How To Deal With A Cranky Child?

Looking for “how to deal with a cranky child?” Even the happiest kids have mood swings. One minute they are happy playing and crying and cranky the next. Kids get cranky and that is normal. The kids are unpredictable irrespective of everything that seems to be perfect. It is very common if they are throwing a fit. The best way to calm down your whining kid is to stay patient and understanding. It may look challenging but, paying attention to your child’s behavior and knowing which things are triggering can help you learn to tone down their mood swings.

It is a concern for parents when their children suddenly start misbehaving and put you in an embarrassing situation. Cranky child syndrome medically referred to as “Oppositional Defiant Disorder – ODD”  is a common behavioral problem found in children in their childhood.

The child who is cranky will:

  • Not obey
  • The kids put out unreasonable demands
  • They easily get aggressive and angry
  • They have severe mood swings
  • They have colic symptoms
  • They just want to be comforted and cuddled
  • Often fighting with the siblings
  • Frustration
  • Lack of sleep
  • They have issues in controlling their emotions
  • They want to do how they please
  • Because they get tired
  • Whining, throwing tantrums, pouting

 Parents have all kinds of experiences with the kids, and dealing with cranky children is one of them. Let’s understand how to handle your whining toddler.

How to deal with a cranky child:

1.   Your little one is hungry

Your toddler’s tummy is very small. They are not able to hold much food therefore, they whine and become cranky and difficult to deal with during their hunger. Talk to your doctor about it and feed your little one often as suggested.

2.   They are colic

Colic babies are super cranky. They will cry for a couple of hours. There is no specific reason why your baby is colic. For a new parent, handling a colic baby can be challenging. Your doctor will suggest a few probiotics medications.

3.   They are not well

Your toddler may be in some physical pain or unwell. For younger kids crying is their way of means of communicating. They express through whining and crying because of the discomfort they are facing.

4.   They want to cuddle

Toddlers need cuddling. They whine and cry when they are not cuddled. They need that soothing touch, so cuddle them you won’t spoil them.

5.   Difficulty in expressing

Toddlers can cry and whine when they are unable to explain with their limited vocabulary. The little one is learning to talk, and with limitations in the language, they barely can explain. This can be the reason for their being cranky.

A coping mechanism for toddlers:

  • Check your toddler if he/she has a high fever, ear pain, or some other physical pain
  • Take him out in a fresh air
  • Cuddle your baby close
  • Use soothing sound
  • Play music soft
  • You can go on a drive taking him
  • Swaddling the baby

For a lot of parents, the cranky child can range from loud whining to throwing tantrums to crying recklessly. How to deal with the cranky baby? Here are some tips for you:

Find out what is wrong

Do not assume when it comes to your children.  It is normal for your kid to cry, whine, get sad, angry, or feel frustrated. Begin by trying out what is wrong with your little one. Encourage your child to speak up about what is bothering him and convey that you will resolve the problem.

 Validate your child’s feelings

Your kid is frustrated because he is having trouble getting your attention. It is their way to express themselves. Acknowledge their feelings for example saying, “ I see that you are angry, what happened?”. This will let your child see that you have seen and have understood how they are feeling. The next step is to calm them appropriately. Talk to them and understand their reason behind feeling so cranky.

Control your emotions/mood

Children are affected because you are not in a good mood. If you are fighting with your partner, you are in a bad mood from work, your mood is surely going to reflect on your kids. They are sensitive hence, they do get upset and since they are unable to process the emotion they turn cranky.  So, if you are upset or having a bad day please make sure that it does not show on your child.

Mark the good behavior

Make a list of good behavior on the chart and acknowledge it to them. Praise them each time when they behave well like “You did a good job”, “ you are improving” or “I saw that you did not whine at all” these encouraging words will have them boost their good nature, and eventually you will see improvement in them.

Coping up mechanism with preschoolers

Slightly older kids – the preschoolers also cry because they have no clue of how to deal with their new emotions like jealousy, shyness, whining, anger, frustration.

  • Make sure they are comfortable and feed well
  • They may be tired, therefore, need some rest
  • You can put soothing music or tell a story to calm them down
  • Hear them out, often children want you to know their story. Listening to music or a story and some quiet time can make them calm down.
  • Bedtime whining can be avoided by setting up a routine.
  • Firstly when a child is cranky, removing them from such a situation will mostly help.
  • Work together to get the solution. Understand what is triggering them and this way it helps you to tone them down in a disciplined way
  • Giving them some calm down space and asking them the reason for being upset can make them express their reasons and evaluate themselves. Showing that you are listening to their woes will help them sober down.


How do I help my cranky child?

Acknowledge and soothe your child’s feelings. Encourage him to talk about the problem and use an empathetic tone. By comforting him with hugs will help.

At what age, the child learns to control emotions?

Age of 5 or older, your child does know about his emotions and has developed it well. They are aware of their feelings and can express what is bothering them.

How do I know if my child has a mood disorder?

Your child is mostly saddened, has elevated mood, angry, lack of motivation, not able to enjoy many activities, or mostly fighting with his peers are the symptoms of mood disorder.

Why does my kid get frustrated so easily?

No two kids are the same. Their crankiness is developed because of different reasons. Some of the common signs are new situations, not able to convey well, feeling frustrated, the transition phase, etc.

Can punishing or yelling calm my child?

Not really. Yelling or hitting or punishing may have a deeper impact on your child leaving the emotional dent forever. A child who is punished more by his parents is more likely to become a rebellion. It is not advisable at all.

How do you calm a restless kid?

Help him work out why he is restless. Calm down his tantrum by removing from the situation immediately. Slowly but with zero-tolerance, he can be taught to tone down his behavior.