19 - 21 Months

6 tips for trimming your toddler’s nails 

Trimming your toddler’s nails can feel like a delicate operation, especially when they’re squirming all around. Having their nails cut is a little bit scary for your child—you’re cutting something off of them, after all, and they don’t yet know it won’t hurt. Your toddler is also a busy person, and sitting still for several minutes can test the limits of their patience. Here are some adjustments you can make that might make the process a little easier for both of you ❤️ 

6 ways to cut your toddler’s nails more easily

1. Hug them close

Many toddlers are comforted by the feeling of being held snugly. Try having them sit right in front of you, facing out, nestled comfortably between your legs. If your child doesn’t like the feeling of pressure on their body, they can sit in a chair, beanbag, or stool facing you.

2. Show and tell them what you’re going to do

Start by using the nail clippers or scissors on yourself or another adult to show that it doesn’t hurt. You can also make a little game of it: You trim your nail, then theirs, then yours again. Try preparing them for each click of the clippers by singing or chanting, “One, two, three, clip, clip, clip!”

3. Apply a bit of pressure

When you’re trimming, hold on to their hands, feet, fingers, and toes with a little squeeze—just a tad more pressure than normal hand-holding. This extra pressure can help take the focus off what’s happening with their nails, and adds a new sensory element that some toddlers find calming.

4. Distract them

 There are times when distraction is your best friend, and this is one of them. Sing a song, offer them a special toy to hold with their free hand, have another adult or an older sibling tell them a story or talk to them about their favorite toy—anything that takes the focus off nail cutting is fair game 🙂

5. Trim their nails more often

Instead of trimming all of their nails at once, start with just one or two per day for a few days in a row. Clipping more frequently may seem counterintuitive, but it may be a better fit for your child’s patience and can help desensitize them to the feeling. You can gradually build up to trimming more nails each time. If your toddler gets really upset, then snip one fingernail, call it a win, and move on. Celebrate that they made it through one nail: “I’m proud of you for getting your nail clipped!” You can try two the next day.

6. Try a nail file

Skip the clippers altogether and use a baby nail file. This simple switch alone may be enough to ease your toddler’s fears. 

How to avoid accidental nicks—and what to do if one happens anyway

If you choose to use clippers instead of a file, aim to trim just a little bit at a time rather than trying to clip the whole nail at once. The closer you get to their nail bed, the more likely they’ll actually feel some pressure or pain. If you accidentally nick your toddler, stop right away and comfort them. Then, wait a few days before trying again. You may feel awful, but they’ll be okay—remember it happens to most caregivers at some point.


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Posted in: 19 - 21 Months, 22 - 24 Months, Social Emotional, Baby Care, Lovevery App, Parenting, Child Development

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