Saturday, January 15, 2011

My 1 year old is an angel all day until 5 pm!

Questioner: Stephanie

Question: I have a one year old child that is almost a perfect angel all day long until 5:00 p.m. every day. Then it's like she has colic. She is whinny and screams at everything. Can't even go to the bathroom without her throwing a fit. She throws her dinner no matter if i try to redirect. It doesn't matter if her nap that day was a great one she still is like this. Any suggestions how to make her happy and to stop throwing food?

Dear Stephanie,

You say she can't go to the bathroom without throwing a fit. Have you seen her doctor to rule out any physical problems? Does she go to the bathroom okay? Is her food digesting okay? I am not a medical doctor however strongly encourage you to rule out any possibility of physical problems first.

After you have seen a doctor and if they say she is fine with certainty, then I would suggest that maybe she needs a nap. Everyone gets cranky when they are tired and children are certainly no exceptions. Is her nap long enough? I ask because you say she is an "angel" until 5 each day.

Another idea is to massage her at 4 or 4:30 each day. A good massage might help her to relax and maybe fall asleep for 20 minutes.

If she is throwing food even when you redirect take it away from her until she calms down. By all means do not continue doing what is not working as this simply reinforces the behavior each time. Children thrive on repetition, any kind of repetition!

One last suggestion. Children often are acting out of emotional frustration. We do not often recognize the need for small children to have a large feeling vocabulary. Try reading some feeling books to her as well as teaching her some feeling sign language. This should lower her level of frustration and decrease her need to act out.

Check out my recommends on children's books.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller


  1. Wow you didn't even read her question because your answers make no sense. First of all she has a 1 year old, who is probably still in diapers so the going to the bathroom comment clearly meant that MOM can't leave to go the the bathroom without child throwing a fit. Also she clearly stated the behavior is the same regardless of her nap status.

  2. Regardless, if mom can't leave her to go to the bathroom because she throws a fit, the answers would still be the same.

    Masssage, redirecting and helping her with her feeling words are all good techniques to help her lower her frustration. Getting her calmed down with a massage and possibly another 20 min nap is not a bad idea either. Some children require more sleep.

    What was your suggestion? Please feel free to post it. I am sure this mom would appreciate more.