How Do I Stop The SCREAMING?

by Debbie Twomey on April 18, 2013

Parents can probably understand my frustration when I say, please stop screaming honey! My toddler screams when she is happy, louder when she is irritated and then sometimes, just to hear herself.

So, what can be done to quiet this little girl? I have researched and many ideas seemed feasible if she were 3 or 4. But at 18 months “using our indoor voice” may be a bit much to expect. And I must admit, I am a loud person and it is only when I am disciplining her that I use a more controlled and lower voice.

Here are some of the suggestions and they are probably age-appropriate:

  • Stay in noisy places when you can
  • Use their indoor voice
  • Be sure to run errands when they are well rested
  • Play a game where there is time for yelling and then show where we would not want to scream
  • Play whisper games so they know the difference
  • Meet their needs so they do not feel they need to scream to be heard
  • Do not pay attention to people who react to the screaming
  • Distract them

These are all good ideas but I have had experience where nothing seems to work. What to do then? Screaming can get on your nerves, especially when there are other children involved. How do you handle your toddler then?

I do react when a toddler uses a whiny voice. I explain I do not understand “Whinese” but if they use their regular voice I might be able to understand better. I try to do the same for a child who uses a scream to get my attention. I calmly tell them I would understand them better if they spoke lower.

This can work but not so much with a 1 year old whose understanding is not quite developed to handle inside and outside voices. Nanny 911 says, “whiners and screamers aren’t born, they are made.” She goes on to state that because toddlers are growing at such a fast rate they may have some skills but not necessarily verbal. She suggests ignoring whines and screams so that your toddler does not come to understand such behavior will elicit a response. Not answering their whines and screams teaches them to not expect a response unless they use their words.


Want to understand more about your toddler, check out:

When it comes to getting a child to behave, there is probably no more challenging period for parents than the toddler years

Why is that so? Just look at the characteristics that define this age group. 

1) Toddlers are stubborn. They want to show you they’re no longer babies. 

2) They have no conscience. 

3) They live by the following principle: If it is fun and it feels good, I want to do it. 

4) They lack good judgment. They can’t anticipate how their behavior will get them into trouble or into a dangerous situation. 

5) They’re filled with enthusiasm to explore the world. 

6) They’re self-centered. They want what they want when they want it. 

7) They have little tolerance for frustration. 

8) They have very little self-control. 

Because of these eight characteristics, parents must exercise a great deal of patience when trying to teach their little ones how to behave.


As the grandparent of a toddler who screams in frustration and the caretaker of a 3 year old who has not quite gotten that lesson—I can attest to how difficult this is for all concerned. Sometimes I find myself reacting before I can think which gives them the attention they are so desperately seeking.

I know they are both starting to develop their verbal skills and get frustrated easily so I have to pace myself and not react. It is NOT EASY. But I have seen an improvement with each of them if I totally ignore them.

If I take that extra moment to let them gather themselves and calm down, it does help. It is just difficult when the screams are ear-piercing like Miss Mouse’s. I have to practice patience too and not let them see my reactions and hope this phase passes quickly since both kids are such quick learners. Otherwise, I may need a place to go and scream.




"I have dedicated my life to the care and welfare of children. I feel privileged to share what I have learned with you. I am also committed to continuously learning.  I will keep informed of the latest information in parenting children from newborns to teens and pass it on to all of you.”   I will also use that same passion to help you create a dynasty generate increases in your business with straightforward and specialized media managing skills that guarantee your connection and scope will grow. Keep up to date reading our posts and discover valuable insights that can make parenting and succeeding in the business of the blogger– the most exciting adventure. (Debbie Twomey)
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ellen Barbagallo April 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Great blog Debbie and I know exactly what you mean when it comes to screaming.  You give some great tips to help us to try to control these mighty screams!


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