I am sure I’m not the only mother who struggles with a toddler or preschooler who says “no” to everything.
“Let’s put your shoes on.” “No!”
“Do you want oatmeal for breakfast or eggs?” “No!”
(Me placing his stool next to the counter.) “NOOOO!!!!”
I’m often completely confounded by his “no”s, and even more often at a loss to get him to do the things he needs to do. It’s one thing when he says “no” to playing with a particular toy, but completely different when it’s getting into bed or putting clothes on.
Then one day, he was playing with Percy (if you don’t know who Percy is, your child is not into trains), and I decided to have Percy “talk” to him. At first, it was just pretend play. But then I realized that Percy could get my little man to do just about anything. Including walking to his bedroom, climbing into bed and picking out a book. Percy, in a stroke of genius, even read his books to him and then (get this), got too tired and had to go to sleep. There was no “read it again, mom” because Percy was the one who was reading and he had decided to go to sleep.
Now, it’s not fool proof, but using a “puppet” to do your talking for you, can be magical. First, your child will perceive that you are playing with them. In fact, I recommend that you do start out by playing with them, not just pick up a toy and start barking orders. Unless he’s not in a good mood, he will likely be smiling and conversing back with his new friend. Second, you will find yourself being livelier and more creative when you are speaking to your child through another character. This character is not your child’s mother, but his friend. So he says and suggests things that a friend might, albeit a friend who is trying to get your child to do what you want. I find myself being funnier, more energetic, and not nearly as pushy when I’m speaking to my son through one of his toys.
So, next time you’re coming up to a task that is normally a struggle, try it out. Pick up a stuffed animal or toy car and start a conversation. You might be surprised at yourself and your suddenly coorperative child.