The Ultimate Guide to Toddler Care

The Ultimate Guide to Toddler Care

By Babysits, 30 min read

Your toddler care questions, answered! Whether you’ve never taken care of a toddler before or you’re looking for the answer to a specific question, we’ve got you covered. Our guide covers common basic and in-depth questions you have about toddler care.

There is a ton of information to cover when it comes to taking care of a toddler. The pieces of information that are more relevant may differ depending on how much experience you have with toddlers. We’ve organized the guide as follows:

Chapters:


Toddler Physical Health

Toddler Physical Health

Hygiene

Teaching kids good hygiene from an early age is a great way to ensure they continue healthy and hygienic practices as they grow older.

Learn more about toddler hygiene.

Toddler Hygiene

1. Washing hands

Learn more about toddler hand washing.

Toddlers love to explore their surroundings by touching things with their hands. So, it’s extra important to keep toddlers hands clean by washing them with soap and water regularly throughout the day. Since nails are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and germs, you need to make sure your toddler cleans under their nails too! It’s also important to trim your toddler’s nails regularly and discourage them from putting their hands in their mouth. Here’s a list of when to wash your toddlers’ hands:

  • Before and after eating food
  • After going to the toilet
  • After playing with or touching animals/pets
  • After touching dirty things
  • After playing outside
  • Sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose
  • Arrive home after being out in public (e.g. school, shopping centre, park)

toddler hand washing

 

2. Oral hygiene

Keeping toddlers’ teeth clean is just as important as keeping adult teeth clean, and requires the same amount of care and attention.

Learn more about toddler oral hygiene.

Once your child’s first tooth appears, around 12 months old, you should start visiting the dentist regularly. It’s vital that parents follow a daily dental routine to keep their toddler’s teeth clean and healthy. Remember to:

  • Brush your toddler’s teeth twice a day.
  • Floss toddler teeth daily.
  • Use a child’s toothbrush (it’s smaller and better suited to little mouths).
  • Use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste

For children under 18 months old, simply put water on the toothbrush unless your dentist has instructed otherwise. Toddlers can start helping to brush their teeth at around 2 years old. Letting them help in holding the toothbrush can make them feel like they’re part of the process. However, kids will need your help and supervision brushing their teeth until they’re around 7 or 8 years old.

Giving your toddler sweet treats occasionally is absolutely fine, but there are some things you should be mindful of. For example, it’s important to not let sweet foods linger in your child’s mouth for too long. It’s also important not to let your toddler fall asleep with sweets, milk, juice, or flavored drinks in their mouth as this can cause cavities and rotten teeth.

toddler brushing teeth and oral hygiene

 

3. Food hygiene

Learn more about toddler food hygiene.

It’s good practice to teach your child to use cutlery from an early age to avoid transferring germs from their hands to their mouth. Toddler-safe cutlery such as a plastic spork or spoon will work best.

It’s also important to store food adequately, rather than leaving it laying around in the hopes that your child will return to it later. Once your toddler has stopped eating, store the remains in an airtight container in the fridge or cupboard, depending on the food item.

 

4. Bathing tips for toddlers

With endless days of exploring, learning, growing and making messes, it’s no wonder that toddlers require frequent baths!

Learn more about toddler bathing tips.

Many parents and carers find it easiest to include bathtime as part of their child’s bedtime routine. When preparing the bath for a toddler, fill the water to their belly button height and no higher. It’s essential to always supervise your toddler during bathtime. Be sure to stay within arms reach and never leave the bathroom.

Use soap and a cloth to wash their body, beginning gently with their face. You only need to wash your toddler’s hair twice a week. To prevent lice, teach your child not to share hats, hair accessories, and brushes. When washing your child’s feet, be sure to clean in-between their toes, on the underside of their foot, and under their toenails to keep germs away. If your toddler has particularly dirty feet, use a scrubbing brush to scrub them with soap and water. Make sure your toddler is sitting or standing sturdily so they don’t slip. Keep their footwear clean to prevent smelly feet by washing socks regularly and airing out shoes.

