How to Stop Toddler From Scratching Your Faces

Are you and your toddler engaged in a nightly ritual involving them scratching your face? Has it gone on longer than you’d like, with no signs of stopping anytime soon? If so, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! This blog post will provide helpful tips and strategies to help stop this behavior once and for all. From using positive reinforcements to selecting the right materials to redirect their attention, protecting yourself from these dreaded scratches need not be a huge chore.

How to Stop Toddler From Scratching Your Faces

It is important to note that toddlers are in a stage where they are learning and exploring their environment, including their bodies. So, it’s only natural for them to want to touch and feel everything around them – including your face!

Read on to learn more about how to stop toddler from scratching your faces!

What Will You Need?

Before diving into the strategies, look at the materials you will need to effectively stop your toddler from scratching your face.

  • Soft and Safe Toys: This is essential for redirecting their attention away from your face. Ensure they have soft and safe toys nearby that they can play with instead of scratching.
  • Baby Nail Clippers or Emery Board: Trimming your toddler’s nails can also help prevent scratches. If they dislike clipping their nails, try using an emery board instead.
  • Positive Reinforcements: It is important to praise and reward your toddler when they use appropriate behavior instead of scratching. This will encourage them to continue this behavior in the future.

Once you have these materials ready, let’s look at some effective strategies to put them to use.

10 Easy Ways How to Stop Toddler From Scratching Your Faces

1. Establish Boundaries:

Make sure your toddler understands that faces are not for scratching. When they reach for your face, gently pull their hand away and say, “No scratching. Faces are for kisses and smiles, not scratches.” This repeated action will help them learn that it is not acceptable behavior.

2. Redirection:

When your toddler attempts to scratch your face, quickly divert their attention to a more appropriate activity. This could involve handing them a soft and safe toy to play with. The aim is to distract them and redirect their energy towards something less harmful. “Look at this colorful toy! Let’s play with it instead!” By consistently providing alternate activities, your toddler will gradually learn that there are more fun and acceptable ways to engage their curiosity and tactile senses.

Handing Them a Soft and Safe Toy

3. Positive Reinforcement:

Children respond well to praise and rewards. When your toddler refrains from scratching your face and engages with their toys instead, make sure to shower them with praise. “You’re doing great playing with your toys and not scratching! Good job!” This positive reinforcement will encourage them to continue with the acceptable behavior, gradually reducing instances of face scratching.

4. Regular Nail Trimming:

Keeping the toddler’s nails short and smooth reduces the risk of painful scratches. Create a routine of nail trimming or filing, preferably during a calm time or after bathing when nails are softer. Try integrating it into bedtime rituals, making it a relaxing activity. Remember to reassure them throughout the process, gradually helping them get accustomed to it.

5. Teach Alternative Gestures:

Help your toddler explore other ways to interact, like high-fives or gentle strokes. Show them how these actions feel by doing them back to them and expressing joy. Reinforce these positive interactions by praising them each time they do it, like saying, “Great job giving Mommy a high-five!” This will help them understand better ways of expressing their emotions or desires.

6. Consistency is Key:

Consistency in your reactions and redirections is crucial. Reacting the same way each time ensures your toddler understands that face-scratching is undesirable behavior. With time and consistent responses, they will gradually stop the scratching habit. Patience is essential during this process; remember, change takes time.

7. Use Protective Gear:

Gear Such as Light Face Shields

In extreme cases where scratches are severe, consider using protective gear such as light face shields or glasses temporarily. This will physically prevent the toddler from scratching the face and can be used as an interlude while they learn better behavior. Refrain from relying on this method permanently, as the ultimate goal is to teach the toddler to control their actions.

8. Consult a Pediatrician:

If face-scratching continues despite trying all strategies, or if it appears to be a symptom of discomfort, allergy, or other medical issues, it’s important to consult a pediatrician. They can provide professional guidance and rule out any underlying health concerns causing the behavior. Be careful not to punish or blame the toddler for an underlying medical issue.

