Boating + Bribery

Hi friends! 

Another Monday already?! This weekend went by way too quickly as they always do. We had a mostly fun one – lots of adventures and outings, although we’ve been dealing with some toddler attitude lately that is a bit tough (more on that at the end of the post… related to the second part of the blog post title)!

First up on the list of highs, though, was boating!

On Saturday afternoon, our friend Shane invited us and our other friend Shane out for a boating adventure! Last year we brought Riese out with us once on his boat, but this year with Riese walking we decided it made more sense for everyone if we got some childcare and came solo. 

It was such a treat, you guys. Gorgeous weather and it was so fun to be out on the water! 

We took the boat all the way to Mt. Vernon (pretty far south) and then hung out in the water with beers. It was pretty much the best afternoon ever. 

We grabbed dinner in the marina area before heading home. They have a lobster roll stand – fun!

Another highlight from the weekend was dinner out on Friday with Matt and Riese. We headed to Del Ray Pizzeria and started with salad + wings (because… why not). 

del ray pizzeria

Plus pizza!

I was, unsurprisingly, pretty full from the salad and wings by this point (and from broccoli that we got for Riese – don’t worry, she got some pizza too), so I had one slice of pizza and we brought the leftovers home. 

del ray pizzeria

Riese is so much cooler than us already. (Shout out to my friends at Cabot Cheese – we still love the sunglasses… and your cheese!)

Another highlight: having friends over for brunch on Sunday! 

We bought a ton of fruit, veggies, and other fun stuff at the farmers’ market on Saturday morning and I used some of it to throw together frittatas for the brunch party.

Farmers’ market produce haul!

Those peaches are sooo good. 

Plus other fun farmers’ market finds:

For brunch, I followed my Smoked Salmon + Veggie Egg Casserole recipe as a guide, but mixed up the ingredients a bit – no salmon, and the veggies were zucchini, peppers, and onions (I pre-sauteed the onions and left the others raw).

I made two big pans of it so we’d have some leftovers and we could send our friends home with some, too! They have a baby so figured it would be helpful. :) 

Plus bacon and farmers’ market zucchini bread!

Another weekend highlight was a fun run date: I met my buddies Mary and Sokphal, who I hadn’t run with in way too long!

We met bright and early out in Reston which was quite the haul from Del Ray, but worth it to see these guys.

reston running

They did a long run and I met up for the last 4, which felt really good!

I was distracted by telling them a long winded story and the miles flew. 

Matt unfortunately had to work all of yesterday afternoon and evening, so my mom came over to keep me and Riese company post-nap. 

We decided to take Riese to Old Town Alexandria – such a cute area and I love the waterfront. She refused to go in the stroller (new phase that is not my fave) so we pushed an empty stroller around all afternoon, but it was still really fun… she loved all the action – ducks, boats, people, airplanes, oh my!

We decided to grab dinner at Virtue Feed and Grain, one of my faves, before walking back to the car, but Riese was a hot mess – at first she was fine with going in the high chair, but then we realized it didn’t have a strap, so she climbed right out… and by the time they came back with a different high chair she refused to get into it. 

I ended up having her in my lap for awhile, but I finally caved and bribed her with a YouTube video on my phone to get her to sit in her high chair. I felt like the world’s worst mom because a minute later a little girl at the table next to us was like “Daddy, how come SHE gets to watch TV and I don’t?!” I felt so much shame when they all looked over, you guys. #momfail

We are really starting to get into defiant toddler land over here and honestly we have no idea how to respond to it. I often resort to bribery (aka giving her a snack if she agrees to get in the stroller in the morning, because we have to walk the dog and I can’t handle walking the dog with Riese walking on her own – too dangerous because our dog gets crazy if another dog comes by and then I’d be scared Riese would run into the road or get knocked over while I was distracted). 

The only time I normally bribe with a video on my phone is during poopy diaper changes – it’s just a complete hot mess otherwise with her flipping out and trying to climb off the table and run away while covered in poop. You’re welcome for that image. Seriously though, why do they always act like you are torturing them when you change their diaper?! Ugh.

If you have any advice for figuring out how to handle toddler attitude without bribery, I’m all ears. Thanks in advance. ;)

At least the dinner last night was tasty – I had my usual fave, the salmon with creamy quinoa. It’s so good. 

virtue feed and grain dinner

I’m off to tackle the workday… have a good one, my friends! 


  1. 1

    I want to know too, bribery doesn’t even always work either with Penny but it’s all I got!!

