I hate writing parenting articles, after hitting publish I feel the pressure. What if I jinx myself, what if he decides not to do it anymore, or even worse–what if my parenting is being observed when he throwing a tantrum and I’m trying every trick in the book, but it’s not working. Well, this was too good to keep to myself–so here it goes.
As I mentioned, I’m cautious as I write this post on how I’m getting my toddler to obey with two simple words. It’s worked like a charm so I didn’t want to keep it to myself. By the way, the picture above is my baby transitioning into the toddler phase, sneaking into his daddy’s birthday cake before he was supposed to–while busy pulling out all of the pots and pans.
I’ve struggled with counting to 3 because a part of me says he’s not obeying right away. Another part of me looks at his personality and realizes he needs time to respond in obedience.
So I struggle within. Am I only feeding the disobedience by not demanding obedience right away? The counseling side of me kicks in and says, “It’s okay as long as he is obeying in that moment.”
When I came up with this two simple word phrase and it worked–I was shocked. I think the beauty in it is–it’s simple. Sometimes we get bogged down in sharing WAY too much with our toddler that they get lost in our long-winded speech–on how we need to be better citizens, make better choices if they ever want to make it to college. The shorter the sentence, the better.
So, the magical words are: stop and obey.
This is an example of how it plays out, I get down at his eye level and say, “Mateo, I need you to pick up your toys from the kitchen floor, please.” I watch his body language and see him continue to play, so then I say, “Stop and obey.” or depending on the situation, “I need you to stop and obey.”
He stops what he’s doing and obeys. Seriously!
Note, that you probably shouldn’t expect a toddler to clean up by themselves. Little ones need lots of motivation and encouragement so show them how to do it and go in the room with them and cheer them on.
The Two Simple Words, works every time (mostly every time if he’s not sleepy, hungry or overstimulated). Note, when our kids are not being their normal self ask yourself:
Is he tired?
Is he hungry?
Is he overstimulated?
Usually, for us it’s a “yes” to at least one of those, if not all of them. But I must add I still don’t let him have full blown tantrums just because he’s tired, hungry or overstimulate. I cut him some slack but I usually say, “I’m sorry that you’re tired right now, but you can’t speak to me that way. We’ll get home soon so you can get a nap.”
I’d suggest you try this for at least a couple of weeks until your child gets used to the “new plan”. It works wonderfully in our home with my three year old but all of our kids personalities are different, so this may not cut it for your little bundle of cuteness.