Helping new and expecting moms through the messiness of pregnancy, babies, and toddlerhood.

How to Be a Better Mom to Your Toddler

Have you been feeling down about yourself as a parent lately? Looking for ways to help you be the best mom you possibly can be for your toddler? 

First of all, I’m sure you’re doing great mama. I mean, the fact that you’re searching for ways to help you improve as a parent already makes you spectacular. 

But, I know the toddler years can be rough (and amazing at the same time) and that mom guilt can really get to us. Sometimes you just need that extra reassurance that you’re doing the best for your child. 

And while there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, there’s certainly things we can do to help us nurture our children, aid in their development, and let them know that they are loved. 

In this post, we’ll cover 13 different ways to help you be a better mom to your toddler today. 

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13 Ways to Be a Better Mom to Your Toddler

Here are 13 of my best tips to help you parent your toddler with love and logic and gain confidence as a mom. 

1. Stop Criticizing Yourself

Improving as a parent starts with improving YOURSELF. You need to stop being so hard on yourself mama and start respecting yourself. 

Criticizing yourself will only make you more stressed out and less happy around your children. 

Start focusing on the positives in your parenting, and remember that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. All we can do is give our best. 

I also want to stress how important it is to not talk badly about yourself in front of your children. Don’t say “I look awful” or “I look fat” or anything like that in front of them. 

We need to be good mentors and set our children up to have self-esteem. 

The more compassion and respect you give yourself, the more you’ll start seeing that in your relationship with your toddler. 

2. Make Time for Yourself

In order to be at our best for our children, we need to start making time for ourselves. 

Indulge in a favorite hobby, like biking or reading, or have your hubby watch the kids when you get home so you can take a nice soothing bubble bath. 

Taking this time for yourself will make you a happier person and parent. You’ll be in a better mood for your family and you’ll have more patience with your kids. It even improves your relationship with your spouse. 

Your kids will also take notice and you’ll be setting a good example for them on how important self-care truly is. 

3. Be Present

I can’t stress how important this is.

Just be present mama. 

In a world of technology and organized activities, parenting can seem like a complete world of chaos. 

But, all our children really want is our time and attention. This is the best way we can show them that we love them. 

Screens are taking over. Everything is a picture, we have to look up the answer to every question we have, and we’re aimlessly scrolling through social media when we’re with our kids. It’s even been leading to some tragic accidents. 

Try to ditch the smartphone, either by leaving it in the other room when you’re with your kids, downloading an app to set time restrictions, or switching it out completely with an old flip phone. 

If you’re working on your computer and your toddler wants your attention, then take a break and give them that attention. Often all it takes is about 10-20 minutes of undivided attention before you can easily get back to your work or household chores. 

I ditched my smartphone about a year ago, and I can’t tell you how much happier I am without it. I’m not as easily distracted anymore and I just feel so aware and present in the moment when I’m with my family. 

4. Get Outside

Getting outside is so important for your mental health.

We all need that vitamin D and getting in touch with nature just seems to make life so much simpler and puts you in a better mood. 

Kids needs to have time outdoors every day to play, explore, and learn in nature. 

Make it a goal to get outside for at least 30 minutes each day. I know this may hard to do in the dead of winter, but even just a few short minutes could help. 

Being outdoors will help improve your mood, burn off some of your toddler’s energy, and just improve your relationship as a whole. 

5. Understand Your Child's Current Stage in Development

Part of being a better mom to your toddler is getting a good understanding of who they are and the development stage they’re currently in. You need to comprehend what is going on inside of that little brain of theirs and be ready for the next rapid shift.

Understanding their brain development and how it affects their actions and emotions will help you to be able to manage these behaviors in a calm and effective manner

You’ll have more confidence in your parenting and be able to handle toddler tantrums like a pro

If you’d like to get started learning about the toddler brain, then I highly recommend the books The Whole Brain Child and How Toddlers Thrive. These books use studies to help explain the developing mind and give you effective tools and examples for handling common toddler challenges.  

6. Allow Them to Express Their Feelings

Part of nurturing the developing mind and parenting with respect is allowing your toddler to express their emotions. 

I know it can be exhausting, as toddlers can get upset about the silliest things and often show their feelings in extreme matters, like yelling, throwing themselves on the floor, etc. But, you wouldn’t ignore your spouse if they were sad or tell your friend to stop crying

We need to accept our toddlers emotions and show them that it’s okay, and actually a good thing, to express how we’re feeling. We need to treat them with the same respect that we would anybody else. 

Now, if your toddler is expressing their emotions in a violent or destructive manner, such as hitting, biting, or throwing, then you need to think of a creative outlet for how your toddler can express their feeling without harming anybody else. For example, you could let them throw a soft ball into an empty trash can or buy an inflatable punching bag for them to hit.

