I feel like I’ve recently made a parenting “discovery” of sorts and am kind of shocked I’ve never seen this written or talked about anywhere! This discovery has made our lives SOOOO much more enjoyable and less stressful! If parenting were like a video game, this would be like unlocking a secret level of some type that gives you super powers and makes the game that much easier!

So here’s the scoop….

Imagine the following scenario:

I ask the girls if they want a sippy cup/cracker/book/stuffed animal/juice cup/etc/etc/etc. They will reach for and grab the object, then IMMEDIATELY freak out screaming “Nooo!!! I don’t want it!!!!” at which point they will throw the object down. Not such a big deal if the object is a stuffed animal, but I cannot count the number of juice/milk spills and broken cracker crumbs I’ve had to clean up from these little toddler temper tantrums. Only, that’s not the end of the interaction….

Within mere seconds of having thrown the object, all the sudden the girls decide that they do want the object after all. Only now the object is either broken, spilled, or out of reach (this often happens while riding in the car), so many times its impossible to retrieve said object. Meltdown #2 ensues. Fun times, let me tell you.

But then I realized….the girls generally want whatever object I’ve offered them. Only, they want it to be THEIR idea instead of mine.

So I’ve changed up my strategy. The first time that I offer them something (drink/snack/toy), I make the offer without actually handing them the object. I basically half-way extend the object toward them, wait for them to say “NO!! I DON’T WANT IT!”, then wait about 5 seconds until they change their mind, “I WANT IT!!!!” and then I hand it to them for real.

No more tantrums, no more spills, no more cracker crumbs everywhere (well, still some crumbs but that’s just because they’re messy eaters). Most importantly, though, is that everyone is happy and there’s no more tears and meltdowns!

These little 2-year-olds (going on 20) want to be in charge and make decisions independently. They just have to be offered the opportunity to do so. By changing up our interactions, they now feel some power and control in the situation. Everyone wins!

: )

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