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Illustration courtesy Lauren Rebbeck

How to Stop the Screaming

Dr. Sheryl Ziegler shares tips for dealing with a toddler who loves to scream.


The Problem: Our toddler loves to scream when she’s angry or frustrated or even just happy. I know she’s probably just exercising her voice, but it’s really wearing me down. How do I handle this?

The Expert: Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, psychologist and author


The Solution: Let’s start by understanding why toddlers scream. Once we know the different reasons for screaming, we can decide how best to handle it. Toddlers scream to release energy, get attention, when they want something, or when they are protesting. And sometimes, they just truly love the sound of their own voice and they are experimenting with volume and pitch. Remember, they have under-developed impulse control at this age so if it’s fun or gets a reaction, they will keep doing it.

You can do a number of things to respond, other than yelling even louder. Yelling is not a good idea, though tempting at times.

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