Once your toddler is clean and dry, finish off with some moisturizer. Finally put on a clean pair of underwear and a fresh change of clothes. If you have a particularly messy child, you may need to change their clothes more often.

toddler bathing tips

 

 


Sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital to the health and wellbeing of all people, so it’s no surprise that it’s extra important for growing little bodies! But getting toddlers to go to sleep on-time, and convincing them that bedtime isn’t the end of the world, can be a tricky task for many parents.

Read tips to help your tot get the rest he or she needs here.

1. How much sleep do toddlers need?

According to the NHS(1):

  • Toddlers need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep per day and will often take day naps
  • Preschoolers need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep.

2. Sleep problems in toddlers

Often, toddlers don’t look forward to bedtime. This could be for a number of reasons, including:

  • feeling that they’re missing out on fun activities after they’ve gone to bed
  • they don’t want to be separated from their parents or guardian
  • they might have nightmares or be scared to be alone in their room

Unfortunately, sleep problems are common in toddlers, especially around the preschool age. But luckily there are steps you can take to help your child get the sleep they need. These include:

  • Establish a bedtime routine - Be consistent with your bedtime routine. Kids thrive on a good routine to get them to sleep, so it's important to find a simple bedtime routine and stick to it consistently.
  • Relax before bedtime - Use a quiet tone. Avoid playing with your toddler before bed as this will get them excited and make it harder to fall asleep. You could try listening to bedtime lullabies or reading a bedtime story.
  • Avoid eating right before bedtime - A light snack before bed can be a good idea, but try to make sure there’s at least an hour or two between dinner time and bedtime. A full meal right before bed can disrupt sleep.
  • Use a nightlight - If your child is scared of the dark or feels unsafe going to sleep alone, it could be beneficial to purchase a nightlight to help them feel more comfortable at bedtime.

3. Napping during the day

Once your child is around 2 years old, naps should have decreased to about once per day and last up to 3 hours. Once toddlers reach preschool age, they’ll be much less likely to nap during the day. However, they can still benefit from a day nap.

4. When should my toddler sleep in a bed instead of the crib?

The majority of toddlers will move from a crib to a bed when they’re around 2 or 3 years old.

bedtime tips for toddlers

 


Diet

Ensuring toddlers are getting all the nutrients they need can feel like quite the challenge! During these early years, toddlers grow and change exponentially, and so it is vital that they receive the essential nutrients to keep their bodies strong and healthy. But there’s no need to worry, as long as you provide your toddler with a balanced diet, you can rest assured that they’re on the right track.

Read more about toddler diet.

1. What’s a balanced diet for toddlers?

Depending on their size and age, toddlers should be eating between 1,000 and 1,400 calories per day.

2. How often should my toddler eat?

  • Toddlers need three meals and about two to three snacks, as well as six to eight drinks, every day.

  • The amount of food that toddlers eat (and the frequency) can change day to day. Some days, toddlers might eat as if they have bottomless stomachs, and other days, they’ll eat less. The important thing is to not place too much emphasis on this; so long as you’re providing your toddler with frequent and balanced meals, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

  • Don’t insist on having your toddler finish their plate every time. Giving toddlers the independence to decide for themselves when they’re full is best. If they’re soon hungry again later, you can always offer the same unfinished plate.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics(2), parents should include these four food groups in their toddlers diet every day:

  • Starch 5 toddler portions every day of starch (i.e. rice, bread, pasta, potatoes or cereal)
  • Fruits and veggies 5 small portions of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Dairy 3 small servings per day of dairy
  • Protein 2 portions per day (meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils etc.)

3. Things to avoid

While everything is okay in moderation, there are certainly things we should avoid giving our toddlers (especially in excess). Try to avoid:

  • Salt
  • Artificial flavours, colors, preservatives and sweeteners
  • Eggs and shellfish (unless cooked properly; be careful)
  • Avoid nuts until your child is 3 years old if there’s a family history of nut allergies. Avoid whole nuts until your toddler is at least 5 years old.
  • Don’t force your child to eat; it’s not good for them to have a negative association with mealtime
  • Limit juice because it's often high in natural sugars and can be bad for teeth
  • Don’t use dessert as an incentive for finishing dinner. Try and serve it with the rest of their food.

