Ways to Trick your Baby:
Problem: Your child doesn’t want to complete the tasks necessary to move on with the day…activities like eating, taking a nap or putting toys away. You can’t very well yell at them to force them to do it. They won’t be any more inclined to do it next time if they remember that, plus, your next activity is usually something fun like bubbles, coloring or going out somewhere. Once you allow your child to sink into the despair that only a toddler and know and stew upon, the next two or three activities will be tainted with that mindset, making what should be fun and easy, hard and demanding.
Solution: Explain the day to them, or at least the next few events they are going to experience. If they know that first we pick up the toys, then we have an ice cream cone, they’ll understand order a bit better and be more accepting of it. I don’t necessarily use the fun things as rewards for the boring things. I simply show them that this is the order in which things will occur, period. No one gets ice cream until the toys are away. They’re not getting the ice cream because they put the toys away, they’re getting the ice cream after they put the toys away because that’s how things are going that day, because that’s what I said. Then it’s like a ‘choose your own adventure.’ They can choose the fun path I’ve laid out for them with some bumps along the way, or they can choose their own path, usually with less favorable results. They’ll soon learn that the better day includes mommy’s plans.
Ways your Baby Tricks You:
Problem: Your kid couldn’t care less about your plans, ice cream, beach or no. The prize at the end of the tunnel just isn’t worth it to them. They are not picking up those toys. They don’t want to stop whatever it is they are doing to move on, but you really need to get on with the day.
Solution: Don’t always just dangle the carrot in front of them as a future event. Switch it up sometimes to couch the undesirable activity with fun events. “We’ll have an ice cream now, okay? Then we’ll pick up our toys, and then we’ll go to the park!” The not-fun thing is almost buried in the happy promises of now and later, like a little pause. This shifts the emphasis from something they don’t want to do, and keeps them constantly buouyed by events that they want to do.
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