2.5 year old laughs at direction - FamilyEducation
2.5 year old laughs at direction
12/22/2007 at 18:53 PM

We have a 30 month old daughter that just laughs and ignores direction from Mom. Nothing I do helps. Any suggestions?

This is something from dog training that helped with a boy I was caring for. Just don't move on until the direction is obeyed. Don't get emotional about it. Of course, you have to have the resource of infinite available time to wait. I'd carry crackers and a waterbottle, and just make myself comfortable. We, neither one of us, would do anything else. Sometimes, he would end up asking what it was he had to do because he really had forgotten, but after a while, he became conscious that whatever it was would hang over his head until it got done.

That was really good advice from Gail Hanson. Of course there are times you don't have that much time but then there are other times when you simply need to make time. Honestly, what is more important than your child? We do the same thing with our little ones. For example, they are in the shopping cart and want to stand up or anything else unsafe. My buggy stops immediately and I tell them the buggy cannot and will not move until they are sitting and then we just stand there until he or she complies. I also make sure that I am just out of reach of whatever has their attention such as the toys. The other thing is to pick your battles as well as plan ahead. Do you anticipate a showdown when you ask the little one to pick up her toys and you are in a hurry to go somewhere? Then don't give her the opportunity to disobey you. Don't tell her to pick them up this time. You do it and choose a time later when you can teach this lesson as well as enforce it. Everytime I begin to pick up his or her toys at my house in this manner without asking for help - I simply have so much "fun" doing so that they want to join in and I have accomplished what was needed in the first place... the toys picked up. It takes time and effort but it does work. I have several children ranging in age from 2 to 21 so I have seen the results of this plan from beginning to end. The only thing different is I have a mental time frame in mind that I expect something to be done. I'll allow 15 - 30 minutes of waiting after which time I make them sit down to think about it. I tell them to let me know when they want to get up. And they will.


i used to struggle with noncompliance from my toddlers and didn't know what to do short of implementing something more severe than i wanted to as often as it was occurring.  one of my friends, who's career and education has been in child development, gave me hope with a method i have to admit i did not think would work.  in my parenting research i had learned to offer children limited choices to avoid battles, but in some situations i didn't think this method could apply because there simply should be no choice.  sure, when picking out an outfit for the day, it's really no big deal to ask whether they want to wear the green one or the blue one.  but when faced with a toddler who refuses to hold your hand in a parking lot, there's a safety issue that cannot be negotiated.  however, the key is to make it appear to the child  that she has a choice.  this is what i was instructed to do, and it has worked for me, both with my very agreeable son, and my very defiant daughter.  i say, 'you have a choice.  you can choose to hold my hand right now, or you can choose to ride in the cart.'  either way, the child can make a safe choice.  with situations where safety is not an issue it's easier.  for example, when my daughter refuses to put all the jammies back in her dresser that she just threw all over her bedroom (she loves to make a mess for no apparant reason), i would say something like 'you can choose to put the jammies back in the drawer, or you can choose to go to bed right now.'  i select this alternative because i absolutely know she won't want to go to bed.  if she chooses to go to bed, then i make her do it.  this is just an example that works for my daughter, but you could choose a number of others depending on what your daughter responds to.  just remember to always select a second choice you think your daughter would despise, and (this is key), be willing to follow through if she takes the more difficult choice.  also, be sure to praise your children for making good choices, and remind them when they do not that it was their choice that got them where they are (because it was!).  also, i used to tend to say 'you can do this, or you can do that' before being instructed to include the word 'choose' in the format 'you can choose to do this or you can choose to do that'.   it really does make a difference when you use the word choose. 

i wish you the best.