Healthy Eating for toddlers

4. Serving food to toddlers

It’s important to pay close attention to the foods our toddlers eat and to be mindful of which foods are potential choking hazards. As a general rule of thumb, follow these tips:

  • Avoid choking hazards by cutting food into small and manageable bite-sized chunks
  • If possible, cook foods so that they are soft (e.g. pumpkin, carrots, pears)
  • Do not serve children small, round foods such as grapes. Cut grapes in quarters or halves.
  • Avoid hard foods like raw carrots until your toddler is older.
  • Serve your child ground meat, as opposed to whole pieces. Avoid chewy meat.
  • Use utensils suitable for toddlers, such as a plastic spork with blunt prongs.
  • Place your toddler in a comfortable highchair.
Foods that are Choking Hazards for Toddlers

foods that are choking hazards for toddlers

 


Exercise

Toddlers seem to have bucket loads of endless energy, but how do we know they’re getting enough exercise every day? Ensuring your toddler is getting enough physical activity throughout the day will help them stay fit, happy, healthy, and make sure that they’re tired once bedtime rolls around.

Learn more about toddler exercise here.

1. How much exercise should my toddler be getting?

According to the National Association of Sport and Physical Education(3), toddlers should get 30 minutes of structured exercise, and at least one hour of unstructured exercise, per day.

2. Fun exercise games for kids

There are plenty of fun games and activities that you can play with toddlers! They’ll love using their imagination while playing games and participating in sports, especially if their friends and family get involved too. Check out these exercise games for inspiration:

  • Simon Says
  • Go on a bear hunt
  • Yoga
  • Follow the leader
  • Dance party
  • Ring Around the Rosy
  • Use chalk to draw a hopscotch on the pavement
  • Make an obstacle course
  • Red light, green light

3. Get out and about

Stepping outside for a breath of fresh air can work wonders for adults and toddlers alike. It’s only natural that both you and your toddler will go a little stir-crazy staying inside all day. Getting outside every day isn’t only great for physical health, but it’s also great for our mental health! Consider these tips:

  • Walk or cycle to the grocery store if it's within reasonable distance from your home rather than taking the car.
  • Venture to your local park and allow your toddler to run, jump and climb on the play equipment.
  • Walk around the neighborhood with a toddler trike (tricycle) so your toddler can have a blast on their wheels and you can get a chance to stretch your legs too.

Outdoor activities for kids and toddlers

4. Sign your toddler up for a group sport

Group sports aren’t just fun for toddlers, they’re also absolutely adorable for parents to watch! But if your toddler isn’t interested in a group sport, you could also give gymnastics a go or try a dance class such as ballet. Group sports are great to get toddlers moving and developing early communication skills through socialisation and play.

5. Lead by example

As with most approaches to parenting, the best thing we can do is lead by example. If your toddler grows up in an environment where eating unhealthy and binge-watching television is the norm, then it’s unlikely that they won’t follow suit. The best thing we can do to get our toddlers moving and shaking is to lead by example by living healthy and active lives.

 


Safety/first aid

As they grow, toddlers will become increasingly curious about their surroundings and will be busy getting into things that might not be safe for them. Luckily, there are plenty of things we can do to increase our toddler’s safety.

Tip: It's important to know basic first aid and CPR so you know what to do in case of emergency. It’s even better if you can take a first aid course designed specifically for children. Below are some toddler safety tips to avoid different dangerous situations.

toddler safety

Preventing falls at home

Tips to Prevent Falls at Home

  • Keep an eye on your child as they grow and take note of what they can reach at certain ages so you can adjust your home accordingly.
  • Install safety gates to block access to stairs and balconies once your toddler starts crawling (and especially before they start walking).
  • Install safety gates at both the bottom and top of staircases.
  • Install firmly attached window guards to prevent toddlers from falling.
  • Place skid-proof pads under all rugs in the house.
  • Keep close to your toddler while they’re climbing, so that you can catch them if they fall.
  • When grocery shopping, keep your toddler strapped into the trolley using the safety belt.
  • Remove sharp-edged furniture from the rooms your child plays and sleeps in.

