Why Does My Toddler Drag His Head on The Floor?
First of all, before you start to worry, the behavior is more common than you think. Whether it be for one reason or another, toddlers are learning to express their feelings in many ways. Banging or dragging their head on the floor may be one of those ways. The behavior is more common in some children than others and is a way of expressing feeling or learning. Here we shed light on some of the most common reasons you may see your toddler drag his head on the floor.
1. Toddlers Do Weird Things
At each milestone in their development, toddlers are continuously learning and paying attention to the environment around them. Because situations are so new at this point in life, their behaviors are common to be unusual according to our “adult standards.”
Such strange actions can include body rocking, head dragging, banging, or rolling, to name a few.
Most of the time, children act this way to stay calm or to feel control in some way. Being aware of the fact, it is crucial to assure yourself that most cases, it is to be expected. If you should be worried, however, always talk to your child’s pediatrician.
As different milestones approach, you will find your child doing different actions and going through new phases. Some behaviors last longer than others, while some may take longer to grow out of. Assuringly, if your toddler drags his head, it is not uncommon for the habit to last until he is about three years of age. Parents need to handle these behaviors accordingly. You should not shame your kids when you see odd behaviors. The best way to handle it is by acknowledging and casually redirecting the habit to more socially acceptable behavior.
2. They are Tired or Crying
From their first cry to a growing child, toddlers will always make known to you if they are tired or unhappy. Unlike many assumptions, they are not always going to begin to cry as a warning sign. While it is more likely for babies to react to hunger or tiredness by crying, toddlers are not always this way. Here is yet another example a toddler may drag their head on the floor.
The energy (or lack-of) is hard for them to express in the moment of their frustration. They are going to let it out in any way they see fit in the moment. If the child is tired or hungry, or if it is easily able to be fixed, the behavior may stop instantaneously. Parents need to notice the cues and act accordingly when they happen.
3. Frustration Reliever
When we are frustrated, we are usually given a chance to voice the fact. Toddlers, however, are not at a stage where they can tell you straightforwardly in words what is going on. An example is when dragging their head on the floor may happen, consistently, or not. Many parents report a dramatic head flop to reveal to their parents; they are not happy with the current situation. He or she often looks up as if to ask, “so, are you going to do something?”
Frustration can happen to toddlers due to not being able to understand what is going on or out of unhappiness. The other possible reasons for this behavior are likely due to hunger, lack of attention, or tiredness. Banging or dragging their heads is a way of vocalizing their frustrated demeanor, in hopes for it to grab someone’s attention. Some babies display the behavior as they become strong enough or are learning to hold their heads up.
Sometimes toddlers do stuff that causes us as parents to laugh. As a way of comforting themselves, toddlers behave in numerous ways. Dragging their head on the floor happens during play, at times, going from one toy to another. Sometimes it is also an in-between of crawling and walking. The form of the game in this example is good for toddlers’ comfort and engages themselves with their environment.
Jennifer Kolari is a well-known child and family therapist and author of Connected Parenting: How to Raise a Great Kid. She states, “The brain likes comfort and associates comfortable things with whatever was happening at the moment.” What it could mean is a toddler expressing it by dragging their head on the floor. Additionally, Jennifer goes on to state toddlers are always looking for comforting sensations that are familiar to them as babies.
Due to forming neural pathways, these behaviors repeat themselves. So, it is likely your toddler dragging his or her head is not something that will stop right away. As sudden as it may have started, at some point, it will end just as sudden as they reach another developmental milestone. As humans who are natural habit-formers, likewise, even at the age of a toddler, it already becomes evident. Once the habit is broken, or the toddler finds another way to soothe themselves during uncertain situations, the behavior will cease.
5. Attention-Seeking Behavior
No matter the age, children will take measures to draw attention to themselves if they feel they are not getting enough. This desire to feel wanted or needed starts at a child’s earliest moments. Like most children, they will go to many extremes to feel included and desirable. These behaviors may be as non-harmful as dragging their heads or more serious such as banging their head against something.
In instances like these, it is vital to redirect and make it clear to your toddler what the expected expectation is. Do not assume they will know. Children often show if you are not actively involving them or looking at them, they are bothered. All attention-seeking behavior must be identified and dealt with in positive ways. If your child seems to be showing you, they are not getting the attention they need, listen. Also, an excellent way to look at it is allowing these behaviors to be a reason to be more engaging with your child.
We may not always know what our children need or want, but noticing the signs of dissatisfaction, allow us to do better.
6. Pain Relief
One of the most common pains children experience is are ear infections, although pain could come from any number of reasons. When children have pain, they display it in a variety of ways. For the toddler with the ear infection, he or she may tug at their ears or cry. Surprisingly, if your child is in pain, they may drag their head on the floor; it can be one of many indications they are not feeling good.
The mechanism of dragging their head may be a calming method or a distractor for them. Whatever the case may be, it is essential to rule out reasons for their actions. The most important reasons to rule out are pain, hunger, or withdrawal. Making sure you know why something is occurring is the first step to understanding and fixing the problem.
Being worried or uncertain about your child’s behavior is likely going to occur one way or another for all parents. Luckily for us, we have resources to use to explain odd behaviors to help us understand our children more. As you are now aware, toddlers dragging their heads across the floor is a behavior common for a variety of reasons. The behavior is enacted and can be dealt with once a parent is aware of the reason it is occurring.