Tips for raising toddlers are essential for parents who want to navigate this challenging but rewarding stage of their child’s development. Toddlers are curious, energetic, and independent, but they can also be demanding and tantrum-prone. With a bit of patience and understanding, parents can help their toddlers learn and grow while also setting boundaries and teaching them right from wrong.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
Here are some helpful tips for raising toddlers:
Toddlers thrive on routine. Establish a daily schedule that includes time for meals, naps, play, and activities. Stick to this schedule as much as possible, even on weekends. This will help your toddler feel safe and secure, and it will make your life easier, too.
Here are some tips for being consistent:
- Create a visual schedule that your toddler can understand. This could be a simple picture board or a more detailed schedule with times listed.
- Post the schedule in a place where your toddler will see it every day, such as on the refrigerator or in their bedroom.
- Review the schedule with your toddler at the beginning of each day.
- Try to stick to the schedule as much as possible, even if there are disruptions. If you do have to make changes, explain them to your toddler in advance.
Tips for raising toddlers: Set realistic expectations
Toddlers are still developing, both physically and emotionally. Don’t expect them to sit still for long periods or always to behave perfectly. They will make mistakes and have tantrums. That’s part of growing up.
Here are some tips for setting realistic expectations:
- Remember that toddlers are still learning to control their emotions. It’s normal for them to have tantrums, especially when tired, hungry, or frustrated.
- Don’t expect toddlers to understand complex instructions or to follow rules perfectly. Break down tasks into small steps and be patient.
- Give toddlers plenty of opportunities to play and explore. This is how they learn and grow.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other parents, caregivers, or professionals.
Toddlers are still learning and growing. They will make mistakes. That’s part of growing up. Be patient with your toddler and with yourself.
Here are some tips for being patient:
- Take deep breaths when you feel frustrated.
- Count to ten before you react to a toddler’s tantrum.
- Remind yourself that toddlers are still learning and growing.
- Take breaks when you need them. It’s okay to put your toddler in a safe place for a few minutes while you calm down.
Choose your battles wisely
Not every tantrum or outburst is worth a fight. Pick your moments and focus on the most important things.
Here are some tips for choosing your battles wisely:
- Decide which rules are most important to you and enforce them consistently.
- Let go of minor rules and infractions.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Be willing to compromise.
Get down on their level
When you’re talking to your toddler, get down on their level. This will make them feel heard.
Here are some tips for getting down on their level:
- Sit or kneel when you’re talking to your toddler.
- Make eye contact.
- Use a calm and gentle voice.
- Listen to what your toddler has to say.
Use positive reinforcement
Praise your toddler when they do something good. This will help them learn what is expected of them and encourage them to repeat good behavior.
Tips for using positive reinforcement:
- Be specific in your praise.
- Praise your toddler’s effort, not just their results.
- Be sincere in your praise.
- Avoid comparing your toddler to other children.
Be a role model
Toddlers learn by watching the adults in their lives. Be the kind of person you want your toddler to be.
Here are some tips for being a role model:
- Show respect for others.
- Be honest and truthful.
- Be kind and compassionate.
- Be responsible and reliable.
Tips for raising toddlers: Have fun!
Toddlerhood is a special time in your child’s life. Make sure to enjoy it!
Here are some tips for having fun with your toddler:
- Play with your toddler every day.
- Get outside and play.
- Read to your toddler every day.
- Sing songs and dance with your toddler.
- Go on adventures together.
Teach your toddler coping skills
Toddlers are still learning how to manage their emotions. Help them to identify and express their feelings healthily. Teach them simple coping skills, such as taking deep breaths, counting to ten, or walking away from a situation. You can also help them find activities that enable them to calm down, such as listening to music, reading a book, or drawing.
Here are some tips for teaching your toddler coping skills:
- Label their emotions. Help your toddler to identify and name their emotions. You can do this by talking about their emotions as they are experiencing them. For example, you might say, “I see you’re feeling angry right now.”
- Help them to express their emotions in a healthy way. Encourage your toddler to express their emotions in words or through other healthy activities, such as playing or drawing. Avoid teaching your toddler to express their emotions in unhealthy ways, such as hitting or biting.
- Model coping skills yourself. Children learn by watching the adults in their lives. Show your toddler how to cope with difficult emotions by modeling healthy coping skills yourself. For example, you might say, “I’m feeling frustrated, so I’m going to take a few deep breaths.”
Limit screen time
Too much screen time can be harmful to toddlers’ development. Aim for no more than two hours of screen time per day for children under two years old and one hour per day for children between two and five years old. Make sure that the screen time your toddler has is high-quality and educational.
