How to Be a Better Mom to Your Toddler

If you have a toddler, you know it’s not so easy.


In fact, parenting a toddler is a non-stop task because they are incredibly curious little people who want to learn about EVERYTHING!


Toddlers touch things, lick things, kiss things, and investigate everything any way they possibly can.


And, if you’re like most moms with toddlers, at some point you have probably wondered how to be a better mom to your toddler.


You can read books about parenting toddlers, but they don’t know YOUR kid. I have even Googled, “parenting toddlers books”, which in turn led me to research and read parenting books and dedicate an entire post to the BEST books for parenting toddlers.


Of course, you could ask your friends, but their parenting style is guaranteed to be different than yours, not to mention the fact that their kid is likely very different from yours.


Or, you can start to look at yourself and see how YOU can change yourself and figure out how to be a good mom to a toddler.



mother spending quality time with toddler



Becoming a Better Toddler Mom Begins With You!

Achieving better parenting skills is something that begins with you. You need to look at how you react to your child’s behaviors, both good and bad.


Are you on them constantly about the things they do wrong, but you fail to praise them when they do right?


That can be really tough on a little one who is trying to better understand how the world works. Kids are curious and that’s not a bad thing!


It’s fairly easy to be a good mom to a baby. You change their diapers, burp them, feed them, let them sleep, and play with them.


The toddler years are VERY different. It can be hard to embrace and enjoy this time in their lives and yours, when all you feel like you’re doing is trying to figure out how to survive the toddler years.



Fear not!


The toddler years and all that comes with them won’t be around forever. Believe me, you’ll blink your eyes and they’ll be in kindergarten.


Before I go any further, let me be the first to say that I have yelled at my toddler. I try to reserve my yelling voice to alert of danger, but there have been moments when I have lost my cool. But, I am still trying to figure out how to be a good parent to a toddler, without yelling.


So, the advice I am going to share is advice that I have found to be useful as well.


I have discovered how to be a better parent to a toddler without yelling and I am going to share that with you. I want to help you be more present with your kids in a way that is going to be noticeable to you and them.





*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. I only recommend products I love or would personally use.



mother holding toddlers hands


Learning How to Be a Better Mom to Your Toddler


Be Present

We are living in a time when technology has become a driving factor in our busyness. We are CONSTANTLY on the go trying to get from here to there without forgetting to do everything we are supposed to do along the way.


It’s tough to come home from the craziness of work and give your undivided attention to your toddler when you’re trying to make dinner, check email, make weekend plans, and maintain your social media.


Oh yeah, and find the time to prioritize your marriage after having kids!


BUT, the reality is that if you are a working parent, you are likely only spending about 4 hours (MAX!) with your kids each day. Let that sink in! You want to make the most of that time.


And, part of that time is spent in the car on the way home from daycare, sitting at the table eating dinner, taking a bath, and snuggling at bedtime.


How are you going to choose to use the rest of that time?



Let Your Toddler Help

My recommendation is simple. Allow your toddler to help with things around the house.


There was an article published in NPR recently about kids in a small Mayan village in the Yucatan. The article discusses toddlers specifically in reference to the kids “helping” around the house. Toddlers in that culture are taught to wash dishes, help with the laundry, pick up after themselves, sweep the floors and the list goes on.


They have an inherent desire to help. They want to learn and this is the age to teach them.


The crazy part? They weren’t given any type of reward for their behaviors.


This way of life was an expectation.


There was no prize for doing the right thing.


Another article from Psychology Today shares about how toddlers want to help and we should let them. In a study, parents were asked to work slowly, without giving any verbal instructions to their toddlers. What the study showed was that children would volunteer to help, simply because they wanted to be doing the same thing as their parents.


It is a cultural standard that we as Americans have failed to grasp.


Let me be the first to say that this concept right here has changed the way I parent.


Instead of telling my kids no when they ask to help, I take the time to teach them how to do something. I would LOVE for my kids to learn how to empty the dishwasher, set the table, and sweep the floors.


Those are all things that I am then NOT doing by myself.


Many people will say, “Well, I’ll just do it myself, if Johnny helps me do the dishes, the entire kitchen will be wet”.


Chances are, you’re right.


But, the more often you let Johnny help you with the dishes, the better he will get at them, and eventually, he will understand that is his job, and you will no longer have to do the dishes.


Be present. Get involved with your kids and TEACH them how to do things.



how to be a better mom to your toddler pinterest pin


Put It Down!

Put down your cell phone.


I struggle with this one.


In fact, there are times I will purposely “lose” my phone so that I don’t feel compelled to pick it up if it goes off.

You know, it’s a funny thing how our expectations of ourselves and others can be very different.


Here is an example.


Let’s say you’re playing on the floor with your toddler. You’re reading a book together and in the middle of your sentence, your phone goes off. You stop mid-sentence to read the text and send a reply. Then, it happens again, and you have the same behavior.


Then one night, you’re at dinner with a friend, in the middle of a conversation and her phone goes off. She picks it up, engages in the texting conversation with whoever text her, and then she comes back to your conversation.


Do you feel put off?

Probably yes.

