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3 Top Tips to a Cooperative Toddler

3 Top Tips to a Cooperative Toddler
February 11, 2017 Erin Royer-Asrilant

3 Top Tips for a Cooperative Toddler

If you prefer listening over reading:listen to podcast episode

I get a lot of questions about toddler behavior, obviously the difficult parts, the NOs, the push back, the push for independence. The questions are usually very similar but just different scenarios, that constant, I say toast she says cereal, I say the sky is blue, he says it’s read. I say over here and she runs over there. For some parents they feel like it’s all day long, whenever their toddler is awake! It all stem back to the same thing, that toddler behavior and push for independence.

With some infants you may start to see some push for independence, some defiance, as early as 9 months. For others it may not start until around 18 months. Kids all range in their different areas of development. Some will talk earlier, some will walk earlier and some will start to push for independence very early.

The first tool and almost every parent has heard this one before and that toddlers love is…


Choices give your toddler the feel of control and autonomy. When your toddler has this feeling he or she is much less likely to push back when you really need her to just go along with the plan.

  • Don’t start or do anything without first giving your toddler a choice.
  • Offer choices all. day. long. Wake up to bedtime. So cereal or toast? apple or banana? Beside sissy or momma? Get dressed in your room or in the bathroom? Put your shoes on now or in 5 minutes? Sneakers or sandals? Apples or carrots for snack? Spanish songs or train songs in the car?
  • For toddlers you always want to keep the choice to 2 or it can be overwhelming
  • If you find your child is pushing back on choices or trying to get around them, I cover all the ways kids will try to get around them and how to handle those situations in the class on the website, at under the discipline section. I also cover ways to use choices differently as kids age, all the way up through age 9.

Positive Directions

Positive directions is stating all of your requests in the positive rather than using “no” “don’t” or “stop” Why is this important?

  • It can be confusing to toddlers – when language is just coming on board, it’s difficult to take a language and turn it around 180 degrees.
  • So when they hear “Don’t put your toy in the mud.”  or “Don’t jump on the couch.” “Stop jumping on the couch” or “No jumping on the couch”, a lot of times they only hear “jumping” and “couch” and the no, don’t or stop gets lost.
  • So rather than being defiance, many times they are doing what they think they are supposed to and then get in trouble for it.
  • It also tells kids what not to do, but not what to do. So they then are expected to figure out what TO do, all on their own. But what’s in their head now is what they were told NOT to do “toy mud” “jump couch”
  • So stating it in the positive tells them what TO DO. “Please sit on the couch.” “Please hold on to your toy.” “Jump on the floor.” “Put your toy right here.” “Couches are for sitting.”

For the third tool, one of my favorites that is easy and effective listen to the podcast episode.

listen to podcast episodeTips for cooperative toddler