Cry for no reason? Toddler handbook

What makes toddlers cry?

Mostly, toddlers are very cheerful and happy about life, but once in a while, they have their mood swings. They cry for no reason. It can be so frustrating to watch helplessly as your toddler cries because you don't know why the little darling is suddenly upset.

Most parents think that something must have been wrong or bad to make their child sob so urgently. What usually happens is that after a minute of crying, you ask your child what's wrong, and he smiles back at you with tears still running down his face and giggles: 'nothing'. Here we go again - why do toddlers cry for no reason?

Main reasons

Let's see if we can solve this mystery together! Firstly, let's tell that it's normal for toddlers to cry a lot, actually. When you were a baby, you cried because your brain was not able to send signals from pain yet. Adults don't need to do that as we can feel pain and think about it.

Toddlers still have those primitive reflexes though - some people call them innate reflexes or infantile reflexes (even though they last until your toddler is two). The fact that the little ones' brains are not connected properly with their bodies means that their legs might cross when held upright, mothers often complain of 'scissor babies' who will grab onto anything nearby and seem to be clinging on for dear life (so they can't crawl and walk), and instead of using both sides of the body equally like adults do, toddlers tend to use one side of their bodies more than the other.

And if you see your toddler doing any of these things, it's nothing he needs help with. He will master them eventually, so don't try to change them or teach him how to 'properly' do it!

Does it depend on your toddler`s sex?

Maybe girls cry more than boys, but just because they are girls? That's not quite true. Both genders have their own reasons for being sad or crying, and both react differently to the things that upset them.

For example, whenever you take your child to a doctor or dentist visit it's likely that even an older boy will cry during the examination no matter how tough he seems outside of the clinic. But there are differences too: boys are more likely to be affected by changes around them quicker - so whatever made your daughter cry yesterday might not seem important enough for her to sob about today!

Do toddlers want attention when they cry?

Yes. They do want attention but don't necessarily understand other people really well yet. So instead of saying things like 'I've already given you your bath, there's nothing else I can do for you' or 'you should be grateful for all the toys and books we buy for you, try to come up with something good and satisfactory - like: 'you need a cuddle'!

How to deal with your toddler`s cry?

There are many suggestions for what to do when your child cries, but the best thing is always to come up with your own ideas. So here are some things that other parents did, which seemed to work! The best way of soothing your toddler is by paying attention to him fully. This means putting all your focus on the little one, looking at him while talking in a calm voice about whatever he found upsetting (but without asking too many questions).

The next step would be holding and rocking the baby until she feels safe and relaxed enough to stop crying. Obviously, if you can't hold her comfortably then it's not possible - like if you're both stuck in rush hour traffic or somewhere where nobody can move or sit down (e.g. shops). If you can't hold or comfort your child, let him know that you will be back soon and walk off.

If your toddler continues to cry while you're away (you can hear him crying while you're in the next room) then it's time to go back. Just come close to her without picking her up straight away. You can bend down on one knee, smile at her, and say something like 'hmm... you are crying'.

Then wait for a few seconds, which will give your little one time to realize that his mother is still there. It might take several attempts before he stops sobbing completely though - some children get so upset they just lose control over their emotions!

Don't worry if he gets even more upset when you pick him up - it's actually a good sign. It shows that he trusts you to hug and cuddle him, so he feels secure enough to be really upset in your arms. As soon as the little one calms down, start talking to him calmly about whatever was upsetting him before his meltdown.

Should you worry about your toddler`s crying for no reason?

It's perfectly normal for toddlers to cry every day. It might only last a minute or two, but there is nothing wrong with your child. You can ask yourself this question though: does it happen often enough that you're worried about your toddler?

Like if he cries several times a day and/or in situations when a baby should be happy (like at the playground)? If the answer is yes, then you need to talk to your doctor about what could be wrong. But if it's the case that your toddler has been crying for no reason from time to time, try not to worry too much! After all, children develop at their own pace and some little ones are just naturally more emotional than others.

Look after yourself when your child cries too often

At the same time, the reason may lie with the parents. It is possible that you're taking care of yourself too badly, by not giving yourself time to relax and letting your feelings out when this happens. This may lead to a lack of self-confidence and increased stress levels which in turn affect your child's behavior.

When you feel stressed, take a break for a few minutes or go for a walk if it's safe enough to do so (e.g. in a park). Alternatively, call a friend who also has young children and ask her if she would like to meet up in person - it doesn't matter what you both do as long as you have fun!

Also, you need to pay attention to yourself and your health. If you have a cold or cough, for example, this may be why your child is crying more than usual. In either case, it's important to get enough rest - no matter how old you are!

Do not give attention to the baby when he cries from time to time

In some situations, it's actually better not to pay too much attention to a crying child at home - because he needs space sometimes as well! However, parents tend to feel very bad if their toddler starts wailing for no reason and they can't calm him down.

This may lead them into doing something that will only make the situation even worse: giving in and cuddling their little one all day long... which is exactly what babies and toddlers don't want! They need to learn how to calm down by themselves and they can do this best if you let them feel safe.

So, a baby crying for no reason is not a problem as long as it's only a few minutes of tears or happens from time to time. It shows that your little one trusts you and feels loved when he needs comforting from his mother or father. And the occasional tantrum gives him a chance to deal with his frustration - something that will stand him in good stead later on!

When do you have to visit a doctor?

When parents ignore a child crying for no reason too often, it could be that they don't have enough time or that they're afraid of "spoiling" their little one if they give in to him all the time. But this is actually not the case: children need to know what security feels like before they can show love and affection!

The fact that your toddler cries for no reason show that he trusts you. It also means he needs you (and especially his mother) more than ever at these moments - yet some parents get so upset themselves when their baby starts crying that they want nothing more than to get away from all the fuss!

Experiencing this way too often could lead to negative feelings for your own child which then impacts his behavior later on. At the same time, it can also lead to stress and anxiety for parents.

A parent can refer to such specialists as psychoanalysts or psychotherapists who are able to help them with their problems. If this seems too much, you should take your child to a doctor to rule out any physical causes which may be triggering the tears.

Final words

Some babies are just more emotional than others, but that doesn't have to be a problem. As long as your child is happy most of the time, there's nothing wrong with his character! It depends on you whether he will become an overly sensitive or calm and collected adult in the future.