We all have rough days. Toddlers are no exception. But how do we break the funk cloud that sometimes surrounds our little ones? Especially when no amount of bribing or dance parties seem to be helping?

Toddlers are tricky little people. They usually can’t be reasoned with, so often your best bet is to shake things up. Try one of these ideas for throwing your toddler a curveball that may just clear their heads and bring back your fun-loving little one.

struggling mum with toddler crying on a mat text overlay reads How to Turn a Bad y around with your toddler

Get Outside

Whether you go to a playground, a splash pad, a pool, or just go for a walk, there’s something therapeutic about the great outdoors! If your toddler has a bike or something they can ride in or on, they will likely perk up fairly quickly.

In the case of icky weather, even if it doesn’t seem like your most ideal situation, go outside anyway! Bundle up or grab umbrellas and rain boots and enjoy puddles or snow banks. Toddlers are fascinated by playing outside in different weather.

toddler outside in the winter

Check out our outdoor activities for toddlers in winter for some inspiration even in the coldest months.

Let them Help

toddler helping in the garden with their toddler sized garden equipment

Most kids love to be helpers. They aren’t old enough to understand what work is, so anything that you are doing must be fun. Give them a toddler-sized broom and let them help sweep, fill a spray bottle with water and let them “clean” the windows or storm door, have them dust baseboards, let them put clean silverware away, or have them help you sort socks from clean laundry.

Often, having kids help you makes them feel like they are needed. Plus they get the added bonus of accomplishing a task that they had never tried before. Both tend to put toddlers in better moods.

toddler helping put toys away

We even make tidy up time fun and they love to help doing that!

Switch it Up

If you have a set routine for your day, try throwing a fun wrench in it! A picnic lunch on the floor instead of at the table (or outside, weather permitting) check out how we held a book picnic in the garden, popsicles in the bathtub or kiddie pool, or even having dessert first at lunch could be just enough wackiness to pull your toddler out from the doldrums.

head out and eat outside with a picnic in the garden

Some other ideas include going out for lunch (bonus points if the lunch place has a play area), heading to a coffee shop for some hot chocolate and a cookie, or throwing together a last-minute playdate with their friends.

holding a tiger who came to tea playdate in garden with toddlers

You can have loads of fun with a playdate – our toddlers were going crazy so we invited the tiger to tea and held a Tiger Who Came to Tea party with very little prep.

You know your toddler better than anyone, so pick something fun to do that is usually not included in their normal routine. And if all else fails, put them to bed early and remember that tomorrow is another day.

More Parenting Tips for Toddlers

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Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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