Toddlers are notorious for doing what they want to … and not much else. “Clean your toys please, sweetheart,” you say. They hear, “Please pour more toys out on the floor, run away and if you could stick a Cheerio up your nose … that would be cool!”
Because parenting a toddler isn’t always easy, we’ve compiled five quick fixes for the mishaps of the day that seem to be the most stressful of all – bathing and grooming.
Problem: Your toddler refuses to take a bath
Dirt makes him happy and he doesn’t want to wash off his pudding face masterpiece. Bath crayons might perk his interest. Just remember to wash it off immediately because sometimes it can be tricky to get off after a few days. You can also try measuring cups as bath toys, which can be more fun than their own toys sometimes!
Problem: Your child stuck something up his nose
A popcorn kernel up the nose is no fun for you or your toddler. The first time he does this, you’ll likely flip and head to the ER, but the truth is that it’s usually not serious. You can encourage your child to blow his nose if he knows how; get items you can see out with tweezers or cover his mouth with yours and give a quick burst of air. This will sometimes send the lodged object flying out. If it goes up into the nostril where you cannot see, it will either make its way out the nose or down the back of the throat with nasal drainage. If you are concerned, consult your doctor.
Problem: Tangled-up hair and tears
Ugh. Tangled hair is no fun! Try a quick detangling spray after washing and shampooing hair. Remember to focus on the tangle first when combing and pay close attention to the brush you use. Some can be more painful than others. Softer bristled brushes as opposed to plastic bristles can be easier on tender noggins.
Problem: The poo picker
When toddlers are gearing up for potty training, poo can really start to be a major pet peeve for them. So what’s the solution in his mind? To get the diaper off and the poo out! But with still-developing motor skills, his fingers are an easier tool than wipes. Explaining not to “pick poo” is seldom helpful, but you have to try each time. For a quick clean-up try using wipes and foaming toddler hand soap, which comes in fun colours, making clean-up feel like less of a chore for little hands.
Toddlers are a finicky bunch, but when the day seems too long, remember that you are not alone
Toddlers run on emotion and are natural born explorers. To them, it’s perfectly normal to stick the rubber duck in the toilet to see if it will float or sink. They want to know how many beads they can fit in one side of their nose and what happens if they put the cat on their slide. It’s all a natural form of expression, but don’t worry. Before you know it, they will be entering the preschool years, which are much easier on moms and tots!
If you have ever tried to give a haircut to a wiggling toddler, then you know that it’s not an easy task. Some kids are simply petrified of getting their hair cut … scissors are sharp, right? And then others are so interested in what you are doing they try to turn around to see what’s going on – which either ends in a very time-consuming haircut or a very unique do. But no matter what your toddler haircut nightmare, you can get your little guy or girl to trim up those out of control locks – it just takes a little patience.
Tip #1: Try a cut in front of the TV
The trick to warding off your toddler’s need to see what in the world you are up to back there is by making whatever is in front of them more interesting. Haircuts are a new thing and it’s natural for toddlers to be very curious about them, especially since they only happen on occasion. Try putting on a brand new movie for your toddler or rely on an old favourite. Have another family member distract him with a book. Give his hands busy work. Then get to cutting, because as you know, his attention span is very short!
Tip #2: Remember the wet to dry rule
Wetting your toddler’s hair can make cutting much easier, but don’t forget that if you wet his hair, to use the wet to dry rule. Hair that is wet will dry shorter than you expect, so always allow for a little wiggle room and if you accidentally forget, blame it on an overzealous hairdresser named Pierre.
Tip #3: Try the sleep and style method
If your child isn’t responding to more conservative methods, don’t underestimate what a good old fashioned nap can do. Let your toddler fall asleep in your lap and keep your scissors handy. If you rouse him, you might end up with a few shorter strands; but if your child is a sound sleeper, this method just might do the trick. Quite honestly, if you’ve tried time and time again, this is the least stressful method for both you and your child.
Tip #4: Cut over the weekend and take your time
If your child will sit still for a few seconds but not long enough to finish, remember that it is ok to spread the haircut out over a few sittings. It will save you a lot of grief and in the end your child’s hair will come out much more even than if you tried to finish when they were clearly over the haircutting experience.
Haircuts and toddlers are rarely a pleasant mix, but with a little patience you can give him a haircut that looks professional or at least not gapped up with that “I got in a fight with the scissors and I lost” look. If all else fails, take your child to a professional. It’s a lot less stressful to give the job to someone else that is probably skilled in dealing with many finicky toddlers whose parents also sat their wiggling toddler in their chair. Plus, these days, there are many fun child-friendly hairdressers around who are well prepared with kids’ DVDs and interesting equipment to help distract little ones.
Tooth brushing for toddlers
As soon as the first tooth buds, it seems like tooth brushing is the furthest thing from your child’s mind. When they are only a few months old, the toothbrush seems like more of a toy than a tool. They want to hold it, slurp it, chew it … but they do not want you to brush their teeth with it! This can be very frustrating, especially as teeth care gets more important with each passing month.
By the time they reach the toddler years, it seems like they are too busy to brush their teeth. Some kids will let you give their teeth a quick scrub – if you can catch them – and others will fight brushing tooth and nail. The latter is the most frustrating of all. There’s nothing worse than a bedtime battle. Stress before bed only leads to more stress and can make falling asleep more difficult for both mom and baby.
If your child is giving you “toothbrush grief”, then read on to find a few helpful tips and tricks that have worked for other frazzled moms and their finicky tots …
Make it fun
Sure. Tooth brushing is about as fun as watching paint dry, but with a few little tricks you can make it a little more exciting. Toothbrushes that play music while they brush, light up or make sounds are extra fun for toddlers. It gives them a sense of reward.
Try a reward chart
Toddlers two and up may connect with the concept of getting a sticker for every time they successfully brush. Some parents prefer to give a small reward for every brushing, especially when the child has been difficult. However, most parents opt to give a reward at the end of the week when the child has earned all of his or her stickers for that period.
Sometimes the reason for tooth brushing grief is because your toddler simply doesn’t like the taste of the toothpaste. Try a different brand. Some toddlers prefer specialty toddler toothpaste, which doesn’t foam much and comes in a very lightly flavoured gel or paste. Remember to never brush your toddler’s teeth with adult toothpaste. Toddler toothpaste is usually safe to swallow, but toothpastes made for adults or older children can be problematic if too much is ingested.
As with all things, toddlers take a while to adjust to routines, especially with something as daunting as tooth brushing. If your child refuses to brush and you continue to have trouble with your child’s dental care, consult your doctor or dentist. They will be able to guide you in the right direction and help you keep your child’s teeth looking clean and healthy.