Convincing a toddler

Here's what I've learned so far about getting a toddler to do something he's said that he doesn't want to do: give him a job.

Tonight's scenario: it's bathtime, and Kent doesn't want to go down the hall to see Jack and get in the tub.

Me: "Kent, it's time to go take a bath!"

Kent: "No no."

Me: "Go on, go see Daddy!"

Kent: (silence, pained expression)

Me: (pulling off Kent's shirt so that he's naked) "Kent, could you take this shirt to Daddy?"

Kent: "Mm-hmm!" (grabs shirt and scampers off excitedly down the hall)

Repeat as needed for various situations.

When I need him to follow me down the hall but he's reluctant, I ask him to bring me one of his toys or a book that we can read together. If it's time to go sit on the potty but he doesn't want to stop what he's doing, I ask him if he can take Mike to the potty (you see Mike's usefulness now, don't you?). If I need him to go do something else for a second so that I can clear my head, finish an email, clean up something in the kitchen, etc., I look for a thing that he can either throw away or carry to his laundry hamper, because he's known how to do those things for a while and understands that he's helping. Usually, when I send him to the laundry hamper, it's with something that needs to be washed, like a pair of socks, a placemat, a dishtowel, etc., but I'm not above handing him a clean washcloth if I'm desperate. Maybe it needed to be washed a second time... right? Anyway, you get the idea.

This whole parenting thing requires a great deal of creativity. Sometimes I just don't have it, but when I'm on a roll, I'm on top of the world and feel completely awesome.

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I know! And just when you think you've a fool-proof strategy... I'm having to figure it out all over again. What will motivate E?

(btw, one of my favorite books a year ago is called _Playful Parenting_. I think you'd love it. I think I probably need to read it again. ha)
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