In 3 days’ time, our Princess would turn 31 months (or 2 years and 7 months). Like all other egocentric but smart toddlers her age, she wants to assert her rights and be in-charge of her life. Somedays it means directing mommies and daddies (even helpers) which footwear and clothes she wants to put on for that day, what food she wants to eat (and which she doesn’t), and very often, what time she goes to bed.
Well, here are some useful tips from the Babyzone website to navigate this tussle of control effectively:
1. Hire her as your helper.
For example, get her a small broom and have her sweep up the kitchen. Or, when baking, have her deposit some of the ingredients into the bowl. Sorting the laundry is always an adventure for a two year old. Keep tasks simple and interesting. Dana is responsible for picking up the soiled clothes and bringing them to the laundry basket in the kitchen after her shower every evening. She enjoys this simple task as Mommy’s little helper! 🙂
2. Model the words that you want her to say.
When you ask her to help, use those words— “Please” and “Thank You”. Lead by example, and she’ll follow suit when she asks you to do something. We tell Dana daily “I Love You” and she mirrors this affection to us and her teachers & friends too!
3. Respect her ideas.
So, she may be wearing violently differently patterned shirts and pants but she thinks she is the cat’s meow — especially because she came up with the concept of her outfit and successfully executed it. One example I can think of is at Dana art enrichment lessons. She has the liberty to select what colours, textures and materials to use to create her art piece; we respect her creativity and give her autonomy to express herself.
4. Give her your undivided attention.
Is there anything more frustrating than when you are talking to someone who is reading the paper or watching TV? If you are engrossed, tell her,”Mommy is reading the paper and will be with you in one minute.” She may not understand the concept of “one minute,” but at least you have acknowledged her attempts to get your attention. Then, take the time to listen to what she has to say. I usually take advantage of car rides when Daddy is at the wheel to read to Dana or ask her about her day. Daddy is better at this, he’ll devote an hour at least each evening to play with Dana, have Dana tinkle on the piano or read with her before bedtime. On some weekends when I am busy, Daddy would bring Dana to cycle at the Park or engage in other outdoor play. Thank God for devoted Daddies so we can take turns to give Dana our undivided attention!
5. Choice A or Choice B.
Don’t ask her to do something, such as go to bed, if it is not a choice. But do give her a choice in implementing what you need done. For example, “Would you like to walk to your bedroom or would you like to go piggy-back?” Giving her choices keeps her feeling that she is in control. I admit I am quite an authoritative parent and rarely give Dana a choice of tasks as I expect 100% obedience. Perhaps I can empower her a little more by trying this new suggestion tonight! 🙂