Poisoning

Tips to Avoid Child Poisoning

  • Keep all medicines out of reach of children (and never refer to medicine or vitamins as candy).
  • Keep all cleaning products out of sight and reach.
  • Ensure all medications and cleaning products have safety caps on.
  • Keep dangerous and potentially poisonous items in locked drawers and/or cabinets.
  • Never store heavy-duty drain cleaner in your home.
  • Keep all products in their original packaging to avoid mix ups.
  • Keep in mind that toddlers are able to climb, jump and get into mischievous places when deciding on where to keep dangerous items.

Burns

Tips to Avoid Children Getting Burns

  • When cooking, turn pot and pan handles inward so they aren’t hanging over the edge of the countertop.
  • Keep your child out of the kitchen and in a safe place while you’re cooking (e.g. in a playpen, crib, or highchair).
  • Keep dangerous items (such as lighters, hot liquids, hair styling tools and candles) out of children’s reach.
  • Never leave your toddler unsupervised in the kitchen.
  • Keep in mind that toddlers learning to walk might steady themselves using items such as hot oven doors, wall heaters or grills.
  • Keep hot food and drinks out of your toddlers reach.
  • Ensure you have a working fire alarm in all areas of your home. Change the batteries at least once a year and use long-life batteries.
  • Check the temperature of your hot water heater and set it to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent tap burns.

Choking

Tips to avoid children choking

  • Toddlers experiment by placing all kinds of curious items in their mouth, so it is important to keep a close eye on them.
  • Follow age recommendations on toys, especially toys that have multiple small components.
  • Until your toddler is 4 years old, avoid foods that could pose choking hazards, such as whole grapes, popcorn, nuts, hard candies, and chewing gum.
  • Instead, provide toddlers with safe finger food options such as soft cheese, banana, yogurt, well-cooked pasta and vegetables. Ultimately, it’s best to avoid foods that are hard (like a raw carrot), round (like a slice of sausage or a whole grape), chewy (like gummies) or sticky (like a spoonful of peanut butter).
  • Keep items such as rocks, coins, buttons and safety pins out of your child’s reach.

Drowning

Tips to avoid drowning

  • Never leave your toddler unattended near water. Toddlers can drown in very shallow water, including kiddie pools, bathtubs, buckets of water and toilets.
  • Stay within an arm's length of your child at all times when around water.
  • If you have a swimming pool, ensure that it is properly fenced off with a self-latching gate.

Car Safety

Child Car Safety Tips

  • When driving in a car, always ensure toddlers are sat in an adequately restrained car safety seat appropriate for his/her size and age.
  • All toddlers should sit in a rear-facing car safety seat for as long as possible until they reach the maximum height or weight for the car safety seat’s manufacturer.
  • Ensure you read the manual and follow closely the instructions for installing a toddler car safety seat.
  • It is always safest for children, toddlers and infants to ride in the backseat of a vehicle, never the front seat.
  • Never leave your child unattended in the car.
  • Always check behind your car before backing out of the driveway. It is possible that you won’t see your toddler behind the car in the rearview mirror.


Social Development and Emotional Wellbeing

Toddlers are between 1 and 3 years old, the stage between baby and preschooler. When your child reaches this stage, their physical growth and motor development will slow down. Instead, there will be significant changes to their emotional and social abilities. Therefore it is important to encourage and support social development and emotional well-being. How do we do this?

toddler social and emotional development

Keep reading about toddler social development and emotional well-being here!

Playtime

What do we mean by playtime? Playtime for toddlers can mean a variety of different things. Playtime is an unstructured and unscheduled free time for kids to have fun and let their imagination and creativity run wild. Unfortunately, statistics from the AAP(4) indicate that children are playing less than in past decades. The decline is in part due to a rise in media use and screen time, which we will not consider as playtime in this article. Children do not need expensive toys and gadgets to have fun, sometimes a wooden spoon is enough to entertain your little one. According to research by the Association for Psychological Science(5), playing a simple game of peek-a-boo with your toddler can have many social and emotional benefits for them.

