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What are some of your tips for negotiating with toddlers?

Posted by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM
  • 6 Replies
1 mom liked this

The Counterterrorist's Guide to Toddler Negotiation

by Corey Levitan

You don't deal with terrorists without years of CIA field training. Unless you're the parent of a toddler, in which case, you stroll into a Homeland situation completely unprepared and hope for the best. Here are some of the most important lessons I've learned from negotiating with my little Abu Booboo.

* Never negotiate with terrorists. Period. Like Saul Berenson from Homeland, only let them think you're negotiating.

* Agree to whatever they want, then secretly plot your way out of it. You can also say "no" and listen to them cry for three hours. But this is equally effective and much quieter. (Example: "You can sleep with us tonight. We'll pick you up from your bedroom later." Later, of course, they'll be asleep.)

* Let them choose between options that are not different. All they want is control. (Example: "Do you want broccoli and then clean up, or clean up and then broccoli?") Take advantage while they're still much dumber than you.

* Pretend that you and your toddler are battling a common enemy who isn't your spouse. (Example: "Your daycare teacher will put you back in the baby class if you keep going booboo in your pants and there's nothing I can do.")

* Always have another card to play. If they feel they have nothing to lose by crying when you turn their bedroom TV off, then threaten to close their door if they don't stop crying. If they continue to cry through the closed door, then threaten to cut off their air supply. (See "much dumber than you" above.)

* Reclaim the public-place card. Toddlers think they have the home-field terrorism advantage in a supermarket, since we don’t like when they call attention to us by screaming and crying. Turn this around by screaming and crying even louder than they do. This will embarrass the toddler and even endear you to other shoppers, who will recognize what's happening and secretly cheer you on.

What are some of your tips for negotiating with toddlers?

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM
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Replies (1-6):
1L2CMommy
by Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old.  Choices are VERY big in our house.  They get to choose, what they wear, which toothbrush they use (we have 4, so 2 each), which shoes to wear, what they get to drink at meals, which fruit they want, which movie they want to watch, which toy they're going to play with, which chore they're going to help with, which story we're going to read.  Of course the options are my choosing, so ultimately, I am giving them a choice between two things I wan them to do.  It definitely cuts down on the fighting and yelling.

MamaBear2cubs
by Nikki on Apr. 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Plenty of choices. My kids are less likely to revolt if I give them options lol.

dollface929
by on Apr. 8, 2014 at 3:04 PM
I just tell mine "no this is the way it is , if you don't like it i don't care , now shut the hell up or go in your room. It works really well actually.
KREX0914
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 8:03 PM

She usually gets to pick from two choices. A lot of times one of those choices or "or go sit on your bed with no toys until you are done crying." She often picks the sitting on the bed choice, cries her eyes out, then resumes life as normal when she's done crying.

MamaPeanut
by on Apr. 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Very well said!

Quoting 1L2CMommy:

I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old.  Choices are VERY big in our house.  They get to choose, what they wear, which toothbrush they use (we have 4, so 2 each), which shoes to wear, what they get to drink at meals, which fruit they want, which movie they want to watch, which toy they're going to play with, which chore they're going to help with, which story we're going to read.  Of course the options are my choosing, so ultimately, I am giving them a choice between two things I wan them to do.  It definitely cuts down on the fighting and yelling.

k9l1c5
by on Apr. 9, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Agree, choices are definitely a must with toddlers.

Quoting 1L2CMommy:

I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old.  Choices are VERY big in our house.  They get to choose, what they wear, which toothbrush they use (we have 4, so 2 each), which shoes to wear, what they get to drink at meals, which fruit they want, which movie they want to watch, which toy they're going to play with, which chore they're going to help with, which story we're going to read.  Of course the options are my choosing, so ultimately, I am giving them a choice between two things I wan them to do.  It definitely cuts down on the fighting and yelling.


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