Here are some tips for limiting your toddler’s screen time:
- Set limits on screen time. Decide how much screen time your toddler will have each day and stick to that limit.
- Be a role model. Limit your own screen time in front of your toddler.
- Make screen time active. Encourage your toddler to move around while watching TV or playing video games.
- Choose high-quality educational content. If your toddler does watch TV or play video games, choose content that is educational and appropriate for their age.
Read to your toddler every day
Reading to your toddler is a great way to bond with them and help them develop a love of books. It also helps to improve their language and literacy skills. Aim to read to your toddler for at least 15 minutes each day.
Here are some tips for reading to your toddler:
- Make it a special time. Find a comfortable place to sit and read with your toddler. Make eye contact and talk about the book as you read it.
- Choose books that your toddler will enjoy. There are many different types of books available for toddlers, so choose books that you think your toddler will be interested in.
- Make it a fun experience. Read in different voices and make funny noises. Let your toddler turn the pages and point to the pictures.
Get your toddler moving
Toddlers need plenty of physical activity. Aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This can be broken up into shorter periods, such as 20 minutes of play in the morning, 20 minutes of play in the afternoon, and 20 minutes of play before bed.
Here are some tips for getting your toddler moving:
- Plan active playtimes.
- Encourage active play.
- Make it fun.
Provide your toddler with a safe and nurturing environment
Toddlers need to feel safe and loved to thrive. Make sure that their home is safe and that they have plenty of opportunities to play and explore. Create a loving atmosphere for your toddler, and tell them you are always there for them.
Here are some tips for providing a safe and nurturing environment for your toddler:
- Make your home safe. Remove any hazards from your home, such as sharp objects or small objects that could be a choking hazard.
- Provide plenty of opportunities for play and exploration. Give your toddler a safe place to play where they can explore and learn.
- Create a warm and loving atmosphere. Make sure your toddler feels loved and supported. Spend time with your toddler daily and tell them you care about them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Parenting can be challenging, and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Talk to your friends, family, or pediatrician about your concerns. There are also many resources available to help you, such as parenting classes and support groups.
Here are some tips for asking for help:
- Identify your needs. What do you need help with? Is it managing your toddler’s behavior, dealing with your stress, or something else? Once you know what you need help with, it will be easier to ask for it.
- Be specific. When you ask for help, be clear about what you need. For example, instead of saying, “I’m really stressed out,” you could say, “I’m feeling overwhelmed with managing my toddler’s behavior. Could you help me by watching them for a few hours so I can take a break?”
Here are some additional tips for specific areas of toddler development:
Tips for raising toddlers: Potty training
Potty training is a huge milestone for toddlers, and it can be a challenging time for parents. But by following these tips, you can help your toddler learn to use the potty successfully:
- Start by talking to your toddler about potty training. Let them know what to expect and why it’s important. Explain that when they use the potty, they’ll be a big kid, just like Mommy and Daddy. You can also read books about potty training with them.
- Put your toddler on the potty regularly, even if they don’t have to go. This will help them get used to the feeling of sitting on the potty and associate it with using the bathroom. You can put them on the potty after meals, before naps, and before bed.
- Praise your toddler when they use the potty successfully. This will help them learn that using the potty is a good thing. You can say something like, “Good job! You’re such a big kid!” You can also give them a small reward, such as a finger puppet, sticker, or a piece of candy.
- Don’t punish your toddler for having accidents. Accidents happen, especially when toddlers are first learning to use the potty. Just clean them up and try again. If you get frustrated, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that this is a normal part of the process.
Additional tips for potty training toddlers:
- Make sure the potty is comfortable and easy for your toddler to use.
- Place the potty in a convenient location, such as in the bathroom or near their bedroom.
- Let your toddler choose their own potty training underwear or training pants.
- Make sure your toddler drinks plenty of fluids throughout the day.
- Avoid giving your toddler sugary drinks, such as juice and soda, as these can cause frequent urination.
- Be patient and supportive. Potty training can take some time, but with your help, your toddler will eventually learn to use the potty successfully.
Tips for raising toddlers: Dealing with Tantrums
Tantrums are normal in toddler development. While tantrums can be frustrating for parents, it is essential to stay calm and collected during these times.
Here are some tips for dealing with toddler tantrums:
- Stay calm and collected. It can be challenging to stay calm when your toddler is throwing a tantrum, but it is crucial to do so. If you get upset, it will only make the tantrum worse. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that this is a normal part of toddler development.
- Offer your toddler choices or distractions. If possible, offer your toddler choices during a tantrum. For example, you could say, “Do you want to sit on the floor and cry, or do you want to come with me and pick out a book to read?” You can also distract your toddler with something they enjoy, such as playing a game or singing a song.
