Mommyhood // Negotiating with a Toddler

I still can’t believe that my little baby is a walking, talking human being.  It really does seem like yesterday that he was a little blobby baby laying on the floor, cooing away.  Now add in the fact that he’s two and a half and, not only is he talking, he’s telling me what to do!  He has a mind of his own, and boy is it bossy sometimes!

This also results in some interesting conversations to try to get him to do different things.  Recently, it’s swim lessons.  We have not been doing so hot with them.  Maybe it’s the early time, maybe it’s his new sense of “I’m afraid of EVERYTHING”, maybe it’s because he wants to do the opposite of what mommy wants.  Whatever the case, it’s resulted in some very loooooong talks trying to get him to participate and try new things.

I’m not a big fan of negotiating with kids, sometimes it gives them too much control, but with this I’m making an exception.  I don’t want him to be afraid of the water and whatever gets him in the pool to see that it’s fun, I’ll do it!

Here are my tips for toddler negotiation:

1. Start with deep breathing. This will take some serious patience.  Deep breathing before hand may help curb any yelling and general “losing it” that may surface.

2. Start small.  Promising something huge at the beginning will leave you no room to grow.  Sort of like negotiating a price with a seller.  Start at your lowest, like a donut or ice cream, and work your way up to that special new truck, Frozen doll, etc. (Notice the donut in hand in the picture above!)

3. Avoid “Do it for Mommy, pleeeeease?” It doesn’t work.

4. Patience, Patience, Patience This WILL take awhile.  God has empowered toddlers with the innate ability to be the most stubborn things on the planet.

5. Realize you may not win.  Practice makes perfect? Or not, these are toddlers we’re talking about. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Good Luck!

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  • Brittany F

    Kelly, I feel your pain (or at least I'm starting to). I have an 18 month old who just doesn't want to cooperate and will literally throw himself on the ground in protest at times. These are all great tips and I'm going to have to remember to practice them all as he gets older. A friend of mine recently gave me some good advice – Pick your Battles. You can't win all the battles so pick and choose those things that will significantly impact how you want your children to grow up.

    Great Post!
    Everyday Thoughts by Brittany

  • Leilani

    The deep breath thing is essential. And counting to ten and clenching your teeth and reminding yourself, "He's only two, he's only two, he's only two" or however old he is lol. Sometimes I think I'll be doing that forever. And it will be more like, "he's only 18, he's only 18, he's only 18" lol!

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