  2. 3

    Don’t be afraid of the upset or tears! I found with my toddler that once she was able to express her frustration, she could move past it. Also, have you tried diaper changes standing up? Not exactly easy, but might result in less opposition! Haha.
    That post boating lobster roll looks amazing.

    • 4

      I’ve tried the standing up change, but it’s a hot mess because she’s trying to walk around, etc. So awkward, ha. I’m hoping that once Riese can communicate more fully that will help with the frustration, but we will see!

  3. 5

    I have no helpful tips on toddler bribing but just want to say you most certainly did not mom-fail. You are doing a great job and sometimes you just have to do whatever you can. Glad you had a fun weekend and I’m a huge Cabot fan too! Their Seriously Sharp cheddar is swoon-worthy!

  4. 7

    So many thoughts on bribing! First, remember this is a phase it shall pass (but beware, you don’t know what will be next). I try to let Brett make as many choices as possible so that it doesn’t feel like I’m constantly forcing him to do things (do you want mom or dad to change your diaper, do you want raisins or cheerios). Then when there is really no choice we move forward and just get through it. Sometimes I’ll convince Brett to go on a walk and look for the neighborhood dogs he knows, or the bunnies we see in different yards. I don’t think you need to have any shame for watching shows in a restaurant (or ever, or not at all, etc.). For restaurants I have a backpack for Brett with small toys he can do at the table (reusable stickers, magnets in a case, etc.) and snacks that won’t ruin his meal. Every once in a while I pick up something new to put in it to keep him interested. He also gets my phone when all else fails because it’s my meal out too! Good luck!

    • 8

      Also, for diaper changes we let him pick a toy to bring with and it helps mitigate the unpleasantness. This also works for bedtime, car trips, or whatever else he doesn’t want to do in that moment.

    • 10

      I completely agree with everything in this comment, and I also want to emphasize that you should not have shame and/or mom-guilt for any of the choices you make as a parent! No matter what you do, someone will potentially judge you. For example, if you didn’t let her watch the videos in the restaurant and she cried or threw a tantrum the whole time, people around you might be thinking, “wow, she should really learn to deal with her kid” or something like that. As a parent, we are always damned if we do, damned if we don’t. The best advice I can offer is to try for balance and know that there will be times when you just have to give in or do the things that you think are not examples of the best parenting. It’s easy to judge before you have kids, and even after you do, every kid is different! Remember that you are doing the best you can and that is what is important. I will leave you with a couple of funny/related posts about parenting:

      • 11

        Sooooo true. Thank you! Love those links – lol!!

        • 12

          That second link – hilarious! I truly think you are doing a phenomenal job, Anne. I am not a mother myself and have admittedly felt irritated when a child is upset in public. But as I’ve gotten older, I really am feeling more understanding as I do want to be a mom one day. It’s so hard, and you are doing the best you can with what you know! I have read some of the comments and think these moms really have amazing tips. Good luck and just know that it will get better!

    • 14

      Haha I know right it’s like – yes, this phase will pass… but will the next one be easier? ;) I need to get some new restaurant toys – I had like 10 things in my diaper bag but everything got “no” because she’d seen it before. Sigh.

    • 15

      I totally second this! With my little guy- I give him the option- does he want changed on the changing table or on the floor. Where does he want to sit to put on his shoes… I have no idea if that’s the right thing to do- but it limits his tantrums! I think us mamas are truly just winging it! 😉

  5. 17

    Buy some pads for the floor and change her diaper down there so if she does get away she won’t harm herself.
    Make it fun by signing a song or having her help. Have her hold the wipes and hand you some (have backup as well in case she just wants to play with them).
    This age is hard. 2 to 3 is the toughest year for us so far. What are her language skills like? Is she able to communicate with you about what she is upset about or what she doesn’t want to do.
    Try if/then or first/next. “If you ride in the stroller for the walk, then we can play ball kn the yard.” Or “first you ride in the stroller, next we go visit grandma.”

    My daughter is almost three and we still do a lot of bribing. It is tough, I know. One of the things that made me feel better was my therapist saying “oh so you work for free?” Basically we bribe ourselves to function in the world. I mean, I try not to rely on it but at least it made me feel like less of a failure.

    Also my best friend’s daughter is an angel at restaurants. My daughter is mixed, sometimes great sometimes horrible. I have a tough time not comparing them. Don’t beat yourself up. We all feel inadequate at times. You are her mom, you are the beat mom for her. And you are doing a great job.

