Toddlers are a difficult crowd. There is no doubt about that.
And the more they speak and understand, the more difficult it gets to convince them to do certain things. When they’re one, you just grab them and off you go. Even if they fuss a little (you’re thinking to yourself), they’ll soon get over it. When they’re three… It’s a whole different story.
Here’s what happened to us this morning as Mia noticed Anton packing some snacks.
“Daddy, are we going somewhere?”
“Yes, we are going on a hike.”
“Because we want to see some nature.”
“But why do we need to see nature?”
“Because there is a beautiful forest and a beautiful lake there.”
“But I want to stay home!”
Fast forward an hour later while in the car..
“Why are we going to see nature?”
“Because it’s beautiful there. You’re gonna like it.”
“But I don’t want to see nature, I want to go home.”
“Sweetie , you’re really gonna like it there. There’s gonna be a forest and we’re gonna look for some animals and birds.”
“But I don’t want to go there!”
“Mommy, I am very concerned that we are driving further away from home.” (yes, she does talk like that)
“Don’t worry baby, we’re going to see the forest and the lake and then we’re going to go home.”
“But I want to go home now, I don’t want to go to the forest. Why aren’t we going home?”
That’s when whining slowly but surely transitions into crying / screaming / toddler-tantrum-in-its-glory.
And that’s where my BS talker / fairytale-maker / clown / comedian mode kicks in.
“There was a secret that I was going to tell you when we got to the forest. But I think I’m ready to share it with you now.”
“Is it ok if I share it with you now?”
“Remember that place where little Bambi was born deep in the forest?”
“So we’re going to go look for that place. Is that ok with you?”
“And we’re also going to look for that place where Bambi and his mommy were hiding from a thunderstorm. Will you help me find it?”
“And do you remember that funny owl that was hooting when little Bambi was born?”
“We’re going to find its hollow inside a tree. Will you help me with that?”
Then Anton’s BS talker / fairytale-maker / clown / comedian mode kicks in.
“Baby, remember that cute skunk that Bambi found?”
“Where did he find her?”
“Among the flowers”
“That’s right. Will you help me find the field of flowers where the skunk was hiding?”
Then we continue together..
“And remember the family of opossums that were hanging from a branch?”
“Will you help us find that branch?”
We used to tell Mia that we were going to look for Tinker Bell in different houses when we needed to take her house shopping. Or tell her that princesses Elsa and Anna, as well as Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven were living in one of the buildings when we took my parents wine-tasting in Napa valley.
You get the idea! Just think of a fairy tale or a cartoon that your kid likes and tie it to a place where you’re trying to convince your toddler to go.
Hope you’ll find these little tips helpful on your next family trip!
Let me know in the comments below what other ways of convincing little (or big) humans to go somewhere / do something you turn to.