Five Different Ways To Deal With A Stubborn Toddler

As babies grow into toddlerhood, some things become much easier. They get a little more independent, and they are able to help out in small ways. For example, they might be able to run across the room to grab their shoes when it’s time to get ready to go outside. On the other hand, they also develop their own perspective and opinions on a whole range of topics. Sometimes, this doesn’t align with your point of view, and this can lead to a power struggle.

So, just how should you deal with a stubborn toddler? I have outlined a few suggestions below.

Walk Through Your Logic

Toddlers don’t always stop to think about the way that their actions impact everyone around them. Sometimes, simply explaining your point of view can work wonders. For example, if your little one refuses to go upstairs to get ready for bed, you might explain why it’s important. You can tell them that they need to take a bath and brush their teeth so that you can tuck them in. That way, you will be able to go downstairs to do the dishes and make their lunch for tomorrow. You might even tell them that you are getting tired yourself, and want to finish all of these things so that you can go to bed too.

A lot of toddlers will respond positively once they understand the reason that you are asking them to do something. Give it a shot, and the results may surprise you.

Ask Them To Explain

On a related note, try asking them to explain why they won’t do what you are asking them to do. To follow the example from above, they might tell you that they don’t want to get ready for bed, because they are having fun playing. You may have known this already, but letting them explain it provides an opportunity for a two way dialogue. At this point, you might counter and offer up five more minutes of play time if they agree to go upstairs once they time is up.

toddler arguing


Take A Break

If they are really digging in their heels, you might take a break for a few minutes. Go do the dishes or check you email. Then come back and try to get your toddler to do what you’re asking. Sometimes, after a little time passes, they will be in a more agreeable mood.

Lead The Way

Toddlers are shameless followers. It’s how they are wired and a big part of how they learn. So, if they aren’t doing what you ask, try leading by example. If you are trying to get them to eat their vegetables and they aren’t complying, make a big show of eating yours and talking about how yummy they are. You might even ask them if you can have a bit of their broccoli. Once your little one sees how interested you are, they might decide they want some after all.


When In Doubt, Bribery

Personally, I try really hard to avoid offerings rewards or bribes to get my toddler to do what I want. But, it can be really effective. If they are refusing to leave the playground when it’s time to go, you can offer up a special dessert after dinner if they come home right now. There are a couple reasons that I don’t love doing this. First off, I hate to offer a reward just to get them to do something that they should be doing anyway. Second, I don’t want to set a precedent where they start expecting rewards for every little thing.



Final Thoughts

One of the biggest keys to successful parenting is patience. This is particularly true when it comes to dealing with a stubborn toddler. As frustrating as this can get at times, try to force a smile and enjoy the ride.


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