I'd just picked my daughter up from preschool when my she started to wail from the back seat. She wanted her teacher, a snack, and to wear her winter hat in 80 degree weather. I pulled over when she said she had to pee, but she didn't and was indignant that I wouldn't take her into the real estate office (no, they don't sell milkshakes). What was going on? I know I'm not the only parent who needs a translator for their kid, so I looked into what a toddler is trying to say when they have a meltdown.
Throwing a bonafide fit is a normal part of life with a toddler. According to What to Expect, tantrums are most common between ages 2 and 3, although they can certainly start earlier and continue into early childhood. Still, it can be hard not to feel personally victimized when your child is having a fit, particularly if it's in public. Understanding why little ones have meltdowns is the first step toward effectively managing and eventually preventing them from occurring (or at least reducing their frequency). That starts with knowing the triggers, and trust me when I say that, unfortunately, there are a lot of them.
Before you assume that your kiddo is completely off their rocker (and believe me, I've been there), consider their still-developing brains. Their emotional outburst may be their only way of communicating the following: