Join us at Workfest for expert advice on kickstarting your career x

Tips for getting a 2 year old to do what you ask

(23 Posts)
Shahsham Fri 06-Jun-14 18:31:22

I know toddlers aren't renowned for doing what you ask but I would really appreciate some ideas.

Ds1 is 2.8. DS2 is 1 month. Since DS2 arrived, DS1 just wont do what we ask. Everything is a battle - well, sometimes. Sometimes he's lovely and obedient but 2 times out of 3 he refuses and its hard to make him when juggling a newborn.

Incentives don't work for DS1. He doesn't like sweets/chocolate and sticker charts have failed for getting him toilet trained and to sleep in his bed (yet we've managed to do both those things hmm )

Getting angry doesn't work (and isn't easy cos usually Im asking dS1 to be quiet cos DS2 is desperate to sleep).

Time out is hard cos he just yells and cries (disturbing DS2...)

Appealing to his better nature doesn't work hmm grin

Any ideas?

sillymillyb Fri 06-Jun-14 18:33:30

Can you give more closed questions?

So instead of saying out your socks on, say "do you want to wear your red or blue socks today?"

It sometimes works for ds.... But I feel your pain!

Zephyroux Fri 06-Jun-14 18:48:31

I ask 'can you do it yourself or would you like me to help you' works nearly every time. It gives the choice of being grown up and independent (me do it!) or the security of being helped. What they choose can also often give insight into the feelings that are behind the behaviour.

Shahsham Fri 06-Jun-14 19:53:27

Thanks but we've tries both those techniques and usually he just says no...

I will try more often asking if he can do it himself or needs my help...he had a slight regression of needing us to feed him whereas before he'd fight to take the spoon.

As for giving choices - again he just says no, or his latest trick of just lying on the floor and not moving.

Tis so frustrating as he was such a happy easy going little boy before but now Im exhausted before lunchtime!

Busymumto3dc Fri 06-Jun-14 19:53:59

Chocolate buttons

Shahsham Fri 06-Jun-14 19:58:03

Interesting point about seeing the reasons behind his behaviour.

My main problem at the moment is he wont be quiet when asked and wont stop rocking the baby bouncer with DS2 in or getting in DS2's face.

I understand his frustration. He likes Ds2 and want s to play. He doesnt like how much I have to deal with DS2. But its so annoying to be constantly saying be more careful/slow/whatever with DS2. I praise positive behaviour but theres a lot more rough behaviour than gentle atm

Shahsham Fri 06-Jun-14 19:59:08

You do not know how much I wish he liked chocolate buttons!

If he's being loud (but having fun) can you make a game/helper job out of being quiet?

Make him part of Team Mummy trying to get baby to sleep, can he get you a cushion/muslin/dummy? Can we talk really quietly and see who is the quietest? Can we tiptoe away from the Moses basket?

Bit exhausting but in theory it works! I have a 2.5yo and a baby and he is much more gentle/quiet with her if he thinks it's 'me and him' than 've and baby's

It does get better eventually promise.

Also things like encouraging stroking the baby's head, baby really likes that you are so gentle, baby loves you.

Mine are 5, 2 and 8mths btw and I have had to relax a bit and accept that it's okay if baby gets man handled a bit!

Longdistance Fri 06-Jun-14 20:09:25

Just say the opposite. Toddlers are so contrary.

GoogleyEyes Fri 06-Jun-14 20:11:01

I just kept the baby in the sling a lot. It's obvious to a toddler that the quickest way to get your attention is to mess with the baby, so they do. The second quickest way to get your attention is needing the toilet. Dd1 clocked that when dd2 was about a week old...

Shahsham Fri 06-Jun-14 20:50:54

Oh yes for needing the toilet! And doing the longest poo ever to get me to stay sitting with him!

CharlesRyder Fri 06-Jun-14 20:58:28

Can you not just keep the baby out of his way? Sling him or put him in his bouncer in a playpen so you can reach him but DS can't?

With my DS a 'race' almost always works because he is ultra competitive. He also enjoys helping so giving him responsibility works.

Misty9 Fri 06-Jun-14 23:32:05

Oh I could've written your op! I've got ds, 2.8, and his baby sister, 7 weeks. Ds was also a fairly biddable little thing. And now, well let's just say he's discovered his inner toddler!

