How to cut a toddler’s fingernails…

How to cut a toddler’s fingernails… It’s a nightmare at our house – involving much blood-curdling screaming and both of us sitting on top of him. Here are some ideas from my mommy friends that will hopefully reduce the screaming at your own house:

  • I try to do it while he’s drinking his bottle. He fights all the time too. I’ve learned that sometimes he just wants to see what is going on, so I’ll sit him up and try to do it. Most of the time though, I end up using practically my whole body to keep him still long enough to get them cut.
  • This last time I did it in the bathtub. It worked pretty well, she was distracted enough by the water and toys that she resisted very little. It helps that I still put her in a tub seat so she can’t go anywhere. I’ve started brushing her teeth and doing her hair in the tub too, because it’s just the only place she’ll sit still.
  • I always sing “Old Macdonald” – by the time I get through all the animals I am done.
  • I cut while she’s in the car seat. It pins her down enough that she can’t get away from me. The nail clippers just stay in the little door pocket and I trim them usually before we go into school.
  • While he’s nursing and sleepy….
  • During Blue’s Clues, Elmo’s World or Doodlebops.
  • I wait till she is sound asleep.
    • I bite them off, she wont let me near her with the clippers. I wash her hands, then sit down with Dora or Blue’s Clues on. She thinks it is funny and tickles her.
    • I usually do it after bath time – can get in about one hand before I have to stop, then I do the next hand the next day, but I really have to hold her down!
    • You could try to file them instead.

5 Responses to How to cut a toddler’s fingernails…

  1. Sometimes, after they’ve been in the bathtub for awhile, you can peel them off, if you’re lucky. That worked with one daughter’s nails, not with the other’s.


  2. Thanks for commenting on my site! As far as I know, cutting a child’s fingernails is something that should only be attempted when the little one is asleep! Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble.

  3. Karen #

    I still have to do jacks when he’s asleepl- and he’s five!! of course, it’s easier to cut nails than to pull out a splinter…

  4. Wendy #

    Definitely while sleeping. ; ) This is what worked the best with my son. Sooo sensitive that he’d cry just having his shirt changed. At 5 he still doesn’t like having his nails cut, but at least he doesn’t cry anymore!

  5. Karri #

    I remember how hard it was to cut fingernails. I got too far down on my older daughter and caughter her finger in it once. I cried, she cried, it was terrible. After that I used a fingernail file. I hope one of those ideas works for you. :)

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