At least eleven times a day, I wonder what exactly is causing my toddler's irritability or meltdown. She's learning new words by the day, but connecting her emotions or feelings to those words is taking a little longer than I anticipated, and what she needs or wants remains a mystery much of the time. That's why figuring out whether she needs a snack or a nap is such a dilemma. If you're in the same boat, you need to brush up on these signs your toddler is tired, not hungry because toddlers can be so tricky to read.
If your toddler is fussy and crying outside of meal or snack times, or they turn down food they otherwise enjoy, those are signs that your toddler is really tired instead of hungry. Raising Children, an Australian parenting site, broke it down for us struggling parents: "Grizzling and crying can mean your child is tired, but it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between tired grizzling and hungry grizzling." They suggested this simple tip for parents wondering what to offer their struggling kiddo: "If your baby has had a feed within the last two hours and is ... cranky, she’s probably tired."
The same goes for toddlers. If your kid has eaten recently but still isn't settling, it's a good indication that he needs to take a time out with his bed for a little while. Here are a few other signs that can help you decipher your toddler's grumps.