Free Standard Shipping on U.S. Orders $75+

Will My Toddler Remember Me Shouting?


Explore how yelling affects toddler development and learn positive strategies for managing challenging situations without guilt.

As caretakers, we’ve all had those moments—the times when exhaustion, stress, or frustration build up and we lose patience with our toddlers. In a heated instant, our voices can get too loud, and words we may later regret spill out. Emotional regulation is tough for adults and young children, but it’s important to develop the necessary conflict-resolution skills to repair the bond.

Afterward, it’s only natural to feel guilt and worry. Does my child still feel secure? How will this affect their development? Will my toddler remember me shouting? 

Let’s explore the effects our words have on toddlers, constructive ways to work through difficult emotions, and how to cultivate a positive, trusting environment.

The Impact of Yelling on Child Development

The long-term memories of toddlers are still developing. Additionally, the way they process the world around them—especially when it comes to emotional experiences—is very different from adults.

As caretakers, it’s important to understand this so that we can better grasp how yelling impacts a toddler’s emotional and mental growth.

Emotional Memory and Its Long-term Effects

Toddlers have a knack for sensing the emotional tone in their surroundings. So, while they might not specifically remember a shouting incident, the negativity can linger. 

In particular, infants who experience repeated instances of angry yelling may experience psychological effects like1:

  • Problems attaching to their caregiver
  • Heightened sensitivity to anxiety
  • Difficulty forming connections with others

These emotional memories can impact their sense of trust and security—crucial aspects of healthy emotional and psychological development.

Understanding a Toddler's Perception of Yelling

Take a moment to try and imagine how your toddler might perceive yelling. 

As their caretaker, toddlers see you as their lifeline—the person who feeds, cuddles, and cares for them. When that lifeline starts yelling, toddlers lack the language ability or situational awareness to understand what’s happening (or why). 

The result can be a frightening, confusing experience that leads to further upsets in your child

Support BIG feelings. Raise caring and confident children with Slumberkins. Shop now!

Shame and Guilt as a Parent

While we’ve established the negative effects of yelling, the goal is not to make you feel bad. You’re human, too. It happens

So, before you start self-blaming, ask yourself:

  • Is this a one-time incident? If so, try to reframe the situation as an opportunity to build a deeper connection with your toddler. 
  • Is my yelling a recurring pattern? In that case, recognize that there might be a need for deeper changes as this can cause a long-lasting negative effect and trauma.

In either scenario, this situation provides an opportunity for emotional growth. But first, it may be helpful to take a step back and put yourself in the right frame of mind.

Self-Compassion and Reflection

Losing your temper is more common than you might think. In one survey, almost 90% of parents said they had yelled, screamed, or shouted at their kids in the past year.2

So, rather than let guilt paralyze you into inaction, practice self-compassion. Remember: You’re doing your best. 

While it’s good to reflect on what caused the outburst, try to direct your energy toward healing and future parent-child relationship improvement rather than shame or blame. 

Positive Strategies Moving Forward

You can’t control the past, but you can control how you react to similar challenging situations in the future. Here are two constructive approaches that can help inspire healthy relationships: 

  • Practice mindfulness – Try to intentionally ‘tune in’ to your emotions. Simply noticing escalating frustration and taking a moment to slow your breathing can make a difference.
  • Find healthy ways to express frustration – Negative emotions are a part of life. By modeling how to vent them in healthy ways, we teach our children how to successfully deal with frustration in the future. We also have anger management activities for kids that caregivers can participate in and apply to their emotional regulation journey as well.

More than the words you say, toddlers tend to pick up on your body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. If your little one is open to a hug, that physical connection can help them feel closer to you. Alternatively, expressing genuine remorse when apologizing to your child helps model that you thought about their feelings and how your words impacted them.

Rebuilding Trust and Connection After Yelling

After a yelling incident, reassuring toddlers of safety and love is a key step to help them process the mix of emotions they may be feeling. 

Let’s take a look at proactive steps you can take to mend the caretaker-child relationship and re-establish a sense of security:

Apologizing and Reassuring Your Child

Apologizing to your toddler is a powerful step toward healing. A simple, sincere “I’m sorry” teaches them empathy and shows that everyone makes mistakes. While they may not understand everything you say, they’ll certainly understand the loving atmosphere you create.

Creating a Supportive Environment for Emotional Growth

What toddlers take away from a single heated moment is less impactful than what they internalize from the emotional climate you create day after day. 

Rest assured that by consistently surrounding your child with love, care, and intentional sensitivity, trust can be restored.

Slumberkins: Your Partner in Positive Parenting

Parenting pushes us in ways we never imagined. Challenging moments will inevitably happen, despite our best efforts. When they do, it's understandable to wonder, “Will my toddler remember me shouting?”

Here’s the good news: The fact that you’re asking means that you’re a loving caretaker. You have deep concern over your child’s development—and that is what your child will remember.

Just as your child is reassured by your constant love, keep in mind that you’re not alone in this journey, either.

With cuddly creatures, interactive stories, and other resources that help strengthen the caretaker-child bond, Slumberkins is here to help you nurture a comfortable and secure environment your toddler will remember for years to come.

 

Sources: 

  1. Fabian-Weber, Nicole. "The effects of yelling at a baby: What parents and caregivers need to know." Care.com. 14 June, 2022. https://www.care.com/c/effects-of-yelling-at-a-baby/
  2. Van de Geyn, Lisa. "Is yelling at your kids as bad as spanking?" Today’s Parent. Updated 31 December, 2019.  https://www.todaysparent.com/family/discipline/yelling-at-kids/ 

Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published