Moodiness Reasons 5 & 6
Reason #5: They want to call all the shots and do exactly as they please.
And when they try, sometimes they find that they don't have the physical or mental skills to do what they want -- or worse, they're greeted with a big fat "no!" from Mom or Dad. Joyful curiosity turns to tears in a matter of seconds. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" should be the official anthem of the toddler years.
What to do: The bright side: Parents can often give them what they need. Temper your toddler's outbursts by giving her reasonable choices in which you control the outcome. For example, if she wants to wear a bathing suit to daycare and it's 30 degrees outside, take out two weather-appropriate outfits and let her choose which one she wants to wear. If she wants to mix and match and create a fashion don't, let her. The important point is to get her dressed for cold weather -- not make a fashion statement.
This same tactic is a masterful distraction technique as well. "When I'd tell Lila it was time to use the potty, she'd instantly protest," says Jane Barnes, of Washington, D.C. "Then I got two potties. Instead of telling her it was time to go, I'd say, 'Do you want to use the little potty or the big potty?' She became distracted by my question and forgot completely about objecting to the whole process."
Reason #6: They get tired and hungry very quickly.
Some toddlers tucker out within three or four hours of awakening in the morning. And unlike older kids, toddlers don't fuel up at meals. They tend to graze all day, a fact that's easy to forget when you're trying not to graze yourself. You won't be surprised to learn that tired, hungry kids are moody kids who cry on a dime.
What to do: First, try to plan your day around naptime. Most fellow parents understand the importance of these golden hours and won't push you for play dates during the nap zone. The same goes for doctor's appointments and group activities such as music classes.
Second, always have healthy portable snacks on hand. If your toddler didn't eat much of her lunch, you can give her a quick energy boost on the playground and you won't have to worry about her dissolving into a cranky mess.