Many parents think tantrums only happen around the terrible 2 periods but this is not always accurate. 17-month-old babies can through 17 months old tantrums and it is usually just as explosive as older babies.
17-month-old babies tend to be at the peak age for throwing tantrums. This can escalate to 17-month-old hitting and 17-month-old tantrums head banging so it’s important you look out for the all the signs.
At this stage your baby’s mind has developed enough to grasp the basics of the world around them but has not yet formed all the necessary developmental conditions to express their thoughts and feelings effectively.
This ensures a very bumpy few months for both you and your toddler as they navigate these powerful thoughts and feelings whilst at the same time trying desperately to effectively communicate there likes and dislikes.
Related: 18-Month-Old Tantrums
5 Main Reasons For 17 Months Old Tantrums
Expression is one of the most fundamental reasons for 17 Months Old Tantrums. At its basic form your baby is trying to express themselves in a way that their brain has not caught up with.
Toddlers know what they want but they are trying to learn the most effective way to get it. A tantrum can sometimes be the perfect way to release this expression.
Another key area is an assertion of independence. Your child is seeking autonomy and independence and the ability to do all these different activities by themselves.
They want to feel free and need the space to be themselves but unfortunately, this freedom can come at the expense of mummy and daddy as they no longer seek your help as much.
This can be demonstrated with an older and younger sibling relationship with one learning more independence from the other.
Indirectly your child has been controlling you and your actions since the day they were born. This usually doesn’t stop as they get older and a tantrum is a clear unambiguous way to say “Mummy I want you to do this for me RIGHT NOW!’
It’s very common for your toddler to throw tantrums or mini fits just to get control over you or a situation. Crucially you must be wary and keep your eye out for any tantrums related to power struggles that forcing you to give up too much control back to your baby.
In the short term, this type of behaviour is not likely to have a big impact but as your child grows older if this behaviour is not eliminated you’ll find it a consistent battle just to ask your child to do simple tasks as they have learnt that when it comes to power struggles they have the upper hand.
4. Tired, Hungry, Thirsty
If your baby is too tired, too hungry or too thirsty then they may throw a tantrum to get your attention. Most babies have not yet developed the necessary vocabulary to explain that they are tired and need to sleep so will resort to yelling, screaming and throwing a fit to express themselves.
The tricky part is sometimes they could be throwing a tantrum for a variety of reasons and to effectively manage them you will have to figure out which reason it is.
Often times this is a lot easier said than done!
5. Over Stimulated & Under Stimulated.
Stimulation is key to development but too little or too much can have a great impact on the brain. Under stimulating your baby, by keeping them in one position for too long, can cause irritation and whining which if left unchecked can cause a tantrum.
Your toddler is at a critical age at 17 months and stimulation can be a very important factor when determining the reason for 17 months old tantrums.
Dealing With 17 Months Old Tantrums
1. Acknowledge It
The first thing to do is acknowledge that a tantrum is in fact happening. This is sometimes overseen but it is important to know the difference between a tantrum and a fussy baby as they both have methods to handle it.
2. Distraction is Key
Your toddler has a passion for everything. A passion for her teddy bear, hear favourite shiny shoes, her favourite electronic guitar, the dog, the remote etc Use this to your advantage.
As soon as you get a glimpse of a tantrum arising try to distract them away from the idea. This can be done very easily by showing them something new to do or to play with.
Whilst this may not work all the time, toddlers do have shorter attention spans at this age so you can distract them out of a tantrum more easier.
You can also ignore tantrums. This is important at home when you have the ability to control their surroundings in a safe location.
Toddlers constantly crave attention and they will find constructive ways of getting your attention. If they are not getting what they want, by throwing a tantrum they will get your attention instantly.
By ignoring the behaviour you show your toddler that this behaviour won’t get your attention and that this behaviour is not acceptable. Some toddlers can get worse at this stage but it’s important you stick to your plan and see it through to the end.
Toddlers learn very quickly and need to remember that you aren’t a pushover and when you say no it means “NO!” (well at least most of the time anyway!)
4. Laugh Them Out Of It
This strategy works well at different times of the days. If your child follows a specific routine and you know that just after their nap in the afternoon they get grumpy, you can increase the likelihood of getting them up without much fuss if you find something humorous to do or say.
This could be an activity/ game or just a phrase you repeat that you know makes them laugh. This is a fun and simple way to keep your environment happier for longer and can work well for kids that are just having lighter tantrums.
5. Plan Plan Plan
Your plan should factor in the odd tantrum or two and a smart way to avoid them altogether is to keep your toddlers mind and hands busy.
A Busy mind is an active mind and an active mind is less prone to tantrums (unless of course, they are overstimulated)
This can be as simple as bringing a few toys in the car on the way to the shopping centre or a snack for them to hold and enjoy whilst shopping.
If you plan your day effectively you will decrease the chances of disruption and anxiety your child faces. This means fewer tantrums and more time spent smiling, laughing and having fun!