Inside you’ll find some behaviors that toddlers exhibit when teething. Post contains affiliate links.
Two weeks my 2 year old was abducted by an alien.
His normal happy bubbly self was replaced with an angry, whiny, aggressive counterpart with the same ears.
It was all very baffling.
We watched his behavior erode throughout the week. Everyone in the family noticed it. I went through my normal mental checklist…
- Am I being too lenient with him?
- Am I being too strict?
- Does he have an ear ache?
- Is it because of the rain and he’s displaying cabin fever?
Well, after a long hard week on Friday evening I was done and we loaded all the kids up and took him to the semi local Minute Clinic. The nurse practitioner took one look in his mouth and said, very nonchalantly…
“It’s his 2 year molars… look how swollen his gums are!”
I am such an amateur.
Behaviors That Accompany Toddler Teething
Here are some baffling behaviors that seem to accompany toddler teething. 2 year molars can be moving around under the gums for quite a while before any teeth break through. These behaviors may be an indicator the time is drawing nigh.
Does your child suddenly seem to be more angry than normal? Something small, like a perfectly normal Winnie the Pooh plate, can become an object of scorn since it is not a simple blue plate. Often my toddlers started to exhibit a lot of anger that didn’t seem reasonable or characteristic of their temperament. Teething is painful for little ones and pain steals a child’s ability to focus well or withstand otherwise normal frustrations.
Or, as we say in the good ole US of A, whining. In retrospect, one thing all my kids have done when getting their 2 year old molars is to fall down on the floor while wailing and flailing. I wish I was joking. When little ones are in pain their tempers are short and they are *this close* to losing emotional composure at the drop of a hat. This is why helping alleviate their pain, helping distract them, and extending a little grace go a long way.
3. Sleep Interruptions
A dear friend wrote the other day saying her 2 year old had stopped napping. He was clearly exhausted and not actually ready to drop naps and yet, he had trouble falling asleep. He’d wake in the evening tired as well she couldn’t figure out why. So she took him to the doc and – lo and behold – 2 year old molars.
Word to the wise mama: do not drop naps at 2 years of age if you can at all help it. Toddlers will try to pretend they don’t need naps around this time, but if you stay consistent and help alleviate their pain so they can sleep they’ll push through and continue napping for another year or more.
4. “Bad Behavior”
I put that in brackets, but one thing I’ve noticed when my toddlers are teething is an uptick in boundary crossing. They stop following rules they used to keep and seem to defy my word more. They’re not as happy or cooperative and you often begin to question whether you need to change disciplinary tactics. If it’s teething, just help with the pain and ride it out.
5. Personality Change
This is usually a big signal for me that something physical is happening with my child. I don’t know how I missed it with my 2 year old a few weeks ago, but hindsight is 20/20. His personality changed. His usually happy bubbly self became sullen and angry. He stopped playing happily with the others and became very quick to hit, bite, or scream. Instead of going to sleep happily he’d fight bedtime and wake up at night. He refused meals he normally loved and just did not act like the same child.
So now that we know how teething can cause a lot of pain for our little ones, here are some remedies that can help you manage their pain.
Best of luck, mama!
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