One of the best things my mother taught me about parenting – besides expect the unexpected – was to tell not ask. Conversations with my daughter usually begin with “Sweetie, do you want?” And her response is almost always a resounding no! I could ask her if she wants chocolate ice cream for breakfast and it would still be no. Instead, my mom suggested I try using simple statements like, “It’s time for lunch,” rather than, “What do you want for lunch today?” Or, “Bath time,” instead of “Do you want to take a bath now?”
I didn’t realize how much I actually ask of my daughter until I tried to stop. Maybe that’s why she has such an opinion about things these days...because I let her. Now I try to dictate the activities we are going to do and then let her have a choice as to how we do it. For instance, when it’s time for a nap, I simply say “Nap time,” and then let her choose what story she wants to read. This way she still feels like she has some of the power.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t work all the time. She’s 2 – it's her job to go against everything I say. At least that’s what I tell myself. Still, it’s a good rule of thumb. Does it work for you?