Crying child


Temper tantrums.  I could live without them!

Unfortunately they come with the terrible twos (threes and fours it seems too).   They are often just your little one’s way of communicating, albeit poorly, that they are dissatisfied with something.

While temper tantrums ARE part of a development phase, they ARE ALSO a sign of something less obvious.

Could your child be HUNGRY? 

Or should I say HANGRY (and have low blood sugar).

For a moment, think about what you’re like when you haven’t had something to eat for a while and start to get agitated, light headed, etc.   If you were two years old and lacked emotional control, you would likely be throwing toys around the room too.

The next time you see a temper looming, speak to your little one calmly to understand what is pushing him/her over the edge.  My husband often says in an over-exaggerated calm voice, “Sienna honey, are you crying because we won’t let you watch Caillou all day?”.   She will nod her head in agreement as we explain that we understand her frustration.

Usually that diffuses the situation nicely.

Then there are other times when she’s maddened because I gave her a yellow spoon vs. a blue spoon….or something ridiculous and I know she needs to eat.

It’s worth mentioning that my daughter is also more likely to go into hypoglycemic episodes (common with her Russell Silver Syndrome genetic diagnosis).   So she MUST eat sufficient amounts every 2-3 hours or we will have a temper tantrum on our hands.

Hypoglycemia:  also known as low blood sugar or low blood glucose, is when blood sugar decreases to below normal levels.  This may result in a variety of  symptoms including clumsiness, trouble talking, confusion, frustration or a feeling of hunger, sweating, shakiness, and weakness may also be present.

How to keep your child’s blood sugar stable:

  • Provide frequent eating opportunities (don’t let your little one go more than 2-3 hours without food)
  • Avoid giving carbohydrates alone as they tend to spike blood sugar and cause a rapid decline (resulting in “hanger”)
  • Offer food that contains fat or protein with carbohydrates.  Fats and proteins help keep blood sugar levels stable so we don’t see the spikes (children bouncing off walls) and crashes (temper tantrums, tiredness, etc).
  • Keep snacks in your diaper bag, purse, car, etc. for emergencies.  I ALWAYS have a bag of Good Bean chickpeas and a few Lara bars (a good mix of protein and carbs) stashed on the driver’s side door for those “just in case” moments.   Or I simply have fruit and nuts on hand.

With sufficient nutrients offered at regular intervals, you will notice attention and overall energy are improved.  Not to mention a few less broken toys and tears.


Photo by: Jill Greenberg