Do you have a Toddler who loves to say no? To everything? Before you even get the chance to fully lay out their options?
Well, I do. And given my luck I have another one with the same tendencies barreling through to terrible two’s as we speak.
In fact, the girl loves to say “no” so much that when we teased her about it being her favorite word, she replied, “No, it’s not.” Um, okay, righto.
The “No” Jar
That’s when I began to collect her “no’s”. Every time she told me no, I told her I was going to take that no and save it. I explained that when she asks me for something later, I was going to give it back to her. You should have seen the look on her face as she mulled it over. And to my surprise, she actually decided to take it back and do what I was asking her to do.
I had finally found a tactic that reduced some of the blatant, heel digging in, tantrum preparation behavior that consistently wears me down.
Now, one point to mention, is that Little Girl has a big imagination so she was easily able to understand my verbal explanation. But here is how I would vary it if your little one doesn’t get it at first. Try actually grabbing the “no” out of the air and stick it in a jar. If that still doesn’t do the trick, try writing it down on a piece of paper instead.
Need a portable solution? Pretend that you are putting the “no” in your pocket.
The “Hard Time” Bucket
Now for the Hard Time Bucket. Same principles as above but instead of “no” it’s for generally giving a hard time. For Little Girl, it can be going to bed or stopping a movie so that we can eat dinner. Now we’ve gotten to the point that I can simply remind her that she’s giving me a hard time, and the next time she wants something, I will DEFINITELY be giving her a hard time about it. Works like a charm! Good luck with your toddler negotiations!
Sanity Check: Sometimes it takes stepping back and identifying a particular behavior as a trouble spot. Try several different solutions until you get the result you need. Get creative!