Skip to main content

Toddler behavior therapist: How to find one near you

Therapists can help address toddler behavioral, developmental issues

finding toddler therapist crying jpg
G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock

Toddlerhood is often a tumultuous time for all involved. These little guys are always learning new skills as their brains and personalities rapidly develop.



What You Need

  • Pediatrician or other health care provider

  • Local recommendations

  • Willingness to help your child overcome "normal" issues

Some toddler behaviors can seem problematic or unusual. The good news is that there is a large range of what is considered normal in this early stage of development. Still, sometimes behaviors can benefit from professional help, including from specially trained therapists. Here's more on toddler therapists and how to find one near you.

Screaming toddler
MIA Studio / Shutterstock

Toddler behaviors: What is normal?

There's a caveat here: If you're concerned about your toddler's behavior, it's always a good idea to consult your pediatrician.

It is rare that a child under 5 years of age will be diagnosed with a behavioral disorder. Several common behaviors in toddlers are annoying, even alarming, but typically resolve over time and can be worked out at home.

Examples include:

  • Defiance or refusal
  • Aggression
  • Sleep and bedtime difficulties
  • Lying
  • Temper tantrums
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Excessive screen time
Toddler refuses to eat
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Toddler behaviors that might warrant therapy

Every child and situation is different, but there are cases where specially trained therapists can make a big difference.

One key example is speech or developmental delays. If your toddler is falling well behind on milestones, in more serious instances, it could be a sign of hearing problems or autism. Options here may include speech or physical therapy.

Serious eating problems are another example. Garden-variety pickiness is as common as it gets in toddlers. But if it's interfering with their ability to take in adequate nutrition, feeding therapy can help.

Toddler with a therapist / Shutterstock

How to find a toddler therapist

Here's how to determine whether your toddler needs a therapist, and if they do, how to find one.

Step 1: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early intervention is an umbrella term for health care services that help babies and young children with developmental delays and disabilities. The CDC website can direct you to resources based on where you live.

Step 2: If you have health insurance, many insurance carrier websites allow you to search for providers in just about any specialty that accepts your insurance. Local parenting or community groups can also be a good source of recommendations or suggestions.

Step 3: Perhaps the best resource is your trusty pediatrician. They are plugged into the local professional scene and are usually happy to provide recommendations and referrals.

Even if most toddler behaviors aren't concerning from a medical standpoint, finding and addressing problems early can help set your child up for more success down the road. When in doubt, check with your pediatrician, and if nothing else, they can reassure you if it's not truly problematic. And if something does seem more serious, local therapists are trained and equipped to help you discover the root of the problem and respond accordingly.

Scott Harris
Scott Harris is a freelance writer based near Washington, DC, with more than a decade of experience covering health…
How much water should a 1-year-old drink? What you need to know
Here's how to keep your little human hydrated
Toddler drinking glass of water

The transition from baby food to solid food is an exciting one for parents and their children. Once your child has fully transitioned to eating solid foods, they must also drink enough liquids to balance their diet. Milk is likely still a huge part of your child's daily diet, and they are most likely drinking it more than water. Although milk is important for toddlers to drink to help with the development of their bones and teeth, they must also drink water. If you're wondering how much water should a 1-year-old drink, here's what you need to know.
How much water your child should drink

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 1-year-olds should drink 1 to 4 cups (8 to 32 ounces) of water per day and 2 to 3 cups (16 to 24 ounces) per day of whole milk.

Read more
What is a baby sprinkle (and how to plan a great one)
Why you should at least have a baby sprinkle even if you already have a child
Cake for a baby shower.

We all know the standard pregnancy celebrations. We've seen gender reveal photoshoots all over social media and have been invited or know someone who has gone to at least one baby shower. But what about when someone is having a second baby? Or is having the first girl after two back-to-back boys? Well, that's where having a baby sprinkle comes in handy. Whether it's been a few years since the last little one or you're having one of the opposite gender and only need a few items, here's why a baby sprinkle is the perfect way to welcome this new addition.
What is a baby sprinkle?

If you don't know anything about pregnancy parties, think of it in scientific terms. What is a shower versus a sprinkle when it rains? Not as much water for one as the other, right? Take that and apply it to a baby shower versus a baby sprinkle. Think of a baby sprinkle as that grocery trip where you only need the fillers, and you're not restocking the whole kitchen.
If you already have a baby
If you are parents to one child (or two or three), you probably have most of the stuff you need from the last child. But if there were items you wish you would have grabbed for the first one or you have a list of needs for this next baby, a sprinkle is the perfect forum to get those goods.
If it's been a few years since you've had a baby
Even if you already have a child, maybe this next one is a few years further away than you wanted or planned. A baby sprinkle is the best way to get those items you may have donated, lost, or broke with the first kiddo.
If you have only one gender but find out you are having the other
Have all boys? You will want a sprinkle to get some girl items. Have only girls? You might use a sprinkle to get at least one item that isn't pink. Not that certain colors are meant for boys or girls, but maybe you had a Minnie Mouse-themed nursery, and you'd like your first boy to have a new theme for their nursery.
Let's sprinkle the details
A baby sprinkle isn't going to be exactly like your baby shower. It's more of a low-key event, should be less stressful, and is less formal.

Read more
The feeling words all parents should teach their little ones
Help kids learn how to verbally express their emotions
Building with words asking about feelings

Emotions can run the gamut with kids. A child can be happy and content one minute and then be a puddle of tears the next. Managing emotions becomes increasingly difficult as kids get older. Feelings of frustration often erupt seemingly out of nowhere. Many times, a teen doesn't understand why feelings of anger take hold much like a toddler having a tantrum in public.

As adults, we recognize that feelings are complicated, but understanding them is vital. Feelings are an abstract concept for children. Take the answer to some common parent questions like, "How are you feeling?" or "How was your day?" Kids will typically respond with fine or OK, even if their body language and demeanor are saying something else. Teaching your child how to verbally express their emotions through the use of feeling words forms a firm foundation for emotional well-being.

Read more