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When you are dealing with a stubborn toddler, it can make you feel helpless, angry, frustrated, and tired of pleading or negotiating with them.
Before you know it you are both in a bad mood and yelling at someone who doesn’t even come up to your waist.
Make a game
Say your stubborn toddler refuses to pick up their toys, and every time it becomes a battle of wills to see who win the toy wars!
So instead of saying ‘time to pick up your toys’ you could say ‘I bet you can’t pick up all these toys in five minutes.’
The ‘clean up’ game works great if you purchase an old fashioned timer so they can see the time ticking away!
By doing this, you have not only made a game out something every kid hates.
But, you are also encouraging their self-esteem.
I mean who doesn’t like to feel encouraged when they ‘win’ and receive a reward?
You can even make a little reward system for extra reinforcement.
Giving your child something small like a sticker or a quarter for their ‘Mommy’s Helper Jar’ can help motivate him or her in the long run.
It is also important to understand the difference between a life skill (something a child needs to learn to do as a habit before they are ready to live on their own) or a household chore (tasks like picking up toys or clothes).
Children often mature at different rates even within the same family. It is important not to judge and compare them openly (you can compare quietly with your husband out of ear shot from the kids) as they develop good habits.
There are some chore activities that children should be able to do at certain ages.
We have a list below that, again, is a guide and not always appropriate.
For example if you toddler can’t manage doing any of these chores at the ages listed below.
They are NOT a failure or developmentally delayed.
Toddlers Aged 2 to 3
Pick up toys with parent or baby sitter supervision
Pick up dirty clothes and place in laundry basket
Help make their bed
Family Chores with Supervision
Help dust short pieces of furniture
Pick shoes at front or side doors and place in proper spot
Help carry dirty (non-breakable) plate to dishwasher
Refill a pet’s water container
Ages 4 to 5
Dress themselves without supervision, provide some correction once complete
Deposit dirty laundry in basket every day
Make their bed without supervision, provide some correction once complete
Make sure contents of their backpack have what they should be there
Pick up toys
Can wash and dry hands
Places towel back on rack
Family Chores with Supervision
Sort laundry in dark and light colors
Help prepare some simple meal items
Carry light shopping bag into house
Set the table
Put used plates and small bowls on counter
Ages 6 to 7
Make bed without being asked
Brush teeth and comb hair
Choose clothes to wear for for the day and get dressed
Empty dishwasher and put away whatever they can reach
Put clothes in drawers
Help vacuum and sweep hard surface floors
Empty trash and recycling bins into appropriate containers
Take care of pet’s food and water
Exercise pet with supervision
Involving your child in active daily chores will create a routine and help reduce stubborness when Dealing With A Stubborn Toddler.
Use Positive Words
Being negative tends to cause your toddler to throw their defenses first thing!
As a parent, we tend to say things like ‘We can’t leave till your shoes are on.’
Instead, you need to say something like ‘As soon as you get your shoes on we can go to the playground.’
Your toddler will feel encouraged to hurry so they can receive their reward.
If you overreact or lose your cool, it will make the situation even harder.
All your emotional response does is set you up for a no-win situation.
Stubborn toddlers can hold out for an incredible amount of time.
So keep your cool, encourage correct behavior, and be prepared to wait it out.
Play ‘Helper’ Card
As toddlers start to try out some independence asking them to ‘help’ will motivate them.
‘Helping’ makes them feel grown up and more willing to cooperate with you.