How do you think your toddler feels?


And then, we wonder why our kids are doing this same thing when they get their own phones when they get older.




This shouldn’t come as a shock to you when you have modeled this EXACT behavior ever since they can remember.


Figuring out how to have a better mom and toddler relationship may be as simple as putting your phone down.


Put it down, engage in activity with your toddler, and enjoy this stage in their lives. Encourage their creativity and help them learn.


DON’T MISS THIS!!  The Best Planners for Busy Moms



Engage in Play with Them

It can be hard to fully engage with your child if this age and stage isn’t your thing.


You know, it’s funny because I always thought the baby stage was my thing. Yet when I had my own kids, I didn’t really care for it much. They couldn’t communicate with me and that was annoying.


Toddlers, on the other hand, they will tell you what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. Almost to a fault. Ha!


At least they can talk.


Engaging in play with your toddler can be as simple as taking a walk and pointing out the leaves. You can talk about their color, their shape, how they grow, etc. You can build with blocks and then knock it over. It really doesn’t have to be any planned activity.


Your kids just want your time and attention.


They want to know you care enough about them to sit down and read a book.


Take the time to read to them.


You increase your child’s literacy leaps and bounds by reading to them beginning at a very young age. If you aren’t sure where to start with reading to your toddler, you MUST check out these amazing interactive books for kids. Even you will love them!


You may find that your child would benefit from a daily schedule. Here are some adaptable schedules for an 18-month-old and daily routines for 3-year-olds.



mom and toddler holding hands



Let Your Toddlers Have a Choice

If you like to exercise your autonomy, chances are your toddler does too.


Now, I’m not saying let them choose their food at every meal. I’d venture to say your toddler would be eating an entire diet of ice cream, cookies, and fruit snacks.


Ok, so maybe that’s just my kid.


What I mean is to let them choose within a controlled set of circumstances. For instance, at our house for lunchtime, I let my kids choose. I list their choices and I let them choose what they want.


There are usually leftovers in the fridge, I offer a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, things like vegetables or fruit with either hummus or peanut butter, etc.


None of the choices are going to add any more work for me because they have either already been cooked or they’re only going to take me a second to prepare.


Another example would be to let them pick out their own pajamas. Or, if you aren’t going anywhere for a day, let them pick out their own clothes. You may be surprised to find that they can do a really great job choosing their own clothes.



Give Your Toddler “Chores”

My kids love to help. And until I read the article I mentioned previously, I will fully admit that I shunned off that desire from them. I didn’t want them putting the wrong clothes in the wrong laundry pile, I didn’t want things dropped on the floor, and I didn’t want dinner leftovers to end up in the cabinet.

It can be hard to embrace their desire to help.


But, do it!


Find some things around the house that you are fully willing to let them help with. It may be using the Swiffer to dust the floor. Or, maybe your kiddo can help pick up his toys each night so that the floor is clean. Here are some of my favorite chore ideas for preschoolers and toddlers!


The tasks don’t have to be challenging, and they shouldn’t create more work for you. They may require a bit more time than if you just decided to do them on your own but remember that you are teaching them.


I recently shared some awesome tips on how to get kids to clean without losing your mind. It really may not be as hard as you think and you should definitely give it a try!


Teaching takes time.



DON’T MISS THIS!: 40 Fun and Cheap Indoor Activities for Kids by Age Group


Acknowledge and Praise Good Behavior

Gosh, I struggle with this one. It can be really hard to acknowledge good behavior when it seems like all you do all day long is correct your kid.

Surely there is some point in the day when either your kiddo does something right or DOESN’T do the wrong thing. Those are the moments you want to praise your child.


mother spending quality time with toddler


Here lately, we are working with one of our kids on not whining. It’s no fun, and incredibly frustrating. But, when they don’t whine, we make a big deal out of it with positive words of affirmation. We want our kids to know that whining isn’t going to get you what you want.


Positive words of affirmation can go a long way with a toddler.


I’d venture to say that you like to be told you’re doing something well. It makes you feel good, and oftentimes it makes you want to do it again and do it even better next time. The same can be said for toddlers.


Try Not to Yell

EEEK! That one can hurt. I don’t like yelling at my kids. It doesn’t make me feel good, and in fact, I usually feel guilty afterward. I try my best to swallow my pride, apologize, and ask for forgiveness.


Parenting is really all about being an example for your kids of who you want them to become.

The effects of yelling at toddlers are likely negative.


mother comforting toddler


Chances are they begin to shut you out whether they ignore you or scream in a tantrum. They don’t care what you have to say because they didn’t get their way.

I try to redirect their attention and THEN correct the behavior. I have found that I often get nowhere except in a puddle of tears if I try to correct behavior at that moment.


But I will say, not yelling is hard.


FLYING SOON??  The Best Tips for Flying with a Toddler


Give Yourself Grace

You know you aren’t perfect, and you aren’t going to ever be perfect.


Give yourself grace… daily.


Eventually, parenting (might) get a little easier.

But, you are always going to ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing.

You will question nearly every decision you make from whether or not you chose the right car seat, to things like maybe you shouldn’t have let him have that piece of chocolate cake right before bedtime.


