Mom Hack: Let Them Choose Everything

You know you have a toddler if you constantly hear the word “no” and are regularly challenged by their newfound sense of independence. It’s amazing, though, how easy things have been since I started giving Jelly Belly choices for nearly everything.

One of my favorite things to let her “choose” is if she’s leaving the house. Sometimes I really need to go but she just isn’t having it. This is when I ask her, “Do you want to come with me or stay here? The door is cloooooosing!” (Obviously I never actually leave her, but when she thinks that I might go without her, suddenly she really really want to come!).  Sometimes I try this method when we need to move to other parts of the house, too. When she’s in her enclosed play area or her gated bed (somewhere she can’t get hurt) I’ll let her pick between staying by herself or coming.  It’s never a battle.

This applies to food too.  I find she’s a much better eater when she has a say. I usually prep a couple of meals ahead of time, and when it’s time to eat, I simply ask her something like, “Do you want turkey tacos, fish tacos or fish sticks”? Voila, they’re much less likely to end up on the floor because she’s the one that asked for it.  Note: this might not be super doable for all families, but even if it’s just picking the vegetable that goes in his/her lunch snack or afterschool snack, it can work to eliminate so much fussy eating!

If you’re having trouble getting them motivated for something, whether it’s eating or bathing or getting dressed, just frame like a choice. I bet you they’ll do the thing you want and enjoy it more because they feel like it was their decision.