Problems Trimming 2 Year Old's Nails

Updated on March 22, 2008
T.H. asks from Lincoln, NE
12 answers

Today my toddler showed me her "terrible" 2 phase when I tried to trim her toe nails and finger nails. She normally resists a little and then will let me do it if I count her fingers as I trim the nails. This time it was a different story. She had a full out tantrum, screaming and kicking and grabbing my arm. I tried a time out to calm her down, but then when I said it was time to trim the nails she would start the "no no no" and crying. I don't know if I should stick to the time out until she is calm even if takes a long time or if I should try some other tactic. I don't want to go through what I went through today. I eventually had to put her upper body behind me and one leg between by legs, holding the foot I was trimming firmly so I wouldn't cut her toes. The fingers were a little easier but she was still screaming and trying to pull at my arm as I was trimming them. Any tricks or ideas to make this go easier?

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answers from Milwaukee on

I think the distraction of counting her fingers and toes is good. If it isn't working anymore, you might want to try nail polish.

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answers from Lincoln on

The best thing to do is to just cut them when shes sleeping and hope she doesnt wake up! or distract her with a treat or something to look at.



answers from Madison on

I just saw this idea on Supernanny. When clipping her nails use finger puppets, when your done clipping the nail she can place a finger puppet on it and when she is done she will have all 10. I haven't tried this but its worth a try.



answers from Sioux City on

I think Shari B has given you the best answer, but in case that doesn't work for you, I pretty much did what you did. When she figures out that it is going to happen whether she throws a fit or not, she may decide the fit is not so much fun.

Sometimes kids look to us to figure out how big a deal something is; if you treat it like an inevitable routine, they'll accept it too. If you treat it like you are doing something horrible and need to make it up to her with a treat, she will treat it like you're doing something horrible to her, and/or she'll learn to be manipulative to get more treats.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi, my son is 3 and what I've always done it as a toddler when he is watching a video or cartoon. I just sit next to him and hold his and and quick do one at a time. What about a little"treat" is she stays still and calm and lets you do it. If not a treat-food/candy- my son was really big into stickers too?

Good luck



answers from Minneapolis on

Do it when she's asleep or distract her with a favorite TV show.



answers from Minneapolis on

I trim my son's nails when he's sleeping. I've done this since he was an infant and seems to work the best for us.



answers from Omaha on

Some problems are not worth the battle. If this behavior continues, you may try to wait until nap time. My son did the same thing when it came to trimming the nails. It was a battle no matter what, so I eventually waited until he was so sleepy that he wouldn't fight. Good luck!



answers from Duluth on

Hi T.,

I have an almost 2 yr old and it seems some days she lets me trim, and other days she plays the "let's run away from mom and giggle" game when I even come near her with the clippers! (As with a 2-yr old, everyday is a mixed bag!) But what I found (by accident) is that my daughter loves to imitate eveything that mom does. She saw me filing my nails one day, and now everytime I open the kitchen drawer, she pulls out the file and starts to "file" her nails. So, it seems to me that the more I share with her what I do, the less afraid of it she is and the more she wants to do what "mommy does". So now whenever I trim my nails, I'll point out to her "See, mommy needs to trim her nails, too." And then if I can get a couple in, great, if not she's less apprehensive the next time around. And one of my husband's tricks, he would trim her nails as she was holding her bottle just before bed, and generally pretty sleepy, which helped, too!



answers from Minneapolis on

My son likes to pretend the clipper is a "nail monster" sort of like the Cookie Monster. The nail monster eats finger and toe nails and it is always very hungry. He makes eating and yum noises while I clip. If he starts to get fussy or distracted, I just remind him to make the eating noises. Nail clipping goes much easier now! Good luck!



answers from Davenport on

How do you introduce the trimming before you start? Do you give her a notice in advance "in 3 minutes i am going to trim your nails" or after you are done watching your movie i will trim your nails" If you possible to something like this, this will give her a time frame to go by and she will evently learn that as soon as the movie is over, its time and trimming will begin. You might also try something like trimming nails after bathtime. Tell her to create lots of bubbles on her hands feet to wash those nails one last time before they get trimmed. This will give her a job to do and might make her feel helpful. Another idea might be to get the clippers that has the magifying glass so you can see closer to the nail. This might help in two ways: One in case she does throw a fit you can clip with better care and ease. Two, let her look thru it and see the nail being clipped. She might really like that!



answers from Cedar Rapids on

I have a 4 y/o and a 16 month - for both of them I just make it a part of the bathing routine at night. After they take a bath together - I lotion them down (they have really dry skin), check and trim any needed toes and fingernails, get them dressed and read some books. All of it is actually a pretty nice, calm routine that gets them ready for bed.

Luckily, I've never had an issue. Good luck! :)

PS - I like the finger nail monster idea!

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