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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Toddler Tricks - 27

Ways to Trick your Baby:

Problem: Your baby wants something, and the answer is no.  Anyone who has ever lived with toddlers knows that this is the problem to end all problems.

Solution: Never just say no, as much as you really want to.  No is an insuffient answer.  If you want to avoid the almost inevitable tantrum that will ensue, say no in three gentle stages.  First, explain to them why their request is being turned down.  "We can't do that right now because first you have to eat breakfast."  "We need shoes to go outside, but we can't put our shoes on until we go potty." This shows them a clear gameplan as to what they need to do to get where they want to be.  It takes you as the one who makes the rules out of the equation and makes the bad guy the various situations which they can easily overcome.  Second, tell them when, if ever, their request will be filled.  "Yes, we will get a balloon tomorrow, when we go shopping," or "Yes, we will be seeing Nana in March."  You can even ask them after you've said it, to repeat it, so they feel they have some control over the situation.  "When are we seeing Nana?"  "In March!"  Third, after you've explain the situation best you can, then you can try to distract them with something else.  I've found that trying to redirect right off the bat will only get you resentment and tantrums.  Things that would normally interest them will hold no weight until they are able to put their request to the back of their minds and make peace with its outcome.

Ways your Baby Tricks You:

Problem: You want your baby to do something and the answer is no.

Solution: Use classic reverse psychology.  I never think to do this.  I always assume the babies will laugh in my face at the age-old tactic, making me look the fool.  My husband, though, does not overestimate them in this way, and time after time a simple, "Oh, well it's good you don't want that juice anyway because it's mine and I'm going to drink it all." Every time this forces the babies' hand, and they'll drink the juice.  I'm amazed it works, but it does, at least in our house.


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