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3 Tips for Negotiating With Toddlers Inspired by Mindy Kaling

In an interview on The Ellen Show, Mindy Kaling recently said, "I didn't know how much bribery there was in being a parent." Here are three tips inspired by Mindy Kaling for negotiating with toddlers.
mindy kaling on parenting
By: Brittany McCabe

We all know toddlers are a strange species. They are temperamental, erratic, and emotionally unstable. At this age they become far more cognitively aware of their needs and how they manage in relation to their environment and their caretakers; however, they lack the verbal skills needed to convey their big feelings and thoughts leading us to the treacherous territories of toddlerhood.

More: 10 Gifs That Perfectly Sum Up Life With a Toddler

Mindy Kaling is one of my favorite female comedians. She is smart, witty, and cool. From The Office to The Mindy Project and her super funny autobiographies, she is the best! Now that Mindy is a mom, it is fun to hear her take on the various stages of childhood. When she was interviewed on The Ellen Show the other day, she was talking about her 18-month-old daughter and explained how tricky toddlers can be, likening them to powerful mobsters. Mindy said her daughter was like “Tony Soprano” and is quoted saying “I didn’t know how much bribery when into parenting.” 

If you are a parent, then you can totally sympathize. Us parents have been there, and we get it! In fact, I am no stranger to bribery, or as I like to call it “negotiating” with my child. As a mom of a two-year-old and a four-year-old it’s all about finding what works with your kids and having fail(ish)-proof tools to use when things get tough.


A lazy Sunday with my little 💛

A post shared by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on

Here are three tips for negotiating with your toddler:

1. Find out what motivates them.

What motivates them? Is it giving them their favorite teddy a hug, or is it their beloved treat after dinner? It may take some trial and error but finding out what your child’s motivating factor is key. 

2. Stay calm, level headed, and clear.

Try not to let your emotions and frustrations get in the way. Stay calm and use clear and simple words to get your message across. Toddlers have very short attention spans and cannot read between the lines. Use few words and tell them what TO do, instead of what NOT to do.

3. Give them some power.

Allow them simple choices, do you want to walk to the car, or would you like me to pick you up? Giving them some power in the scenario allows them to feel independent and autonomous, which is just what their self-confidence needs.

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