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Helpful Tips for Parents of Toddlers (Age 1 - 3 Years)

mom pushing kids in laundry basket

Helpful Tips for Parents of Toddlers (Age 1 - 3 Years)

toddler girl holding up Lego style giraffe block toy

When your baby becomes a toddler, there is so much to keep up with. They begin to get a lot more active, more social and able to communicate their wants and needs. It’s an exciting time as your child’s personality begins to take shape. It’s an important time of learning – for your child and for you.

Toddler Parenting Tips

Father reading to child

Help Your Child Learn New Words

  • Encourage your toddler to explore and try new things
  • Set up a special time to read books with your child and do it often
  • Play matching games like shape sorting and simple puzzles
  • Explain in simple terms how things work
  • Encourage pretend play with your child
  • Play follow the leader or have a pretend parade
  • Help your child learn language by talking with them and adding to words they use. If your toddler says “dada” say something like, “Yes, you are right, that is daddy”
fathers playing with child

Encourage Your Child to Explore

  • Ask your child to find different things and to name different body parts and objects around the house
  • Encourage your child’s curiosity and ability to recognize common objects away from home by taking walks together or going on a bus ride and pointing out what you find along the way
  • Encourage your child’s feeling of independence by letting them help get dressed or feed themselves
  • Respond positively to good behaviors more than you punish unwanted ones (and only use brief time outs)
  • Criticize the behavior, not the child. “Do not touch the hot stove, you could get hurt.” Is better than “You are being a bad boy!”
  • Ask your child to tell you their name and age
child sitting on kitchen counter eating with mother looking over shoulder

Help Your Child Express Themselves

  • Teach your child simple songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and other childhood rhymes
  • Limit attention you give to tantrums and acting up. Teach your child better ways to show when they are upset
  • Let your toddler make choices, like which game to play or what book to read
  • Limit the choices you give to two or three, this lets them feel in control without getting frustrated
  • Let your toddler work through problems before you offer to help. Then only give the help needed to stay safe and continue working things out
  • To keep from getting frustrated yourself, make sure what you expect fits your child’s age. For instance, most toddlers will have toilet accidents
grandparents talking to grandchild

Try These 15 Daily Early Learning Activities

Here are 15 things you can easily work into your daily schedule to create wonderful early learning moments with your child from birth to age 3. They are simple and anyone who spends time with the child can do them. The infographic is also available in Arabic and Spanish.

Learn 15 Daily Activities

More Resources for Parents of Toddlers

Get the Milestone Tracker App

An easy way to keep track of when your toddler should reach certain milestones. Plus, find activities and learning tips for each age from the Center for Disease Control.

Learn How to Keep Kids Healthy

Healthy Kids, Healthy Future is a place to find information on physical activity for young children and on ways to keep them moving. Plus, how to improve food choices, provide healthy drinks, and more.