As long as you’re getting the big decisions right about their safety and well-being you’re doing ok.


With each day, you will learn more about them, and more about yourself as a parent.

All you can do is continue to try to be the best mom you can.



You Are Their ONLY Mom!

At the end of the day, you are the ONLY mom they have.

Embrace each day and try to make it better than the one before.

Admit when you’re wrong and apologize.

If you want your children to do something, teach them.

Sometimes, the most powerful way to teach is by action, without a single word coming out of your mouth.



More AWESOME Posts About Toddlers & Preschoolers

Helpful Books for Parenting Toddlers

How to Create a Daily Routine for Your Toddler!

Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

Cheap Indoor Activities for Kids

Fun Fall Activities for Kids

How to Get Preschoolers to Help Clean

Age-Appropriate Chores for Preschoolers


blessings to you, Lisa







The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties.


how to be a better mom to your toddler

Let's Get Social!

26 thoughts on “How to Be a Better Mom to Your Toddler”

  • Those are some good tips. I am trying to be better about my phone. I think i’ll try to put it somewhere I can’t reach. Maybe even put it on airplane mode for a designated amount of time.

  • I LOVE this! I just had my son in January and I try to do these things even though he is only 6 months old. I talk to my son about everything! And, I know he probably doesn’t really get most of it, I believe he understands (on some level) my tone of voice. I also think it is good practice for me for when he is a toddler.

      • This is so eye opening! There are so many things that you don’t realize that you do until it’s pointed out. Thanks for the insight!

        • I completely agree! And sometimes, it’s painful as a parent to think that you may actually be a part of the issue. But, I have found that admitting that and moving on can make the situation easier to deal with.

  • Love this, these are great tips. I especially love being present and putting your phone down. I try not to be on my phone much, but I’m definitely guilty of hearing the notifications going off and feeling like I need to check. Which often leads to responding…what a bad habit I didn’t even realize I was teaching!

    • Honestly, until I sat down and wrote this, I didn’t think much of it either. And then I had this a-ha kind of moment and I had to share.

  • Excellent advice! I especially like “be Present, Put It Down, and Engage in Play with them”. As a therapist in early intervention, I am constantly reminding parents of that!

    • It can be really hard to do, especially as a stay at home mom when you’re craving adult interaction. But, kids don’t understand that, so it’s important to force yourself to develop good habits.

  • I love, love, love all of these tips for parenting toddlers! I have been so convicted by my personal use of technology during what is suppose to be “playtime”. Gotta start “losing” me phone, too! Also, very interesting about the kids who help out without any reward! I’d love to start teaching my kiddos to share in the home responsibilities more!

    • If you didn’t get a chance yet, take some time to read the article. It is fascinating, but it makes total sense. I am so glad I stumbled across that one and because I have been able to start that habit with my kids while they are young.

  • Yes! I have an 18 month old and try my hardest to be a good mom that is present and understanding. They are monsters, but also so much fun!

    • You are 100% correct. One minute they drive you crazy and the next you want to squeeze them. Don’t blink, it goes by super fast!

    • I’m so glad you read this! I love posts that make me think about myself as a parent. I’m glad this did that for you.

  • Raising a toddler can be so rewarding and amazing, but it can be so difficult, too. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful blog post to encourage and empower other moms!

  • I have an 11, 8, 5, 4 and 2 month old …. the 4 and 5 year old are BY FAR the hardest ones to discipline and stay on track with! I loved your suggestions, I am a mom who is quick to snap and can be found slapping their hands away at the grocery store for the 10th time !!! One of the hardest things you suggested was to put the cell phone down. That’s also really hard for me! A) being a blogger and online constantly – it’s so easy to get caught up in my own content and ideas, or when I find a good blog (such as yours!) I binge for hours on end in articles! B) I am kind of addicted to social media and I am constantly check that. C) that darn Candy Crush!

    • As a fellow mom blogger, I can absolutely relate. The easiest way I have found to force myself to put it down is to remember that my kids aren’t always going to be this little with these special moments, BUT my blog and Facebook and email will ALWAYS be there.

  • Such a fantastic article! With a 3 almost 4 year old and a 2 year old right smack dab in the middle of terrible twos….Let’s just say I can 100% relate to this!!!! I’m taking a deep breath right now and gonna work on incorporating many of these tips when my munchkins wake up in the morning 🙂

    • It can be a daily struggle at our house. Even once you’re outside of that “toddler” ago, it can still be tough. Thankfully, these parenting tips can transfer on.

  • This article was am eye opener for me. I have two boys who are 2 and 3 and they can be a handful. I love them both dearly and I want to be a good mom. I work from home. So it is hard for me to time manage and not let my work take up the whole day! Loved this! Thank you so much.

    • I can totally relate! As a WAHM myself, it’s easy to justify being on my phone more often than I should.

  • Love these ideas. I don’t know how many times I think if those parents were engaged with their child there would not be the meltdown you are seeing. It is all about being present and engaging with your child.

    • Your presence as a parent is the most important thing. Your kids really don’t care about all the “stuff” they have. What they really want is your time and attention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *