The power of choice

Kayleigh has firmly entrenched herself in the “must test every request/instruction/order” phase. That means everything from diaper changes to hand washing has become just that much more of a challenge. Some days it seems as though it’s just not worth the effort. Just let her wade around in a 2 day old diaper with yesterday’s oatmeal still caked to her face. Sadly this whole “responsible parenting” thing gets in the way and we’re forced to deal with the issue.

The Woman made a suggestion the other day. Give her a choice. If she doesn’t want to wash her hands, give her the option of choosing where to wash them. If she doesn’t want to put on clothes, give her a chance to pick out an outfit. Seems a little too simple; The Moppet would have to see through it, right?

But kids actually fall for this stuff. Tonight she kept insisting that we should watch TV before bedtime when I really wanted us to read. “You can pick out a book,” I said. Finally she caved and went for The Tooth Book – not my personal choice, but it did the trick. Next she wouldn’t let me get her dressed for bed. “I”ll sleep in my shirt,” she said. But showing her 2 different pajamas suddenly changed everything. Thirty seconds later she was all zipped up.

I realize we’re not the first parents to figure this out, but just like every little toddler transition feels like a miracle, so does every little “parenting trick” discovery. Next up: bribing your kid with sweets.