we do, they are better.

I feel like i'm doing something wrong too. It's frustrating! I usually know what they want, so I encourage them to use words. I usually what they want.. or try to distract them. Some days I feel like all I do is entertain both of them. When the older one has his "fits", I take him and hold him and talk calmly to him until he calms down. I hope that eventually he will learn to cope better with his frustrations. It's trial and error I guess. We have to figure out what works best for us :)

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