Friday Favorites: Toddler Training Tidbits


(Photograph by Vivienne Booz)

As I emerge through the toddler years and enter the preschool years, I’ve been feelin’ awfully grateful for a couple bits of wisdom that experienced moms have taught me. I figure I’ll share ’em, since they’ve been so monumental. This Friday, the rules are that if you read these, you’ve gotta share your own tidbits, too!

1. This, too, shall pass.

I’m only 2 1/2 years into this parenting thing, but I’ve finally conceded that this might be a true statement.

As much as my holistic and idealistic self wants to deny it, there is some legitimacy to the phrase, “she’s going through a stage”. Of course, a child is a whole person during that stage and must be treated accordingly, but sometimes certain ages and circumstances are plain ol’ rough waters. So far, I’ve learned that the best things to do during the rough waters are to cling to the Holy Spirit, choose to be joyful, and love my little girl to bits!

2. Save tug-o-war for the July 4th picnic.

One embarrassing tug-o-war match against my 23-pound daughter quickly taught me that when I want Vivienne to put something down or to come with me, a simple and confident verbal request works far better than getting my grubby hands involved. Sure, it’s difficult not to instinctually grab the item while I’m saying, “put that down,” or grab her while I’m saying, “come,” but it’s more difficult for her not to instinctually pull in the opposite direction when someone is grabbing something precious – like her arm – from her. We both have found tremendous peace in expecting that she simply and maturely respond to my words.

3. “What did I say? Will you obey?”

I learned these two powerful questions from Ann at Holy Experience.

When Vivienne doesn’t respond to me immediately, I simply ask, “Hey, Viv, what did I say?” She tells me. Then I ask with a smile, “Will you obey?” And she says “yes” and does. She has never decided not to.

Perhaps these questions put a person in a more simple place where all she has to do is face love and say, “Yes!” Otherwise, we get all complicated and make disobedient and messy choices that we really didn’t want to make in the first place. These are the simple questions that I, too, am asked every day by my Father… “What did I say? Will you obey?”

P.S. I had to catch myself the first few times I tried this because I was asking, “Did you hear what I said?” Which is decidedly not the same as “What did I say?” Of course, there will be times when she really does not hear me, but I don’t want to spoon-feed her possible excuses! So, I stick with the gentle, “What did I say? Will you obey?”

And now it’s your turn to comment with your favorite toddler-training tidbit! I promise, I’ll probably steal it!






5 responses to “Friday Favorites: Toddler Training Tidbits”

  1. Sarah Hoover Avatar
    Sarah Hoover

    When Ella has a litte fit, or is whiny, I say “I know you’re feeling …. can you try and be positive?” If not, we put her on our step and say, “tell me when you’re ready to be positive.” It’s usually right away!

    “Are you choosing to disobey mommy?” I like using this b/c it’s her choice whether she disobeys or not, and when she does choose to disobey I can tell her how sad I am that she chose that and how God wants us to obey, and just like God I have to dicipline her just like God dicipline us when we disobey. I do like however how you use “will you obey?” It’s so positive!

    Don’t just take her away from what she’s doing when she’s playing, but instead give her time to prepare that playtime is almost over. Ex. “In five minutes we have to leave Chase’s birthday party, so you can play and say goodbye for five more minutes”

    Don’t make any threats unless you intend to absolutely follow through!

    Spend lot’s and lot’s of time laughing, especially when things go wrong! I’ve learned to pray, “Lord, I give you this day, whatever happens, I trust you completely.”

  2. Jan Avatar

    Laura – some of my friends have made REALLY strong comments about parents who use the word “obey” have you encountered this at all? Do you just say po*-po* to it?

  3. admin Avatar

    Sarah – thanks for the tidbits! Your choices seem to be wonderfully joyful! And I TOTALLY agree on the “don’t make any threats…” comment; ‘can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself in mid-sentence knowing that I wouldn’t follow through!

    Jan – Actually, I love the word “obey”. Since it’s kind of the word that God chose and since it is so enveloped by love (in fact, it’s not the same word withOUT love), it works. It also prepares our childrens’ hearts to obey God, which is our greatest desire. Do, however, let me know the arguments against it; I’m not sure I’ve come across them yet.

  4. Jan Avatar

    Oh, I’m with you! In fact, I even left obey in my marriage vows! There are no good arguments against it, just those who get all riled up about it being a word reserved for dogs.

    Funny (well, to me at least!) In Sunday School today, we were trying to list ways that you might identify someone as a Christian if they didn’t tell you they were one, and someone actually said “When I first met my new neighbor she told her son he needed to obey and when I heard that, I thought oooooh, she’s probably a Christian!” I guess context is everything, when we know the love it stems from we don’t feel rebellious against it 😉

  5. Sheryl Avatar

    Hey, I read this a few days ago and am now coming back to comment. 🙂 I have little boys who are very physical and for me when I need to give them instruction, placing my hand on them to make sure that I have their attention before I give the instruction is a big deal. Also, although it’s hard, keeping instructions short and simple is good. Otherwise I know I’ll loose their attention. I hope to read about your face to face with Jingle Bells soon!

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