Today I decided to share with you some of my favorite tips on dealing with a stubborn toddler.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission that helps to support the Blog costs. The decision is yours whether or not you decide to buy is completely up to you.
You can survive this difficult phase with some parenting guidance and education!
Are you having a hard time parenting a stubborn child?
I don’t know about you but when my toddler locks her heels down on an something it is extremely hard to change her negative behaviors!
Look for the link below for a Free Toddler Parenting Tips Presentation with great advice on adjusting stubborn behaviour.
Dealing With A Stubborn Toddler – 5 Ways To End The Drama Now
When you are dealing with stubborn children, it can make you feel helpless, angry, frustrated, and tired of pleading or negotiating with them.
Before you know it, in the heat of the moment, you are both in a bad mood and yelling at someone who doesn’t even come up to your waist.
FULL STOP, take a deep breath, and think about what happened, you realize these are logical consequences as a result of your approach.
Research shows that if parenting can’t modify a kids behavior there is a strong chance that stubbornness in the toddler years will develop to aggressive behavior in the teenage years
So what we are suggesting here is that there is a right way to avoid bad behavior and avoid using even effective discipline with a strong willed child by following these simple steps.
Make a Game
Say your toddler, with their stubborn nature, refuses to pick up their toys, and every time it becomes power struggles to see who wins the toy wars and how many time-outs there will be today!
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.’
These little things or small changes to your approach with your stubborn kids will improve your child’s behavior.
The ‘clean up’ game works great if you purchase an old fashioned timer so they can see the time ticking away!
The best thing is you have effectively used positive reinforcement on your determined child to motivate them to a positive direction.
By doing this, you have not only made a game out something every kid hates.
But, you are also encouraging their self-esteem and good behavior.
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 and will help develop the good habit of having daily routines.
We have a list below that, again, is a guide and not always appropriate.
For example if your 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 from grocery store into house
- Set the table
- Put used plates and small bowls on counter
- Sweep floors
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
- Fold laundry
- 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 stubbornness 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 self-control, 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 create a positive attitude and motivate them.
‘Helping’ makes them feel grown up and more willing to cooperate with you.
Try saying ‘Would you like to be my special helper today?
You did so great last time you helped me…’ Soon they will feel like you gave them a new privilege instead of a chore.
Tip: Remember to keep their ‘special’ job age appropriate, particularly important for sensitive children, so they will not get frustrated.
- Chores For Kids: Toddlers Under 2 Years
- Best Chores for Young Children
- Chores for Older Children
- Age-appropriate Chores
My little ones love to pick out their clothes for the day.
I prefer not to let them go willy nilly and pick out just any outfit for the day.
So I will tend to pick out two options for them to choose from.
And, we both stay happy that way.
Too many choices just lead to upset toddlers who are going to use all their stubbornness to wear shorts in winter time!
By limiting in advance, we all win it’s a two-way street, and it makes getting ready so much faster.