Tools for Taming my Toddler

I read a book on my trip- The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I loved The Happiest Baby on the Block when I read it 2 years ago- great tools, tricks, and ideas for whatever the baby challenges were (probably mostly to do with sleep. to be honest, it’s hard to remember now). We have done some of these things to a degree, but it is timely to have a bunch of ideas now, as it’s becoming harder to figure out what to do with our increasingly rigid (albeit lovely) girl.

I find it hard to actually retain the info, so I took notes. Unless you have a severe case of boredom, you will probably not read this. I just want to organize and jot them down for myself.

-The “Fast Food Rule”- repeating what I toddler wants to back to her so she knows that you hear her. This will help her process the fact that she can’t have it. Using “Toddlerese” as a substitution for rationalization.

-“Time-ins”- rewards for good behavior: attention, praise, and play. “Feeding the Meter”- short periods of focused attention (5 minutes) throughout the day= better behavior overall (i.e. child will “let you win” sometimes if she feels she is “winning” most of the time.)

-Feed the meter after giving warning.

-Types of praise: “gossip”- telling a relative, friend, or even inanimate object like a stuffed animal about how well she did. Helps if she believes that you don’t know she can hear you. Hand checks for good behavior, etc. Count them up at bedtime. Or a star chart.

-Concrete blocks (short- 5-10 minutes) of “special time”- playing, cuddling, etc. Can have a concrete beginning and routine end (like hugging and saying “bye bye, special time”) interspersed between parents getting other things done while child plays alone.

-watching tv isn’t special time.

-Laying the next day’s clothes out the night before in the shape of a person on the floor.

-Using fantasy as a response to an unreasonable request: “I wish I could give you 100 dolls! But we aren’t buying any today”

-Teaching “magic breathing” (using deep breaths as a tool to soothe and calm oneself, like meditation is for adults)

-toddlers love things that are “magic,” “secret,” and “special”

-“bedtime sweet talk”- retell good deeds/experiences from the day. describe how it made you feel as a parents. talk about tomorrow.

-Keep corrections positive when possible- tell what to do rather than what not do do (“chairs are for sitting”) A more respectful way.

-“Playing the boob”- being silly

-Race- who can put on shoes first

-The expectation for toddlers is that we get just baby steps of cooperation. 90/10 rule at first. Suggesting a hard bargain (eating 10 peas) will make eating 3 seem reasonable to her.

-Reverse psychology: “Don’t help me clean up! My turn!”

-Clap-growl for “red-light” behaviors

-“Kind ignoring”: when child is being unreasonable and stubborn (not hurt, scared, or sad). There may need to be an extinction burst.

-Made-up bedtime stories to parallel a lesson she’s in the process of learning.-“Red light acts”- Dangerous, aggressive, or breaking key family rules

-Forcing doesn’t work because it’s humiliating. Avoid battles.

-Ignoring good behavior will lead to bad behavior. Toddler would rather be yelled at than ignored.

-Count to three and show fingers after echoing feelings and correcting/saying no.

-Time out with timer “so you can get calm again”- 1 minute per year (timer lets the amount of time be up to the timer)

-It is okay if time out in room leads to play. The point is to get calm again.

-Show her how door lock works.



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