Outsmart Your Toddler

Posted on May 23, 2007 

Outsmart Your Toddler: 5 tricks for getting yours to do what you want

The battle lines were drawn: It was me against him. And he, my 2-year-old, was a formidable opponent. I lay in wait by the stairs, a pair of size-2T sweatpants clutched to my chest. Catching Kevin and wrestling him into his clothes reminded me of the day I tried (and failed) to catch a greased piglet at a county fair. At least with Kevin I didn’t have to worry I’d end up face-down in the mud. Suddenly, my slippery little boy popped up from behind the relative safety of the sofa. Our eyes met. He squealed and bolted for the kitchen. Game on!

Somehow, my master’s degree in psychology had lulled me into the mistaken notion that motherhood would be a piece of cake. I knew the latest child-rearing theories. I’d handle behavior problems with finesse.

One strategy I used to get my daughter, Kaylin, then 2, to try new foods was to deny her first few requests for them. At dinner I’d put two foods on her plate and four foods on the grown-up plates. She’d stare longingly at our full plates and say, “Me want that!” I’d reply, “Sorry, pumpkin. These foods are for grown-ups.” She’d keep asking, and as she started to get frustrated, I’d ask, “Do you really think you’re old enough?” She’d shout, “Yes!” and scoot over, holding out her plate. She couldn’t eat her broccoli fast enough.

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