Ways Toddlers Self-Soothe

When toddlers self-soothe it is not always in response to being anxious or in discomfort, according to Today’s Parent. Instead, it is a way for toddlers to either begin to learn to self-regulate or to help them feel comfortable to drift off to sleep without help. They find different ways of soothing that instinctively remind them of when they felt comfortable in the womb. This means that things that are soft, warm, and cause vibrations are at the top of the list of what toddlers use to regulate their emotions. And while some may be unconventional, they must work because many toddlers use the same techniques in order to self-soothe.

Toddlers who are able to self-soothe deal better with stations that can cause anxiety or excitement. According to RaisingChildren.net.authey are also better able to control impulses, focus, regulate strong emotions, and get along better with others while it is still a work in progress when it comes to developing these skills, the sooner that toddlers develop a self-soothing technique or two that works for them, the better off they will be with dealing with any situation thrown their way.

RELATED: 15 Surprising Truths About What Self-Soothing Is And Isn’t

Here are ways toddlers self-soothe.

10 Head-Banging

via Pexels/Helena Lopes

Toddlers choose to bang their heads, according to WebMD because it causes “rhythmic movement.” When there are rhythmic movements, toddlers feel their bodies relax and can regulate themselves.

The banging will stop, per the publication, when babies are calmed, or they fall asleep.

9 Moving Head From Side To Side

via Pexels/Emma Bausso

When toddlers move their heads from side to side, they are overstimulated and need to calm down, according to MedicalNewsToday. It may also be a technique they implement when they are trying to go to sleep and need to soothe themselves.


8 Touching Their Body

via Pexels/Pixabay

Parents may notice their toddlers touching their arms, face, nose, ears, or the like when trying to settle in for a nap or for the evening. This is because, according to The Baby Sleep Sitetoddlers touch these places to calm.

Per the publication, parents may even notice that toddlers want to touch their parents’ faces to bring about a soothing sensation before going to sleep as well.

7 Thumb Sucking

via Pexels/Lyudmila Logninenko

Toddlers who suck on their thumbs before going to bed tend to fall asleep before those who do not, according to Huntington Orthodontics. As such, this self-soothing technique is very instrumental for those little ones putting themselves to bed on their own.

6 Fingernail Biting

via Pexels/Jianfeng Lai

Fingernail biting starts off as a way to self-soothe, according to Science ABC. And while it does help toddlers to calm themselves and regulate their emotions, it can turn into a habit if allowed to happen.

Per the publication, when fingernail biting goes unchecked, it can become an obsession. As such, for those toddlers who are using fingernail biting to self-soothe, another technique should be introduced, so it can replace it as soon as possible.

5 Twirling Hair

via Unsplash/Jakub Kriz

When toddlers twirl their hair, they may be dealing with some discomfort, according to Kids Pediatrics. However, they may also be bored or just need to calm down before falling to sleep. It is a way to regulate their emotions and calm themselves regardless of what is going on in the world around them.

4 Picking Nose

picking nose
via Flickr/Quinn Norton

For a time, picking the nose may be a way for toddlers to soothe themselves when they are feeling, anxious according to BabyCentre. However, in many instances, it is more out of curiosity or the need to relieve the nose that he is picked. And because most grow out of it at an early age, it is not likely a self-soothing technique that will last very long.

3 Rocking

via Pexels/Pavel Daniellyuk

When toddlers rock back and forth, they are trying to unwind, according to Parents. The rhythmical motion of the rocking is familiar to that of when they were in the womb. And because of this, it is soothing to rock either when they have had a big day, are dealing with big emotions, or are trying to put themselves to sleep for a nap or bedtime.

2 Holding Onto Blanket

via Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon

Holding onto a blanket is a big self-soothing technique for toddlers. This is because, according to The Sleep Ladythey have attached themselves to it.

Many toddlers will take their blankets with them wherever they go. That way they are able to self-soothe no matter where they happen to travel. However, per the publication, for those toddlers who leave the blanket at home, there is more of an association to sleep attached to the blanket.

When there is an attachment in this manner, toddlers will fall asleep faster. But it is up to parents (and toddlers) which work better and gives little ones the most soothing capability possible.

1 Humming

via Unsplash/Nathan Dumlao

When toddlers participate in breathing exercises, they are able to self-soothe themselves. One of the exercises that they can do is humming. This is because humming provides a vibration that calms, centers, and soothes, according to Your Therapy Source.

Therefore, when frustrated, tired, or overwhelmed, parents may hear their toddlers humming. Something that may sound foreign but is really a very useful self-soothing technique for toddlers.

Source: Today’s Parent, RaisingChildren.net.au, WebMD, MedicalNewsToday, Kids Pediatrics, BabyCentre, Huntington Orthodontics, Parents, The Sleep Lady, Science ABC, The Baby Sleep Site

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