10 Genius Ways to Handle a Grumpy Child

10 Genius Ways to Handle a Grumpy Child

So, your little one is being grumpy. Here is how some mums we spoke to dealt with their grumpy kids.

In general, kids are mostly cheerful. When they are younger though, they seem to be grumpy more often than you'd like (can you say "tantrum?").

We can relax though, mums, because the older our kids get, the less grumpy they will be.

This is primarily because as they grow, their ability to communicate their feelings improves.

Younger kids tend to have grumpy spells mostly because they lack the communication skills to let their parents know what they want or how they are feeling.

This really frustrates them and usually results in them either being grumpy or throwing a tantrum in frustration.

Through my personal experience with my own kids, I’ve found that other reasons kids get grumpy are simple — they could just be tired, sleepy or hungry.

Again, it comes down to not knowing how to deal with their feelings.

What’s funny is that this doesn’t only happen to kids. If you think about it, we adults can also get a bit grouchy when we are exhausted.

Also, imagine if you couldn’t express yourself in words when you want something. Pretty frustrating, huh?

Needless to say, there are times when we find ourselves stumped for ideas on how to deal with a grumpy child.

So here’s where other mums come in… we asked mums to share what they do when their kids are grumpy.

Here are some great ideas, which you will no doubt find insightful!

1. Ask him to talk to you

10 Genius Ways to Handle a Grumpy Child

"When my 4-year-old is grumpy, I sit down with him and try my best to get him to tell me what the problem is. Once he tells me, his mood always improves." — Nalika

Sometimes, getting your little one to talk about his feelings can really help you understand what he wants.

If your child is too young to communicate in complete sentences or phrases, try asking him questions such as “Are you sad?” or “Are you hungry?” and so on.

Then, if he can, have him shake his head "No" or nod "Yes" — this will help you rule out certain factors for his grumpiness.

2. Stop what you are doing and give your child your full attention for a minute

“I don’t have a helper so I do most of the housework by myself. Although I’m generally well organised I tend to be busy all the time.

"So there are times when my 2-year-old starts to whine about everything.

“I used to get pretty annoyed by her whining especially when I thought about the work that was piling up, but through experience I’ve learned that I should just stop what I’m doing and give her my full attention.

“It is also a reminder to me to that I need to slow down and spend some time with her because all she wants is me to be around her for a while and she snaps out of her grumpy mood.” — Anandi

3. Try hugs and kisses!

friends with your child

“It depends on the child's age, since I have 3 kids. For my almost 8-year-old, I try to talk to him about it, and ask how he's feeling and why he's feeling so.

“For my 5-year-old, it's almost the same thing. For my 1-year-old, I try talking to her but also try to see if she's sleepy, hungry, etc.

“For all three, I also try to remember that giving hugs and kisses really help to make the grumpiness go away!” — Tina

It is amazing what a hug can do! This is a tip I will definitely try, and you should, too.

4. Distraction can be your 'secret weapon'

One mum says that distracting her grumpy child with a toy, a story, or a song works wonders.

This technique really works for children who are too young to communicate their feelings using words.

5. Give them some space

One mum, Dana, shares a great tactic you could use on a slightly older kid.

She said, “I suppose it depends why they are grumpy; if they are tired or hungry then we try and resolve that underlying issue first — which usually helps.

“But if they just woke up grumpy — which happens to all of us — then I try and give them more space, just some quiet time, and less demands from them at that point in time.

"They usually come back to normal soon enough.”

6. Use humour

Sometimes, all a child needs to get over her grumpy mood is a good laugh.

This works wonders when my 5-year-old is having a rare grumpy day. She usually gets grumpy only when her allergies flare up.

I tell her a knock-knock joke or we play a game called ‘Funny Faces’, where the two of us take turns to make ridiculously funny faces to see who cracks up first!

Try it, it really works!

7. A bath can do wonders!

isoderm, baby bathing

Some mums said that their kids respond amazingly well to a calming bath.

Although I’ve not tried this tactic on my kids, I’ve tried it on... myself!

When I’ve had a particularly tough day, a calming warm shower does wonders!

So, understandably, it must work for kids too. I'll definitely try this the next time my little ones get the 'grumps'!

8. Exercise to chase the 'grumps' away

“When my 3-year-old boy is having a particularly grumpy day, I change the mood by letting him go to the playground and exert himself.

“Although this does tire him, I find the change of scenery, the other kids and the activity really changes his mood.” — Joy

9. Let the children play... and make a mess!

“We rarely have grumpy days around our home, because our daughter is a mostly cheerful 2-and-a-half-year-old and there’s most often an underlying reason when she’s grumpy.

“However, on the rare occasion we have a little grump on our hands, we know that getting messy always makes her happy.

“We usually let her play with water, and it works wonders.” — Anna

10. Pop those grumpy moods with lots of bubble fun


One of the main reasons smaller kids get grumpy (other than the most common ones, i.e. being hungry, tired, or sleepy) is boredom.

Bubbles can entertain any bored little one and it is amazing how soon they’ll snap back to their normal cheerful selves while chasing after and bursting bubbles!

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Written by

Minoli Almeida

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