Trimming your toddler’s nails 

You and Baby’s fingernails are pretty well acquainted by now, and they are still a little young to care whether or not they is getting the full spa treatment yet, so they should be pretty low-maintenance. Unfortunately, toddler hygiene has a habit of getting a little bit more complicated at unexpected moments, even if you’re used to clipping Baby’s nails without a fuss. If you’re hitting some resistance in trying to keep Baby’s fingernails from turning into little talons, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Monkey see, monkey do

Whether Baby went from cool as a cucumber to feisty as a pepper during clipping time, or you just got sick of sneaking in to conduct secret trims under the cover of naptime, sudden nail-related tantrums are fun for no one – not even Baby. By giving them the chance to see you, your partner, and any older children having their nails clipped, you’re reassuring them that it really doesn’t hurt, and there’s no need for tears, fears, or any further assault on your ears.


Whether it’s a classic “this little piggy” scenario, a play on a haircut-loving tot’s interests by turning fingers into shaggy-haired toddlers in need of a trim, or a little fingernail-clipper-shaped lawn-mower running riot over the garden of their fingers and toes, introducing a new cast of play-pretend characters to the game could change Baby’s outlook completely.

Don’t forget to warm up

Baby’s little finger- and toenails will be much softer and more pliable after a warm bath, which can make tricky nail-cutting sessions at least go more quickly, if not more quietly.

Wait for the opportune moment

Whether it really is waiting until naptime to move in with the clippers, or just taking advantage of your tot’s enthralled response when your partner is reading them a story, waiting until Baby is distracted by something else is a great way to prove to them that nail-clipping doesn’t hurt a bit – look, you barely even noticed.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

If you’re having trouble getting Baby to hold still long enough for you to trim all of their nails at once, there’s no rule that says you have to. If you clip one nail here, two or three there, and keep going a bit at a time until you’re done, their nails will still get trimmed. 

Nail-clipping may never be Baby’s favorite activity – is it anyone’s? – but they will get used to it eventually.

  • “Teaching your child healthy nail care.” American Academy of Dermatology. American Academy of Dermatology, 2016. Web.

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