7. Apologize

Let’s be real, no matter how hard we try to be gentle and respectful, sometimes we just lose our cool

We get sleep deprived, touched out, and pushed to the edge, and we end up yelling at our children…And then quickly regretting it. 

The best thing you can do in this situation is to apologize. 

Use some stress busters to help you calm down and then go talk to your toddler. Get down on their level, tell them that you’re sorry, and let them know that they are still loved.

Kids forgive and forget quickly, but doing this is essential for building trust and a healthy relationship with your children. No matter how small. 

8. Avoid Comparisons

If your toddler isn’t doing something that you want them to be doing, then be sure to do your best to not compare. Don’t say “Look, she’s doing it.” or “XYZ is going potty in the toilet. Why don’t you try?” This tactic is not likely to work and often makes the child feel shame

Now, you could make a game out of it instead. Like, “Who can get their clothes on the fastest?” or “Can you hop all the way to the car?” Just don’t compare another child to yours or your children to another. 

This is also an important point for you as a parent. You need to remember that every child develops at a different rate, and some children succeed in certain areas first and others later.

For example, both of my kids have excelled in gross motor skills early on, but took a little while longer for verbal communication. Several of their friends seemed to do the opposite. 

The majority of the time, it’s nothing to worry about, and they all seem to catch up to each other eventually. 

You’re also going to have your own unique parenting style, priorities, and values, so try not to have the “keep up with the Joneses” mindset. Focus on what’s important to YOU and YOUR family. 

9. Don't Talk About Them In Front of Them

You also need to be sure to not compare your child to others in front of them. I know this can be easy to do as a mom, and I’ve certainly been guilty of doing this, but we really need to be more mindful of what we’re saying in front of them. 

Whether you’re talking to your spouse or chatting with a mom friend, you need to be aware of what you’re discussing and always stay positive about your child when you’re in front of them. 

Don’t talk about how they did so poorly at swim lessons or the fact that she doesn’t count to ten yet or that he bit another kid at day care. This is only going to make your child feel shameful and make you feel the negative effects of comparison. 

10. Let Your Toddler Help

Toddlers have an innate desire to help, explore, and learn. So, let’s let them! 

It can be hard to let go sometimes and lower our expectations, but allowing your toddler to help will provide far greater benefits than having precisely folded laundry. 

Allowing them to engage in practical life activities will help support their development and foster independence. It will make them feel good about themselves and improve the bond between you. 

So, grab a learning tower and let them help you bake. Get some child-size cleaning tools, and allow your toddler to help you sweep, dust, and mop.

You can also let them help you clean windows, unload the dishwasher, or put their toys aways. There’s really so many chores toddlers can do. 

11. Take a Step Back

The toddler years are all about becoming a unique individual and gaining independence. But in order to make that happen, us parents need to take a step back sometimes. 

It’s such a joy to play with our children, but they also need to have the capability to play independently. We ned to let them be bored and figure things out. 

When you do this, your toddler’s imagination will begin to explode and they’ll start to develop problem-solving skills

Let your toddler get frustrated when they’re doing a puzzle. Give them a chance to figure it out and wait for them to ask for your help. For younger, pre-verbal toddlers, just step in after a little while or teach them the sign for help

12. Don't Force Affection

I feel like forced affection just sends the wrong message.

We should respect our children’s body and their decision to avoid contact with another person. 

For example, when leaving a friend’s or relative’s home, ask them if they want to give hugs or high-fives. If they don’t want to do either, then let it be.

We shouldn’t be sending the signal that they have to physically touch another person, even if they’re not comfortable with it. 

This will also help your toddler build trust and gain confidence

13. Schedule Some Quality One-on-One Time

Lastly, just be sure to spend some quality one-on-one time with your toddler. This will help you to gain a deeper connection and watch your toddler’s personality come alive.  

It will also show your toddler how much you care about her and even help minimize negative, attention seeking behaviors

Schedule some special mommy-daughter toddler dates or some mommy-son days.

It can be something as simple as painting, cooking, or watching a movie together, or something more extravagant, like heading to the zoo or going on a train ride.

I’m sure your toddler will love whatever you come up with! 

You're Doing Great

The toddlers years are such a special time. But, they can certainly also be challenging and make us question our parenting.

But the thing is, there’s no perfect parent. We just have to do our best.

So, stop criticizing your parenting and start showing yourself compassion. Stop comparing and focus on the positive. Dive deeper into your toddler’s brain and try your best to understand and nurture what they’re going through.  

Most importantly, just be present. All your toddler really wants is your time, attention, and love. 

You’re doing great, mama. Keep it up! 

Did You Find This Post Helpful?

Do you plan on implementing any of these tips? Share what you found most helpful in the comments below and be sure to share this post with other toddler moms. 

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