It's time to leave the store. My daughter, the usually cheerful Page, does not want to go. Let's set aside the fact that it's tempting fate to bring a 2-year-old to a toy store when the goal is to buy somebody else a birthday present. And that it's a really bad idea to do so as one last stop during a morning of errands, squeezed in perilously close to naptime. The net result: a full-out Limp Noodle, a tired, angry child who does not happen to agree with you. The arms go slack. The body sinks heavily to the floor. "No! No go!" the Noodle screams. "Not my choice!"
Ordinarily, the great thing about having a toddler is watching her develop her sense of self. That, however, includes the discovery that she has a will of her own. And where there's a will, there's also a won't. The good news: Resistance is not only normal, it's healthy (it's your kid gaining confidence, learning independence, and figuring out who she is). The better news: There are tricks for guiding her to a more cooperative attitude. We've rounded up some of the best for five of the most frustrating toddler tussles you're likely to face:
"My toddler won't let me buckle him into his car seat."
Worth a battle?
Absolutely. Buckling isn't just the law, it's a matter of life or death. Keep your toddler in a five-point-harness seat as long as possible. They're safer, and harder to unfasten in mid ride.
Tactics to try: Keep it light.
"I make games out of things that they must do," says Harrisburg, NC, mom Shannon Mathews of her four kids, including 2-year-old twins. "We make it a race to see who can get buckled into their car seat first." Distracting play, like silly songs or goofy faces, works, too. "If I have just the babies, I make them laugh as I'm strapping them in so they forget what I'm doing, and then I quickly give them each a toy off the floor of the van -- there's always a toy on the floor of our van!"
Bribe them, pure and simple.
One snowy winter when Ann Nibbio, a mom of three, was repeatedly having a hard time getting her brood into their car seats, she stashed a bag of chocolate kisses in the glove compartment. "On the way to the car, I'd say, 'Hey! I just remembered those kisses in the car. You can have one when you're all buckled up.'"