Inspired by By Paula Spencer, Parenting Magazine
It’s time to leave the store. Your child, the usually cheerful kiddo, does not want to go. Let’s set aside the fact that it’s tempting fate to bring a 2-year-old to a toy store when the goal is to buy somebody else a birthday present. And that it’s a really bad idea to do so as one last stop during a morning of errands, squeezed in close to naptime. The net result: a full-out Limp Noodle, a tired, angry child who does not happen to agree with you. The arms go slack. The body sinks heavily to the floor. “No! No go!” the Noodle screams. “Not my choice!”
Ordinarily, the great thing about having a toddler is watching him/her develop the sense of self. That, however, includes the discovery that she has a will of her own. And where there’s a will, there’s also a won’t. The good news: Resistance is not only normal, it’s healthy (it’s your kid gaining confidence, learning independence, and figuring out who she is). The better news: There are tricks for guiding her to a more cooperative attitude. I’ve rounded up some of the best for five of the most frustrating toddler tussles you’re likely to face.
“My toddler won’t let me buckle him into his car seat.”
Worth a battle?
Absolutely. Buckling isn’t just the law, it’s a matter of life or death. Keep your toddler in a five-point-harness seat as long as possible. They’re safer, and harder to unfasten in mid ride.
Tactics to try: Keep it light.
Make games out of things that they must do. Some mom have been known to make it a race to see who can get buckled into their car seat first. Distracting play, like silly songs or goofy faces, works, too. When Madison gives me a hard time I let her buckle the top half of the car seat herself because it’s easy and she loves to do it, again I know it goes back to your child just wanting to help and be a part of what your doing. I also sometimes do a tickle fest with her. It distracts her and she’s buckled in before she even stops giggling!
Bribe them, pure and simple. (Don’t count this one out yet read on)
Stashed a bag of chocolate kisses in the glove compartment, On the way to the car, say, ‘Hey! I just remembered those kisses in the car. You can have one when you’re all buckled up.'” You think bribery isn’t a good thing for any child but I think this tactic would work good because your not saying “I’ll give you a chocolate kiss if you buckle up nice and quietly for Momma.” Now that would be wrong in my eyes.
“My toddler won’t stay in the cart at the grocery store.”
Worth a battle?
Depends on how much you really “need” to food shop! I’d say yes. You need to buy food, you are going as quick as you can, but your kiddo is whining like they just realized Curious George isn’t on the TV!! Remember when they were cute and would sit in the basket like a good little babe and you could stroll around, take your time, and listen to all of the older woman give you the best compliments on your little one???? Yeah those days are over.
Tactics to try: Ignore.
This is one of my worst battles as a mom with an almost 2 year old. She will sit in the cart with the car in the front for the most part, I grab two cookies from the bakery and I can usually get through the store quickly. But lately she has been trying to get out when I stop. Yes I strap her in too, don’t laugh, but I have my list in hand and I go very quickly because if I’m not stopped she doesn’t try to get out, another words my cart is pretty much always moving LOL!!
Another time I recall, there were no carts with the car so she was forced to sit in the front with me (boring, yuck not you mom!) She had a full blown out crying tantrum right there in the cart (still to this day have no clue why!!) what did I do?? I ignored her!! Yes I did, I figured the people around me would rather hear my kiddo cry than listen to a maniac mother waving her hands and yelling at her child (which we all know doesn’t work anyways!) Did it work? Yup!!! She calmed down by the time I rounded the corner to the next isle. When I say I ignored her, I really ignored her LOL. I spent more time looking at the shelves at what I wanted, I wouldn’t even look at her. I think that really ticks kids off!
Anyone else have any other tactics?
“My kid won’t kiss Grandma.”
Worth a battle?
Nah, It’s actually not recommend forcing toddlers to kiss relatives. That approach tends to backfire and make children less likely to greet their relatives and more likely to make a scene.
Tactics to try: Warn your kid.
A better way is to prep her so she’s not put on the spot: “Aunt Linda is coming to dinner tonight. She’d love a big hello!” Then, before you answer the door, prompt her: “Aunt Linda loves hugs, but even if you just smile, she’ll be so happy to see you!”
Demo your own PDAs.
How about saying something like, ‘She doesn’t give kisses, but I do’ — and then I plant one on the person’s cheek.” Seeing you give hugs and kisses may help her become comfortable with the idea down the road.
My family knows Miss Madison quite well, she’s not the affectionate type, so to gain her trust they try “Hey how about a high five??!!” also, when family first arrives or we first arrive around family most of them let her get comfortable first then little by little as she gains people’s trust they can start talking to her and before you know your her best friend. I think from our own experience this works best for our child, I do believe every child is different and you have to do what works for your kiddo.
What works for you and your family?
“My tot won’t let me brush her teeth.”
Worth a battle?
It depends on your feelings about dental hygiene. Honestly in my home my husband jumped on the teeth wagon from day one so I’ve always let that be “his” job. There are days when she wants to brush her teeth and days when she doesn’t want to and she runs away screaming. Now that I’ve read this article I may approach this situation differently going forward. Pediatric dentists, however, recommend twice-a-day brushing from infancy, and say you should lend a hand until at least age 5 or 6.
Tactics to try: Blame someone else.
Tell your child ‘The dentist says you must brush your teeth.’ This takes the pressure off of you. Just state it as a fact and move on.
Sidestep the “no.”
Being matter-of-fact can be useful. “Instead of making a request that requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ try rewording it to pull the response you’re looking for.” Don’t ask, “Ready to brush your teeth?” Instead, say, “It’s toothbrushing time. Will this be a red-brush day or a yellow-brush day?” I think this is a great idea because I believe there are certain things that you shouldn’t ask your child to do, though we all do it! I hear my husband ask her almost everyday. I am going out today and buy a few different colors for her to choose from! Asking Madison what color brush she would like to use and letting her in on the decision may just help. (stay tuned!!)
