Monday, December 17, 2012

How to get your toddler to do something…

Clearly, we can make our kids (well, at least, small kids) to do anything we need them to do, but the challenge is to get them to do anything voluntarily. I recently had an “a-ha moment” that I wanted to share.  After having that special moment and trying out the trick, I actually realized that it was pretty obvious and it was just one of those things that you couldn’t believe you hadn’t thought of sooner… But anyway, in case anyone hasn’t gotten there yet, sharing my story…
The other night, Allie and I were taking a bath together.  We do that a lot: it’s more fun, it’s a great bonding time, an opportunity for me to do a bath in a more relaxing way rather than breaking my back trying to clean Allie from outside of the tub, it’s a nice experience all around. I love taking baths myself, so the bath routine is something that I am looking forward to, it doesn’t feel like a chore at all. Allie loves to play with her little containers in the tub and “make me tea, coffee or juice in them”.  Once in a while she’ll ask for “kuzi” and then I’ll turn the Jacuzzi jets on and she‘ll get her toes tickled by them. It’s very fun. Lots of laughs and songs and games.  Anyway, to get back to my story, we were taking a bath the other night and I had this “boo-boo” (speaking in Allie’s terms) on my knee that I noticed and started to look at and pick on.  Allie took an interest and helped me pick it for a minute and then got back to her business of “making coffee”(which means pouring water from one container to the other until I guess it reaches a certain consistency?). I continued with the boo-boo… Picking and cleaning… I must’ve been doing it for a few minutes at least. When I finally looked up, I saw Allie sitting and picking on her non-existing boo-boo on her knee. That was so cute! She was copying what I was doing. This is when I realized that to get her to do anything, I’ll do it myself without really looking at her (so she doesn’t figure out that’s a trick) and looking really interested and into doing whatever I am doing.
My project #1 was to get her to brush her hair. Now, this is kind of embarrassing, but we almost never brush Allie’s hair. She really doesn’t like it and she doesn’t have much hair anyway, so it’s not that big of a deal and I’ve always figured if she doesn’t like it so much, why torture her?  Un-brushed hair hasn’t really made anyone unhappy yet.  But deep in my heart I always want to brush it… So lately what I do is I start brushing her hair and if she resists (I should say “when”, not “if”, because she always resists), I stop and get to brushing my own hair with Allie’s hairbrush. I don’t look at her, but I act over-excitedly about brushing. Most of the time, she then starts reaching for a brush too and I let her have it. She’s also been letting me brush her hair, which I almost want to make our official family holiday – the day when Allie’s hair started to look brushed and nice. Very exciting!
Since then, I’ve been using this little technique to get Allie to do certain things that she doesn’t want to do sometimes and more often than not it works!
I hope this works for you, too.

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