High Pitched Squealing - Help!

Updated on January 13, 2010
R.C. asks from Galt, CA
10 answers

My one year old is squealing so loud it is painful! Especially in the enclosed car!! My 3 1/2 year old did this but I can't remember what we did! My husband describes it as spine shattering! My sister suggested getting a fly swatter for the car so I can reach around and swat him (lightly) when he does it in the car. BUT I WANT TO STOP IT PERIOD!! What is worse the baby gets the 3 yr old going and then it is in stereo!! I get him to stop but then he says "baby is doing it!" Help!!

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answers from San Francisco on

I have two little boys the exact same age. My first went through this phase at 6 months and I was horrified. My second, now a year, is in the phase now. I actually think NOT reacting to it is what made it go away the first time around. We try to explain that to my older son, but he's very upset by it and is always yelling back at him. I think if he can learn to ignore it, the baby will stop. It is an annoying habit, but it's one we always look back and laugh about with the older one...it will pass! Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

My son went through this right around 12 months old, and now at 18 months will do it occasionally. I used to get so unnerved by it sometimes! Telling them Shhhh, or to talk quietly never seemed to work. The best advice someone gave me, which is the hardest to do but works--simply ignore them. They want a reaction. So if you turn your body away from them, and say nothing and wait a few minutes they will stop. This works sometimes...but not always! It's maddening, I know! Another trick I tried was saying "Hey! What's that? What's that over there?!" in an excited voice and I point behind them or out the window and my son would quickly stop screaming and look to see what I was talking about. I'd say "Is that a Purple Cow?...or anything I could think of that would catch his attention. It makes him re-focus his attention on something...then I start talking to him, singing, or whatever to keep him thinking about something else, and he stops screaming. I find he does the shrieking when he's bored, anxious or wants my full attention. In the car, you can get childrens' CDs and play them kinda loud and sing along in funny voices---that sometimes helps too. Good Luck!!

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answers from San Francisco on

In the car, I am assuming the baby/kids are in the the back seat, set the car speakers for rear only and when the squealing starts, crank up the volume on music that you enjoy, with the level being louder than the squealing. It takes a lot of energy and effort for a baby to squeal or cry that loud and if they can't even hear themselves, they will stop. As he quiets down, lower the volume level.
At home, get some nice over the ear headphone and when the squealing/crying starts, turn on you ipod, or mp3 player, crank up the volume and block out the noise. You will still be able to see and monitor the children, you just will be removing the cause of your irritation.
Your baby/child will eventually stop doing this, especially if he isn't getting a reaction or attention. I also found that if I used the times my children chose to squeal or have a tantrum to run the vacuum cleaner, they stopped. Like I said, it takes a lot to make that kind of noise and if they can't even hear themselves they will stop.
Hope this works.

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answers from San Francisco on

The challenging part is how to handle it in the car. .

But once my 5 yr old niece was doing that at my house, and my brother-in-law just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know how to stop that."

Using the techniques from the book "1-2-3 Magic" I told me niece that I wanted her to stop the behavior and that was her first warning. If I had to tell her 2 more times, she was going into a time out. She stopped immediately.

I think most people say time outs should be 1 minute for the childs age (5 min for a 5 yr old, 3-4 for your son). When ever I put my daughter in her bedroom for a timeout she screamed that she had to go to the bathroom. From then on, all timeouts were in the bathroom.



answers from San Francisco on

The fly swatter idea sounds terrible too! Find out if he has a hearing problem contributing to this squealing noise.



answers from San Francisco on

I think it's just a stage. My son did it for a short while and the more I asked him to do it a little softer,the more he did it LOUDER.... then I decided to just not give it energy and stopped commenting when he did it.. eventually, he stopped it. I think the more we give energy to certain things, the more children do them.. both positive and negative. maybe take it one day at a time and for one day decide that his screeching isn't going to get you upset. see if YOUR reaction being different will alter your child's.
best of luck


answers from Fresno on

Ignore it completely. It's a phase. The more attention you give this behavior, the longer it will continue. Both of my kids went through this phase, and the split second the squealing started, I'd calmly get up and leave the room. When the child stopped squealing, I came back. It didn't take long for the game to stop being fun for them. In the car, pull over and wait until the noise stops. Don't allow your 3 year old to participate in making the noise. Tell him to do the same you're doing, just leave the room, or in the car, plug his ears but otherwise ignore it. This too shall pass.



answers from San Francisco on

Have you tried talking really quietly when the squealing starts? Almost in a whisper. I have seen teachers do this in classroom. Because the kids cannot hear, they quickly become quiet to hear what is happening next.



answers from San Francisco on

Squirt him with a squirt bottle, like a cat?



answers from San Francisco on

Some of this advice is great, however time outs do not work at this age as you can not reason with a 1 yr old. They don't understand language on that level.One of our twins was really into screaming! Ouch. Our family doesn't swat. If it was completely up to me I probably would have given a swat or 2. Every alterntive I read said to ignore redirect and not give the screaming any attention, good or bad. It is a normal faze (for some children) and it will pass. (Very painful while it lasted). It did upset some other people in the store. What can you do you need to get groceries. It did seem that the more upset and focused we were on getting it to stop the more pumped up he became. It would become a game, including giggles.