How do you get your kiddo to brush their teeth?
“My kid won’t eat vegetables.”
Worth a battle?
A small one. Toddlerhood is often a period of strong preferences and weird food jags (okay, picky eating), and that’s fine — within reason. Even if your child is on a veggie boycott, there’s no need to panic. Odds are his food choices will balance out over time. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t keep (subtly) working on getting him to acquire a taste for green (and red, orange, and yellow) things.
Tactics to try: Make it a raw deal.
Most veggies taste stronger when they’re cooked, which is why most little kids prefer theirs straight out of the crisper (or lightly steamed). Serve yogurt or salad dressing for dipping matchstick-cut carrots, peeled celery, edamame (soy beans), and broccoli “trees.”
Fall back on fruits.
To balance an overall diet, pick fruits, particularly those high in vitamins A (cantaloupes, apricots, mangoes) and C (oranges, strawberries, kiwis). A multivitamin may ease your mind, too; ask your pediatrician.
I remember when I used to puree all of Maddie’s food. Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, peas, squash, etc etc. She gobbled it up like there was no tomorrow, well yah, it’s better than that cereal that tasted like cardboard, or the formula you insist I drink everyday until I’m 5 months old she probably said to herself!! Now…………forget it, she may eat Carrots once a week. That’s about it. It’s discouraging to keep trying the same veggies, and have her keep denying them. People talk about the “No Thank You” bite, I’m all for that, but how do I even get that when I can’t get her to eat the one bite. It’s frustrating, but I do know that a lot of my other friends battle the same frustrations. I know that kids pallets change so I shouldn’t even worry or stress, but I do. I always do.
I would love any suggestions or what works for other families.
“My child won’t come when I call.”
Worth a battle?
It’s not realistic to expect a 2-year-old to abandon, say, the close study of the TV remote that he’s conducting just because you tell him to. That said, you don’t want to be at the utter mercy of his whims. “When you repeatedly call but your child doesn’t show up until he’s ready, you’re actually teaching him to ignore you.
Tactics to try: Make it sound worth the trip.
If your child is in the “Run the other way mood” try using the tone of your voice to sound excited. Go scoop her up and bring her to where you want her to be, the highchair, the door to leave, or just simply to make sure she’s not getting into trouble. Make it fun, so she sees that you calling her name, can lead to a good time!
“Instead of calling ‘Come here now!’ give two warnings” . In the toy store, you can try saying “Madison, you’ll need to come in five minutes.” And then, in five minutes, “Madison, please come now.” Wait a minute, and if your child still doesn’t respond, taking her by the hand and saying, “When I call, I expect you to come.”A toddler can’t tell time but will quickly catch on to your progression of heads-ups. (You can also say something like “Two more trips down the slide.”) It helps, to let your child know you understand her point of view: “I bet you wish you could stay in this toy store forever, but it’s time to go now. Hug the toy doggy one more time. Now here are my keys to hold.” Warn, distract, have your way.
This one stumps me because I’ve tried all of these tactics and she still never comes when I call her, but I really don’t expect her too, she’s 22 months, but I can’t not try so I just keep at it. I do think it’s important to follow through with what you say, if you don’t your child will never believe that he/she will have consequences.
All of these facts are from Parenting Magazine and the thoughts are strictly from me, I’m not a professional by all means, I only speak from feelings given my own experiments.
Now let’s here what works for some local moms and see how they have dealt with some tantrum’s in their past. My own mother was a big fan of diverting. “Sometimes diversions worked, and if they didn’t I would say when your ready, come join Mommy for play time and have some fun! Most times they (me and my sister) thought they were missing something so they decided it wasn’t so important to after all to have that tetra tantrum. Another local mom friend of mine is a big fan to re-direction as well. She ignores for awhile and if that doesn’t calm her down on her own, she throws in the re-direction technique’s and that works 90% of the time she says.
A friend of mine has daughters a little bit older than Madison, but it helps to hear her techniques so I can start thinking about how I want to handle some of these situations. She says “I usually tell my girls what I expect from them in a social situation and they know that if they don’t do what I expect (ie “no screaming, yelling, fussing, whining, moaning/groaning and when I say it’s time to go, we go”) they will be punished. I repeat my little mantra before we get to the destination. It usually works unless they are just overtired or hungry. I think this makes a lot of sense, and I do recall my mom doing this to us once we got older too. Notice how she said “When I say it’s time to go, we go.” Another follow through mom! I love it. She also states “If one of them throws a tantrum at home, I just walk away (and try to stay calm). If they can’t calm themselves down, they get sent to their rooms until they can. Once they are calm, we talk about it and try to role play what a better solution is.
My mother talked about dealing with tantrums in public as well “In a grocery store or out in public, I would lower my voice so low that they had to stop to hear what I was saying, then when they realized they weren’t going to get what they were screaming for I had their attention and we would cut a deal. “NO you can not have that toy right now, but if your a good girl while I finish my errands Mommy will buy you a book for Daddy to read at bedtime, or a new coloring book and crayons which was probably half the price of the toy they wanted. Again a diversion. I think the most important part is to follow thru and not send mixed signals. I know sometimes Dads don’t get it. But when they are 5 still having temper tantrums, then they are not cute at all.” 🙂
Another Momma friend of mine said “Consistency is important, and following through with what you say is going to happen so they know what to expect if they don’t behave is just as important.”
I think these are all great tips from some great moms that I know. Again these are just what works for us, there families, everyone is different but I think it’s always nice to hear how other families do it because I do take a lot of advice from other moms.