Susie's excited voice has become the voice she uses around the clock. Your son's temper tantrums have become legendary in your apartment building. A child who frequently resorts to screaming can become reacquainted with an "inside voice," but not without a little help. Screaming is a common problem with toddlers, according to Dr. Sears. A little screaming or yelling is a normal part of childhood -- but excessive screaming could start causing problems for kids at daycare, with friends and at home.
Assess the situation each time your child is screaming. Is the outburst brief? Is your child excited about something or showing momentary frustration with a problem? These scenarios are normal behavioral displays that a parent may be able to overlook. Screaming may be a problem if your child shouts at inappropriate times or for a prolonged duration of time, such as yelling out in public.
Encourage other actions to help your child obtain what he wants. Does he scream if he feels wronged by a sibling or frustrated with an activity? Instead, encourage your child to calmly ask for help or to play by himself until he calms down if troubles arise with siblings.
Model a quiet speaking voice for your child. Yelling in return may cause tension or encourage your child to scream more. Saying things such as, "Please don't scream. This is how loud I would like for you to talk," can encourage your child to mimic the same volume.
Examine your child's environment. Is he competing with other shouting siblings or loud electronic devices in the house? Turn off or turn down radios, televisions and other electronics. It is also important to encourage other relatives to speak without screaming. If Grandma likes to yell when she visits, children may learn to do the same.
Explain the consequences for repeated screaming to your children. Time outs, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, may reduce a child's tendency to scream. Keep time outs sparse and limited to a few minutes at a time. Calmly explain, before and after a time out, why your child was disciplined. If a child screams out in public, take the child home or back to the car until she calms down.
- Use the least drastic measure to encourage your child to use an indoor voice first. Try to figure out what triggers the screaming. Your child may also be able to explain what is bothering her.
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