    • 18

      Best mom for her* typo

    • 19

      I’ve tried the song while diaper changing and it helps sometimes but not always… as does having a toy or something, or having her “help”… tried it all lol. It’s so hit or miss! I’ll try more of the “if/then” and “first/next”… that’s a good idea. She definitely understands pretty much everything at this point as far as I can tell, but isn’t able to vocalize everything herself which I’m sure is leading to more frustration. She knows a lot of words but can’t string everything together into a sentence. I love what your therapist said – I will remember that! Thank you for sharing that with me, and for the pep talk. <3

  6. 20

    everyone bribes their kids with youtube! don’t feel guilty at all!

  7. 24

    There’s not a parent out there that doesn’t cave to the phone sometimes especially out to eat. And everyone bribes at some point too. I agree with giving her choices, I also use timers on my phone/watch a lot – when it comes from not me she listens more. Just be consistent! It will help when 3 comes along. But also wine.

  8. 26
    Gina McCune says

    Don’t feel guilty about the Movie! We only do movies in the car and in restaurants, so don’t rely on a lot. We have a 2 and 4 year old, and it is the only way for us to go out to dinner and be able to actually all eat dinner! Some people will look at you, but let them…. I know it is hard to not feel the Mom Guilt!

  9. 27

    Janet Lansbury has been very helpful for me re: understanding and responding to toddler behavior. I highly recommend her blog or her podcast. My second kid is just entering toddlerhood and is much more of a spitfire than his brother, so we’ll see how JL holds up this time around.

  10. 33

    Don’t feel bad! I had to start letting my daughter watch videos on my phone so she’d hold still to have her hair done every morning. She’s been asking for french braids lately and I think it’s because she knows it takes me forever so she gets more videos! The 2’s were easy for us but this year with a three year old has been rough. Threenager for sure! So much attitude, not listening, etc. For diaper changes-try the floor. And if needed you can pin her down with your legs. I know from experience! Sit to the side of her legs and then put one leg over her belly to pin her down. Works great!

  11. 35

    I’ve had some luck with distracting during tantrums. It won’t always work, nothing does. We’ll point out something for him to look at or play with and that gets his mind off what he doesn’t want to do.

  12. 37

    There’s a great app that is an interactive version of the fabulous book “The Monster at the End of This Book.” It saved me several times with my youngest, and I felt a little better about it because it was the phone reading him a book.

    Firmness now will help you later, so I endorse the commenter that spoke of giving her choices that lead her to doing what you need her to do – i.e. “when we change your diaper, do you want to hold the pat the bunny book or your rubber duck?” When they are very little the choices are narrow, and as they get older they gradually have more choices. Even for my middle schooler, we try not to give him a ton of choices.

  13. 41

    I think you’d like Janet Lansbury’s style, so check out her books. This age before they can communicate fully is really hard. I found that being firm and giving limited choices helps. I avoid all baby talk and talk to her like a regular person. I also think there’s just an age where eating in restaurants is awful and it does get better though the challenges are different.

    • 42

      Thanks – will check her out! I really hope it does get easier when she’s able to communicate more what’s going on. This morning she was literally just screaming and crying forever and Matt and I were both like… what the heck is wrong?! You feel so bad you can’t help them but it’s also really hard to not get frustrated yourself!

      • 43

        Janet Lansbury has a great podcast too called Unruffled. You are doing great, it is a hard age!

        • 44

          Thank you! Just downloaded it. Going to start with the “extreme favoritism toward one parent” episode because Riese is OBSESSED with Matt right now and while I love that she also thinks he’s awesome it kind of childishly crushes me. Not always, but often, if he’s around, she ONLY wants him. Won’t let me hold her hand, won’t let me pick her up, etc. Has to be him. Sigh. I get that Matt is super fun but it makes me sad.

  14. 46
    TrackBuddy says

    So the reason I go to work every day is because…I get paid! Technically “bribery” when you put it like that. But once I started thinking of kid “bribery” in the broader context (we all do all kinds of things for all kinds of different reasons, including compensation or exchange in certain circumstances), it started to feel like a reasonable tool to have in the kid toolkit as well.

    Of course I don’t use bribery for everything – many things my kids just have to do. But sometimes, bribery is no question a great option. For example, when my oldest daughter was 2.5, I asked her what she wanted to go in the potty. She said, “a blue scooter.” So, we got her a blue scooter and she became potty-trained with a minimum of fuss. And she learned how to ride a scooter – great way to become physically active. Win win!

