Everyday Care for Toddlers

Caring for your toddler is sometimes fun and sometimes overwhelming, but it's always busy. From potty training to storytime to full-blown tantrums, there is almost never a dull moment with toddlers. Your toddler is no longer a baby content to lie on their play mat and coo at you. Now you have a little explorer, propelling themselves along on slightly unsteady legs, ready to discover everything they can about the world. Here are some tips to help you take good care of your toddler day-to-day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I do with my toddler everyday?

    Toddlers thrive on routine. It's a good idea to start their day with a meal and basic tasks like getting dressed and brushing their teeth. Have them help with household chores like loading the dishwasher or sorting laundry. You could spend time outdoor and let your toddler explore nature or the playground. Then, come home for lunch and put them down for a nap. In the afternoons, ideas include going outside again, or staying home and playing with blocks or puzzles. Serve dinner and go right into your bedtime routine, which could include a story and a song.

  • How do you take good care of a toddler?

    Your toddler needs you to structure their day to meet their needs. This includes nourishing food (three meals and two snacks), time to play (at least three hours), and time to rest (11 hours at night plus a one to two-hour nap). Toddlers need close supervision as they explore their world. They also need your unconditional love.

  • What should a toddler's daily schedule be?

    Toddlers are usually ready to start their day around 7 in the morning. They need breakfast and then a morning snack about two hours later. They should get outside by about 10 a.m. and spend most of their morning playing and exploring. Lunch should be around noon, with a nap right after. When they wake, they may be ready for another snack. In the afternoons, toddlers can play with open-ended toys like blocks or a ball. Dinner would need to be early so there is time for a bath and getting ready for bed by about 7 p.m.

  • Do toddlers need to go outside everyday?

    Playing outside has many benefits for toddlers and it's ideal if they can get outdoors every day. Sun exposure helps keep toddlers' body clocks in balance, improving their nighttime sleep. Getting outside also helps toddlers meet their daily requirement of at least three hours of physical activity. Meeting this minimum improves behavior, learning, and sleep. On occasions when you cannot go outside, open curtains to expose your toddler to natural light and find creative ways to keep them physically active.

  • What are signs of behavioral problems in toddlers?

    Tantrums are common in toddlerhood, but extreme behavior can indicate a problem. Reach out to your pediatrician if tantrums happen multiple times per day or if they escalate for long periods. It is typical for toddlers to test limits as they learn to assert their independence. Encourage your toddler's developing sense of autonomy by giving them choices and teaching them to do things for themselves (while enforcing safety rules), which may reduce behavior problems.

  • Why do toddlers hit me?

    Toddlers may hit because they can't express themselves in words. If a toddler wants to play with you, they might hit you because they don't know how to tell you. If this happens, teach them the words they need to use to ask you to engage with them (also be ready to teach them that sometimes you can, and sometimes, they have to wait). Toddlers may also hit to express frustration, such as when they do not want to leave the playground. When this happens, offer empathy, while making it clear that hitting is not OK. You might say, "I know you're disappointed. But, you need to use gentle hands."

Key Terms

Page Sources
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