This image came from a toddler page, so we should take into account what we know about toddlers.
Toddlers are stubborn.
Toddlers are willful.
Toddlers are willing to please.
Toddlers are temperamental.
Toddlers are autonomy seeking.
Toddlers are learning everyday.
People who are learning don't always do exactly what they should do because they are learning, and parents of toddlers should know this. When it is time for a toddler to clean, we should ask them to pick up specific toys, not just ask them to clean up. It is overwhelming to ask a little person to clean up a room full of clutter. Even if there are only a few items strewn about, telling your child specifically what to pick up and where to put it helps the child to know what exactly you as the parent expect. If the child does not understand or seems resistant, simply help with the process. Once you begin to clean your child, your child will most likely come and help. If your child is tired hungry or upset, he or she probably won't comply, and forcing them to help will often result in a power struggle that the parent will not win. If a parent takes a toy and puts it into a box, what are they proving? What chore can a toddler complete that will teach then why they should pick up their toys? What lesson does this communicate to a toddler or a preschooler other than if you don't listen to me, I am going to take your toy.
It does not teach that we clean up so that we don't hurt ourselves, or that we clean before dinner, or before bed. In Positive Parenting and Positive Discipline, the goal is to teach out children lessons that will last a lifetime, not to inflict punishments to prove a point. A one or two year old child will benefit more from working as a team with mom and dad to keep their play area clean as opposed to parents having unrealistic expectations about what a toddler can and can not do.
“I think I understand why you are yelling. You are a mom who is doing her very best to parent in a way that isn’t overly firm. You try and respectfully ask your children to do something and they are not responsive in the way you need them to be. This mounts frustration to the point where you find yourself yelling in order to get results because you don’t want to hit. So many parents are right there with you often. There are a few tools that you can use:
1.Agreements: Have a discussion where everyone shares. Brainstorm solutions and choose one that feels good to everyone. Agree on a time deadline. Avoid criticism if deadline is not met. Use nonverbal signals or ask “What was our agreement?” Avoid nagging. You can often use one word “Room”. They will know what you mean.
2. Kind AND Firm: First validate feelings and show understanding. Offer choices if you can. Example: You want to keep playing AND it is time to clean your room. Do you want to make your bed first or pick up your toys?
3. Decide what you will do: Plan what you will do and let them know in advance. When your room is clean I will turn the WiFi back on. Follow through with Kindness AND Firmness.
4. Curiosity Questions (my personal favorite): Asking instead of telling creates critical thinkers and empowers. What do you need to do so that you can be ready for bed on time?
All of these tools came from Positive Discipline Parenting Tool Cards. They can be found on the Positive Discipline Website.”
Look for more practical Positive Parenting Advice at Krissy's Couch.