There should be a balance between scheduled activities and unstructured play time

Although scheduled activities like daycare or music classes are beneficial to toddlers, there needs to be time for free play. A strict schedule can get stressful for parents and children alike, even when the activities are fun! When it comes time to choose a daycare or preschool for your child, pay attention to how they incorporate unstructured playtime as well as playful learning into their day.

How to play

Puzzles, and building blocks are simple and inexpensive objects which will stimulate your child’s imagination and encourage creativity. Make-believe and pretend play are also great ways to help your toddler explore their creative side. Playing doctor or pretending to be a book-character are two fun examples. Reading stories to your toddler regularly may also help inspire more pretend play. For younger toddlers, drinking out of an empty cup and drumming on a plastic container are also great examples of how to play pretend.

Whether it's parents, siblings, or daycare friends, playtime is a great time for toddlers to learn how to interact with others. Playing regularly with your child can enhance the parent-child relationship. A good parent-child relationship is key for a child’s mental health no matter how young. When toddlers play with their siblings, cousins, or friends, they also learn about sharing, taking turns, and other valuable social skills.

Playtime can help children develop their coordination, build muscle strength, and improve balance, but staying active has more than just physical benefits. Climbing, running, and jumping around also helps children learn how to manage their emotions. Learning to fall and get back up again is a lesson of resilience that will come in handy later in life. Playing is also good for a toddler's emotional well-being, since the joy and excitement of playtime can reduce feelings of sadness, worry, or anxiety.(6)

valuable forms of toddler and child play

Art

Art helps kids develop their communication skills, manage their emotions, and boost their confidence! Keep reading to learn more about how art benefits toddlers’ social development and emotional well-being.

Art is beneficial for childrens’ language development and communication skills.

  • For children who are visual thinkers, creating art can help them process and express their thoughts more easily.
  • For children with difficulty expressing themselves verbally, creating art provides an alternative way for them to communicate.

Art can also help children become more comfortable communicating verbally. When kids talk about colors, shapes, and other elements in their artwork, they actively expand their vocabulary. Discussing art, whether it’s their own or someone else’s, teaches children to describe what they see and put their thoughts into words.

Both speaking and listening skills are important, therefore hearing other children discuss their art is also beneficial.

Working on a craft or art project can help children in many other ways:

  • It helps children practice their patience and improve their focus.
  • Art is also especially valuable for children who may struggle with emotional stability. With art, children have the opportunity to convey their emotions and express their feelings in a different way.
  • Art-related activities are meditative, quiet, and relaxing for most, this helps calm the nervous system. By participating in these activities, children can soothe symptoms of stress, reduce anxiety, and improve their overall emotional well-being.
  • Furthermore, the quiet and meditative qualities of art also encourage time for reflection.

Instead of putting your child in a timeout, try giving them a paper and some markers. Let your child reflect and work through their emotions with art!

Art also promotes self-expression which can help boost confidence. Creating art can also provide children with a sense of purpose. There are so many types of art, and the best thing about it is that there is no right or wrong. For this reason, art is incredibly valuable to children who may be struggling in school or in social situations. If you have a child who is interested in art, let them talk about their art and ask them open-ended questions about it. You can also celebrate their work by complimenting their art, providing thoughtful feedback, and praising their effort.

Let your child decide what they want to paint or draw and resist the urge to change their mind. All of these efforts will benefit your child’s confidence and self-esteem.

benefits of art for toddlers and young children

Bullies

Bullying is unfortunately a widespread issue among children. It can affect children of all ages, even young toddlers. Bullying can negatively impact toddlers’ social development and take a big toll on their emotional well-being.