- If the tantrum continues, take your toddler to a quiet place to calm down. If your toddler is having a major tantrum, it may be helpful to take them to a quiet place to calm down. This could be their bedroom, the car, or even outside. Once they calm down, you can talk to them about what happened and try to help them find a better way to express their emotions.
It is important to remember that tantrums are a normal part of toddler development. Most toddlers will outgrow tantrums by the age of four. However, if you are concerned about your toddler’s tantrums, talk to your pediatrician. They can offer additional tips and support.
Here are some additional tips for dealing with toddler tantrums:
- Be consistent with your discipline.
- Avoid giving in to your toddler’s demands during a tantrum.
- Teach your toddler other ways to express their emotions, such as using words or drawing pictures.
- Get down on your toddler’s level and talk to them calmly.
- Let your toddler know that you love them and are there for them.
Tips for raising toddlers: Creating a Nighttime Routine
Sleep is essential for toddlers’ growth and development. However, many toddlers have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. By following these tips, you can help your toddler establish good sleep habits:
- Establish a regular bedtime routine. A routine helps signal to your toddler that it is time to wind down and go to sleep. The routine could include taking a bath, brushing their teeth, reading a story, and singing a lullaby. Try to stick to the same routine every night, even on weekends.
- Create a calming bedtime environment. The bedroom should be dark, quiet, and cool. Avoid using electronic devices in the bedroom before bed, as the blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with sleep. You may also want to use a white noise machine to block out any noise that could disturb your toddler’s sleep.
- Help your toddler fall asleep independently. Once you have completed the bedtime routine, it is essential to leave your toddler to fall asleep on their own. This will help them to learn how to fall asleep without your help. If your toddler gets out of bed, calmly tuck them back in and tell them it is time to sleep.
- Avoid screen time before bed. Screen time before bed can interfere with sleep. Avoid letting your toddler watch TV or use electronic devices in the hour bed. Instead, focus on calm and quiet activities like reading a story or singing a lullaby.
It is important to be patient and consistent when helping your toddler establish good sleep habits. It may take some time, but with your help, your toddler will eventually learn to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own.
Here are some additional tips for helping your toddler sleep:
- Make sure your toddler is getting enough exercise during the day, but avoid strenuous activity before bed.
- Avoid giving your toddler caffeine or sugary drinks before bed.
- Establish a nap schedule and stick to it as much as possible.
- If your toddler has trouble falling asleep, try using a relaxation technique such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about your toddler’s sleep. They can offer additional tips and support.
Stress-Free Meal Time Tips:
- Offer your toddler a variety of healthy foods. This will help them to develop a healthy palate and to get the nutrients they need. Some ideas for healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
- Don’t force your toddler to eat if they’re not hungry. Trust that they will eat when they are hungry. If they refuse to eat, don’t make a big deal about it. Offer them food again at the next meal or snack time.
- Let your toddler help prepare meals. This can be as simple as washing fruits and vegetables or stirring ingredients together.
- Serve small portions and allow your toddler to ask for more. This will help them to learn how to listen to their hunger cues.
- Make mealtimes fun and relaxed. This is a time for you and your toddler to connect and enjoy each other’s company. Some ideas for making mealtimes more fun include playing music, talking about your day, or telling stories.
- Don’t be afraid to let your toddler get messy. It’s all part of learning to eat independently.
- Take breaks during meals if needed. This is especially important for younger toddlers who have shorter attention spans.
- Avoid using food as a reward or punishment. This can teach your toddler unhealthy eating habits and make them associate food with positive or negative emotions. Instead, try to focus on praising your toddler for good behavior and setting a good example by eating healthy foods yourself.
- Be patient and understanding. Learning to eat is a new skill for toddlers, and they will make mistakes along the way.
- Enjoy mealtime with your toddler! Mealtimes should be a time to connect with your child and make positive memories.
Here are some more helpful tips for raising toddlers:
- Use positive reinforcement whenever possible.
- Be consistent with your discipline.
- Avoid physical punishment.
- Focus on teaching your toddler right from wrong.
- Give your toddler opportunities to try new things and make their own choices.
- Praise your toddler for their efforts, even if they fail.
- Be patient and supportive as your toddler learns to do things independently.
- Establish clear and consistent limits.
- Be prepared to enforce the limits you set.
- Explain the limits to your toddler in a way that they can understand.
- Be consistent with your discipline.
Raising a toddler can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. By following these helpful tips for raising toddlers, you can help them learn and grow while setting boundaries and teaching them right from wrong.