Home > Mom & Kid > Tantrum Troubleshooting – 5 Subtle Things That Could Be Causing Your Child’s Tears

Tantrum Troubleshooting – 5 Subtle Things That Could Be Causing Your Child’s Tears

Toddlerhood and tantrums go hand in hand. You will rarely come across one without the other. While young children can most certainly shed tears over the dramas in their little lives, there are times when the causes are less obvious. If the reasons behind your child’s tears aren’t immediately obvious, one of the following five subtle issues could be at fault. 

Physical Discomfort

When a young child is uncomfortable or in pain, they may not have the vocabulary to explain what’s going on. Therefore, they may communicate through tears and tantrums. Check your tot over for possible sources of physical discomfort and see if you can rectify it. For example, a nappy rash can easily go unnoticed but can just as easily be alleviated with good quality nappy rash cream


When we’re hungry as adults, we can feel frustrated and on edge. There’s a reason the term “hangry” exists! Toddlers are no different. However, they’ll often show their frustration in the form of a tantrum, whereas (most) adults have outgrown that. 

When children eat, their blood sugar levels spike and they get a much-needed boost of energy. But as those energy resources are depleted, they can crash and burn. The result? A temper tantrum. If you identify tantrums as you near meal times, then you may find nutritious snacks aid in the reduction of these tearful episodes.  

Problem-Solving Skills

When a toddler comes across a problem they cannot solve, it can end in tears. The problem arises from the fact that they’re frustrated with something they can’t fix but the solution isn’t coming. Fortunately, there are ways you can help. Even young children can learn how to evaluate a problem and solve it. 

Identify the problem and say it out loud. Sometimes that can be enough to stop those tears. Tommy, you are frustrated that your square block won’t fit in the round hole. They now understand that’s the problem. 

Then, you can come up with solutions to the problem with them, and encourage them to work it out. You also have a triangle block and a circle block. Could one of those fit? Over time, such problem-solving skills will come naturally. 


Over seven million families in the United States have three or more children. As most people with siblings know, they can be frustrating. Siblings can steal your toys, break your favorite possessions, and say mean things. 

If you notice that your toddler is throwing tantrums more often, then you may need to play detective and find out what’s triggering them. Is it during sibling play sessions? You may find that giving each child space to play on their own can reduce the number of tantrums in your household. 

Lack of Sleep  

There is a clear link between bedtime and behavior. If your toddler isn’t getting enough sleep, this could be the subtle cause behind their tears and tantrums. If you haven’t already, introduce a consistent bedtime routine. Going to bed between 6.30 pm and 7.30 pm can be the sweet spot as children experience their deepest sleep between 8 pm and 12 am. 

Keep the routine up to their bedtime is consistent as well. Bathing, teeth brushing, and bedtime stories can all lay the foundation for a peaceful night’s slumber and a well-rested tot.  

You will not be able to stop every single temper tantrum your toddler has. Still, if you can identify the subtle causes, you can reduce their frequency, and sometimes stop them in their tracks as they happen. Could any of the above factors be playing a part?

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