Monday, August 2, 2010

Which do you choose?

You may have noticed that your normally agreeable toddler became very contrary around the age of two.
I know that the words I hear most often from Helena are "No!", "I not want to!", and "Don't!"
One way to deal with this is by employing the Why Not? technique. I try to do this as much as possible.
But sometimes it's just not feasible to step back and let Helena eat Froot Loops for lunch or stay up all night.
If that's the case, I use a different technique that works wonders: "Which do you choose?"
Kids this age (from around 2-5) love to feel like they are in control of themselves and their situations. They are just learning that what they say and do has an effect on the world around them and they love exploring the outcomes of different choices. Our job as parents is not to control them and force them to do what we think they should do, but to guide them and help them make the best choices.
When I start hearing "No, I don't want to!" from my girls, I give them two acceptable choices and let them decide.
"Would you like yogurt or string cheese with your lunch?"
"Would you like to read a book before naptime, or go straight to your room?"
"Would you like to have one cookie for a snack, or zero cookies for a snack?"
It's amazing how quickly giving two choices can halt a tantrum.
So next time your preschooler is upset because she doesn't want to get ready for church, ask if she would like to wear her pink dress or her blue dress and see what happens!


Candi said...

That's the Love & Logic approach, but I promise you EVERY single time I tried it it would end up something like this:
"Would like you like to wear your red shirt or the blue one?"


Giving choices just didn't work the magic at our house. Maybe my kids are just smarter than whoever wrote that book. In fact, I'm pretty sure they are!

Denise Faulkner said...

I love this and it works for me -- thanks for the reminder to use it. I find it works best if it is unrelated to the item that you are forcing, so really the GREEN one would work too:0 Makes them feel like they have some control and forget what they are fighting you on:)

Kate said...

Candi--too bad it doesn't work for you :( I thought it was a magic charm, guess I'm just lucky!
When Tempe does say she wants something different, I just say "That's not a choice right now!" and remind her of what her choices are. So far, it's worked, although I'm sure it loses its effectiveness as kids get older.