There are different types of bullying, the main ones being: physical bullying, verbal bullying, social bullying, and cyber bullying. You do not need to worry about cyber bullying until your children are old enough to engage with digital technologies. The most common forms of bullying among toddlers are physical, verbal, and social bullying. The bullies may be other children of the same age, but might also be family members like older siblings or cousins.

Physical bullying refers to the following:

  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Pinching
  • And other actions causing physical harm

On the other hand, verbal bullying mostly consists of name calling, teasing, and other insults.

Since toddlers are still learning to communicate verbally, this form of bullying often comes from older children.

Social bullying refers to more covert forms of bullying, for example mockery, giving mean looks, or excluding others from playtime or activities.

What can you do if your child is being bullied? Be patient, bullying is not something you can fix overnight. Be there for your child and try talking to them about it. Talk to daycare teachers, babysitters, and other parents. Let them know what’s going on and tell them to keep an eye out for bullying. If the situation is more serious, seek help from a trained professional.

What are signs of bullying to look out for?

  • An unwillingness to interact with other children could be an indication that your child is being bullied.
  • Bumps and bruises. Although toddlers can be quite clumsy, inexplicable bumps and bruises can be a result of physical bullying.
  • Changes in appetite and difficulty sleeping, could also be signs that your child is struggling with bullies and their emotional well-being.
  • Sudden changes in behavior should always be monitored.

signs of bullying


Toddler Care - Family Dynamics

It is important to spend time together as a family, particularly for toddlers who are at a crucial developmental stage.

toddler family dynamics

Learn more about family time, screen time, and discipline.

Spending time together - family time

Studies have consistently shown the positive impact of spending more family time together. Specifically, according to some studies, maternal time input has a direct, causal relationship with skill formation, particularly in cognitive skill development.(7)

Learn more about toddler family time here.

Studies from the University of Chicago(8) also find that time spent in educational activities, especially with parents, is the most productive input for cognitive skills.

Not only does time together with parents and family positively affect toddlers, it can also have a beneficial effect on parents themselves. According to the American Sociological Review(9), parents report greater subjective well-being in activities with kids as opposed to those without them.

No matter whether you have lots of time to spend with your toddler or not much time at all, you can make sure that you take advantage of the time together with your child.

Here are some tips for spending quality time together with your toddler:

  • Create daily routines to spend quality time with them. Set specific time aside to connect and you can also create your own special activities to do together, whether it be singing your favorite song together while brushing your teeth or helping with cooking.
  • Take time to make, sit down, and eat meals together as a family.
  • Put away devices. (this also sets a good example for responsible screen use for them).
  • Remind them you love them.
  • Acknowledge positive behavior and show that you appreciate it.
  • Take time to do things they want to do.

quality family time with toddlers

 

Screen-time

Nowadays, as children grow older, technology becomes increasingly present in their lives.

Particularly regarding toddlers, this is a point in time where they are more likely to be introduced to TV shows and movies.

However, it’s important to keep in mind recommendations for screen time for young children.

Learn more about toddler screen time guidelines and tips.

Specifically, the WHO and AAP(10) suggest that toddlers should have no more than an hour of quality screen time per day. This is something that is increasingly exceeded by toddlers and preschoolers. In fact, a 2019 study found that 79 percent of two year olds and 97 percent of three year olds exceed the hour of recommended screen time per day.

Why is it important to follow the guidelines?

Dr. Love from the Cleveland Clinic(11) explains, “Excessive screen time can actually directly impact cognitive and physical development. It’s important to understand that when kids are on a screen, and they’re sitting – they’re not walking, they’re not running, they’re not engaging with motor skills, and they’re also not having those social exchanges with their caregivers.”

However, because of the times it can seem impossible to completely eliminate screens. For this reason, Dr. Love and other pediatricians suggest creating a family media plan. A media plan makes it easier to keep to guidelines and have a set structure to screen time.

Media Plan - and other tips for structuring screen time for toddlers

How do you set up a family media plan or what are other tips to handle toddler screen time?

The AAP is a helpful resource regarding creating a family media plan. Specifically, you can use their template to create your own media plan. You can easily find this on the AAP website included in our appendix(12).