9. Practice Patience & Empathy:

Understand that toddlers are still learning how to navigate their world. Practice patience and empathy throughout this journey. Reinforce your love and care for them, assuring them that these lessons are for their good and those around them.

10. Model Positive Behavior:

Children learn by imitation. Regularly model positive behavior, showing them how to touch faces gently, express affection, and interact with others respectfully. Discussing and demonstrating these behaviors can greatly impact your toddler’s learning process and their eventual change in behavior.

By following these strategies, you can effectively teach your toddler how to stop scratching faces. Remember to be patient and consistent in your approach; with time, their face-scratching habits will become a thing of the past.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Distraction Techniques: Toddlers often scratch when they’re bored or seeking attention. Try distracting them with toys, books, or other activities to divert their attention from scratching.
  2. Keep Nails Short: Scratching can be more painful and damaging if your toddler has long nails. Make sure to trim their nails to reduce the impact of scratching regularly.
Make Sure to Trim Nails
  1. Teach Empathy: Start teaching empathy at an early age. Explain to your toddler how it feels when they scratch and why it’s not nice.
  2. Use Scratch Mittens: If your toddler has a habit of scratching, consider using scratch mittens to prevent them from causing harm.
  3. Regular Nail Trimming: Keep your toddler’s nails short and smooth to minimize damage from scratching. Regular nail care is essential in preventing scratching incidents.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can effectively stop your toddler from scratching your face. By creating a safe and understanding environment, you can help your toddler learn appropriate ways of expressing themselves without scratching.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Avoid Yelling or Losing Your Temper: It’s important not to shout or lose your cool when your toddler scratches. This can frighten the child and may not effectively communicate the lesson you’re trying to impart.
  2. Don’t Ignore the Behavior: Ignoring your toddler’s scratching behavior won’t help stop it. Instead, address it immediately and calmly to show that it’s unacceptable.
  3. Abstain from Using Physical Discipline: Physical discipline could reinforce the idea that hurting others is an acceptable response to frustration.
  4. Don’t Neglect Teaching Alternatives: Rather than only telling your toddler not to scratch, teach them alternative ways to express their feelings, like using words or engaging in calming activities.
  5. Avoid Allowing Long Periods of Boredom: Keeping your toddler sufficiently engaged can reduce the chances of scratching out of boredom or frustration.

By avoiding these behaviors, you can promote a healthy and positive learning environment for your toddler and help them understand why scratching is unacceptable.

Why Does My Toddler Scratch My Face?

It’s natural for toddlers to explore their surroundings through touch, and scratching is a way for them to express curiosity or frustration. Toddlers may also scratch as a form of communication or attention-seeking behavior. Understanding the underlying reasons behind your toddler’s scratching is essential to address and prevent it effectively.

May Have Sensory Processing Issues

Additionally, some toddlers may have sensory processing issues that make them more sensitive to touch and cause them to scratch their faces to cope with overwhelming sensations. In this case, consulting a pediatrician or occupational therapist can help manage the behavior.

Overall, by understanding the reasons behind your toddler’s scratching and using appropriate techniques, you can effectively stop this behavior while promoting a healthy and positive relationship with your child.


In conclusion, patience and consistency are key when it comes to keeping your toddler from scratching your face. It is important to never punish or yell at a child when they do something you don’t want them to do as it may cause them to be afraid of touching your face. Instead, you should talk with your little one about boundaries and why we don’t scratch other people’s faces – love is always gentle.

Being consistent in using distraction techniques such as offering them toys or treats and redirecting their attention onto something else will eventually result in them understanding that it is not okay to scratch someone else’s face and that there are better ways of showing affection, like hugs and kisses. Finally, remember that patience throughout the process is essential for children to understand acceptable behavior.

So use this article on how to stop toddler from scratching your faces as guidance while taking action today and help ensure that you and your toddler can enjoy positive interactions with each other for years to come!

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Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

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