We have a daughter who takes naps and (usually) wakes up extremely cranky and irritable. She is 1 month away from being 3. Because she is so irritable, she'll usually cry when she wakes up. Depending on the day, it can range all the way to 30 straight minutes of crying. But, it's not always like this. Sometimes she'll wake up from a nap and not cry a bit or even be cranky. Usually we can get her to calm down after 10-15 minutes of crying by doing some playful activity. Or sometimes she'll want something such as to watch a certain TV show, to do a certain activity, a certain food, etc. If we don't(or can't) give her what she wants, that's when the 30 minute crying sessions happen.
We're not really for sure what to do. Instincts tell me that she appears to be crying to manipulate us into getting what she wants, but if this is the case she is extremely stubborn and content with crying until her voice is hoarse. What we've tried:
- Time out until she is done crying (works about 25% of the time)
- Attempt to distract her with something fun or interesting(works about 25% of the time. Most of the time she is just not interested)
- Holding her and soothing her until she is done crying (if she wants something, this hardly ever works unless we give it to her though... and it can again take 15-30 minutes for her to calm down when my wife is doing this)
Some of the things she requests are things like
- Candy/junk food
- A particular food(other than junk food, such as eggs)
- To watch a certain TV show
- For us to play with her in her room(when we're trying to get her to eat dinner)
All of these things are particularly problematic because she usually falls asleep when we are preparing dinner. We usually try to keep her awake, but it's nearly impossible when she wants to take a nap.
What should be done in these instances? Has anyone else experienced their children doing the same thing?
Note: Other than these fits, she's usually pretty well behaved(I'd dare to say better than most toddlers at least) and temper tantrums and the like are handled well with a time out(she even knows when she starts crying to go sit at her time out spot and will usually go there before we even tell her to)