Otherwise, you can always make your own media plan. Things to consider when structuring a toddlers screen time are:

  • How much screen time (try to focus on a max 1 hour)
  • What time in the day this occurs
  • What this screen time includes: educational games on the tablet, watching tv, or Youtube Kids.
  • What other things they may need to do prior to screen time

creating a family media plan

 

Discipline

Toddlers can be quite unruly (it's easy to imagine why “toddler tantrums” is such a common saying). Disciplining them isn’t always the easiest task.

Here are our top tips based on expert opinions regarding toddler discipline!

 

First and foremost:

Spanking and Harsh Words are Harmful and Don't Work.

toddler discipline

Avoid using negative actions to discipline toddlers and children in general. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics(13), “Research shows that spanking, slapping and other forms of physical punishment don't work well to correct a child's behavior. The same holds true for yelling at or shaming a child. Beyond being ineffective, harsh physical and verbal punishments can also damage a child's long-term physical and mental health.”

Luckily, there are plenty of effective, constructive ways to discipline toddlers or teach them right from wrong.

Here are some fundamental toddler discipline strategies (supported by the AAP and other research).

  • Model positive behaviors. Displaying positive, healthy behaviors yourself is one of the best, preemptive ways to help teach your children good behavior. They will learn from your actions (and reactions).
  • Set clear boundaries. Make sure children know what is expected of them and keep it consistent.
  • Understand where they are coming from, take a moment to listen. Take time to hear them out, be empathetic, and understand why they are having a tantrum. This can help you provide a solution and in any case will show the child that you value their feelings.
  • Give them attention by pointing out and praising good behaviors. Next to modeling positive behaviors yourself, make sure to show appreciation for their good behavior! This helps children learn and reinforces continuing good behavior.
  • Set consequences. Make sure there are clear, consistent consequences for when children behave poorly.
  • Redirect bad behavior with distractions. Give the child something else to do, this can divert attention and focus.

Tantrums are a natural behavioral response for many toddlers. What are toddler tantrums and why do they happen?

Click here for a quick summary:

Put most simply, tantrums are an emotional outburst kids use to express themselves. They can be caused by many different factors including fatigue, hunger, feeling ignored, and/or anxiety.

One of the most common foundations for tantrums is frustration or anger. In particular, as toddlers grow older they also want autonomy. Temper tantrums are a common way for toddlers to respond to not being allowed autonomy or not getting what they want.

But how do we deal with toddler tantrums? Here are some helpful tips:

How to avoid toddler tantrums ahead of time

There are several ways to avoid tantrums or reduce the chance of them occurring.

Some tips include:

  • Establish a routine, plan things ahead for time when a child is less likely to be tired, cranky, or hungry.
  • Let the child make some choices. This way they can have some feeling of autonomy.
  • Avoid situations likely to cause tantrums (such as avoiding candy aisles in the grocery store if kids historically have meltdowns when they aren’t allowed to get the candy they want).

But what about when the tantrum is already happening?

Top tips for dealing with tantrums in progress are:

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Try to distract them.
  3. Try to understand the root of the tantrum. If you know they are throwing tantrums because they are hungry or thirsty, it may be relatively easy to solve.


Conclusion

Hopefully this guide answers all of your questions about toddler care! Is there something we didn’t cover that you think should be included? Let us know!

If you’re looking for a babysitter for your toddler or looking to get into toddler care, Babysits is a great place to start. We provide plenty of resources like this to help inform our community of babysitters and parents, to provide the best environment for children. Sign up now to get started!

Looking for more resources and helpful articles? Check out our community resources here!


Appendix/Sources

(1) NHS

(2) American Academy of Pediatrics

(3) National Association of Sport and Physical Education

(4) AAP

(5) Assoc. For Psychological Science

(6) The Atlantic

(7) Early Maternal Time Investment and Early Child Outcomes

(8) University of Chicago

(9) American Sociological Review

(10) WHO, AAP, JAMA Pediatrics

(11) Cleveland Clinic

(12) AAP Media Plan

(13) AAP Disciplining your Child