I did a bit of reading into coping with two when I was crapping myself at the prospect and one recommendation which we are trying to implement is avoiding asking your toddler to be quiet around the baby. She needs to get used to noise anyway, and he's generally just playing. It does feel like we're always telling him to be gentle though, I know what you mean. Oh, and lying on the floor not moving is a favourite of his too. We're trying to ignore as much of that as possible, mega praise any good behaviour and sell him the idea that if he lets the baby sleep then we can play with him smile

I think it's a case of just surviving these first few months as everyone adjusts.

I go overboard on the praise when my toddler DD does something I want her to do. She rocks the baby bouncer too, and if I ask her to stop & she does, even if it's just for a second, I give her a huge hug & say 'well done for doing what mummy asked! I knew you could do it!' etc, and then immediately distract, eg. 'now let's go see who can find your Peppa book first'.

Gruzinkerbell Sat 07-Jun-14 08:49:56

I'm in the same boat as you OP and I find turning things around so the consequences are about him works well, so instead of saying "don't do that you'll hurt DD" I say "DD doesn't like that, if you do that she'll cry and you don't like it when she cries do you?" It makes him see the impact on HIM of his behaviour which is much more effective as he just can't empathise at all so doesn't understand "that'll hurt her/wake her up" as he just thinks "well I want to play".

It's really hard work though. It's starting to get easier for me (DD is now 4mo) as she's a bit bigger now and less fragile, and I can only imagine it'll get easier as she grows. She's also a lot more interesting to DS now as she's smiling and giggling. I think this helps a lot as he's always trying to make her laugh now whereas at a month old she was just a crying, pooing inconvenience to him. At 1mo I think DS was still very much adjusting to the shock of sharing Mummy, but he's got used to it now and his behaviour has settled down a lot. He still has his moments though!

Good luck and congratulations on your new baby!

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Jun-14 12:41:25

I would just really, really dial back what you're asking him to do. Only argue on the absolute life threatening issues, so no shoes; fine, not getting dressed; fine, not eating lunch; fine, playing with an axe; not fine etc.

Avoid creating opportunities for him to fail, don't leave the baby in his reach, let him have some tv or something when he needs to be quiet etc.

It's not a long term solution, but it's fine while the baby is tiny, he's adjusting to a big change and you're exhausted.

drivenfromdistraction Sat 07-Jun-14 12:53:58

I have 3 DC. Two year olds are a law unto themselves, at some point they just grow into more rational behaviour, so just muddle on through as best you can is my advice! Avoid confrontations (the 2yo always wins) and tears (yours or theirs) and in a couple of years it'll all be a lot easier!

MrsKCastle Sat 07-Jun-14 13:05:47

Two things work for me:

1) Always provide a choice. Red top or blue? Carrots or peas? Mummy helping or on your own?

If there really isn't a choice (e.g. brushing teeth, going in car seat) I still offer the choice: Nicely, or kicking and screaming? If DD chooses kicking and screaming, I'll say 'Oh, that's not very loud,can't you scream louder? Show me your big kicks!' Until she gets bored and lets me do whatever it is. I also make it clear that if she doesn't choose 'nicely' then she is making an active choice of 'kicking and screaming'- there is no 3rd option!

2) Playing 'silly mummy'.

I act as if I don't know how to do things that are very familiar routines for DD.

E.g. 'Come on, it's time to get dressed, hurry up! Get your pants on your head. What's that? Not on your head? Hmmm... No, of course not. Put them on your toes. No? Oh, ok.... I remember, they go on your knees...'

This one takes patience and is often done through gritted teeth, but by the end it has DD and I both giggling and DD very proud of the fact that she can tell/show me exactly what to do.

Shahsham Sat 07-Jun-14 14:46:11

Thanks - some really good ideas to try

KatyN Sat 07-Jun-14 21:09:39

We have started counting to three with our 2,5 yr old.. So it's time to get in your oushchair, do you want to climb in yourself or mummy will lift you in after three.

Our son has responded really well to it.

Misty9 Sat 07-Jun-14 22:01:48

Katy if we do that our toddler just continues counting to ten! grin

Mamabear12 Mon 09-Jun-14 02:08:26

I use the police or bugs to get my daughter to do things like brush teeth, stay in bed, be quiet etc.

If I want to brush teeth I say. Let's get e bugs out and while I brush I list different bugs. She loves this. Obviously she knows I'm pretending, but gets a kick out of it.

I use the police for bed time. I say the police wants you to stay at bed. I pretend the police knocks on bedroom door and has asked for her to be quiet, stay in bed etc. usually works.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now