  15. 49

    We use a lot of first and then statements with my toddler. So it’s like first we’re going to change your diaper then we can play with blocks. For a restaurant I’ll be honest we use our phones too. You’re not a bad mom! Whenever you catch yourself thinking that ask yourself is she in danger or hurt and if the answer is no then you’re doing a great job! I would say for restaurants if you know she doesn’t sit still for long try bringing toys or books. The water color Melissa and Doug books are great for entertainment and mess free.

    • 50

      I love that question to ask yourself – thank you! That’s helpful. She’s usually relatively good at restaurants with various toys and food, but this time nothing was working… can’t win em all, right?

  16. 51

    I wish I had great wisdom to share with you, but my daughter is 17 months old and we are in the thick on this same behavior.For some reason she hates getting in her car seat, so 8 out of 10 times I have to bribe her. She will be so squirmy (and she is strong), I feel like it is my own option to offer her a toy, you tube or food. Someone else mentioned offering choices. Our day care mentioned that as well, it makes them feel “in control.” When I am able I try to do offer choices. For an example, when my daughter refuses t o put a bib on. I pull two out and ask, “do you want the pink or green one” and she’ll usually chose one. But I feel like when they are already emotional it is hard to reason with them so choices don’t make a big difference at that time, I find.

    • 52

      OMG why do they hate bibs so much? I will try the choices thing at times where she’s a bit more calm… agree with you once the ship has gone south it’s pretty hard to course correct!

  17. 53

    Hi Momma,

    I’ve got three little boys (7, 3 and almost 2). I’ve been living in that toddler zone foreva … it’s frustrating but you just have to change your mindset. Think of it as rewards rather than bribery and have rewards in your bag that don’t make you feel bad. Apple sauce squeezes, fun toys that she only gets to play with at the table or in the stroller, crayons, stickers … I think the only part that seem to go wrong was you felt bad about the phone … if you don’t want her to watch it, just use something different. Just make sure you go in the right order – bribery is for things you haven’t done yet and no 2 year old can keep a promise ;)… “If you sit in the stroller, you can have your paci…” I don’t let my kids watch TV at the table because it drives me insane (personally) but in the car on 8 hour car ride – you do you kid. Watch 8 hours of Elmos, just don’t ask me for any more crackers ;)

    • 54

      Hahaha thank you Heather – I think you’re right I need to work on reframing things a bit and to cut myself some slack and not take everything so seriously/hard, too! My mental reserves are feeling zapped right now after dealing with our chaotic and long winded moving process… I’ve noticed I’ve been feeling more prone to overwhelm, too, which is usually a sign that I need to work to mentally reset a bit. Thank you for the pep talk!

  18. 55

    First, try not to feel guilty-we are all doing the best we can!
    We have a 2.5 year old and it does get better when they can express themselves. We don’t do any screen time at all, which I know puts us at the extreme end. We view it as we would rather teach our kid how to deal with boredom/do things he doesn’t like/manage emotions than put him in front of a screen so he’ll be quiet. But again, everyone is doing the best they can and making their own choices! And toddlerhood is a really hard stage and sometimes you just have to get through it!!
    We do a lot of giving options and a lot of validating feelings…something like “I see that you are upset and don’t want to sit in the high chair. Right now I need to eat dinner and the high chair is the safe place for you to sit. When I am done eating you can sit with me again if you would like” And then tons of positive reinforcement for good behavior. And yes, a bag of fun toys for meals out! Good luck!

  19. 57

    These little people sure can have STRONG opinions about things. We are just entering the tantrum phase as our little guy is 17 months. It’s tough to see them so upset and to not understand why. So far he has gotten really upset for no particular reason. Diaper changing is also difficult in our house. I joke that I don’t need to go to the gym because I get a workout wrestling/holding down my toddler while changing diapers/getting him dressed. He’s had some bad ear infections this summer so we’ve resorted to letting him watch videos of himself while we give him ear drops. I kind of hate that he knows what my phone is now and really wants it when he sees it, but I tell him it’s only for special situations like getting ear drops. Try not to feel guilty about letting her watch a show at dinner. We all tend to choose special situations to employ technology to make life more pleasant for everyone! It’s part of being a modern parent.

    On a positive/fun note, Riese’s little pigtail in the sunglasses photo is ADORABLE! I hope our son eventually comes around to wearing sunglasses. So far he refuses to wear them but hates having the sun in his eyes. He usually wears a hat but that doesn’t always block the sun from his eyes. I try to explain/show him sunglasses will block the sun but he just hates them so much!

    • 58

      Thank you Lisa, I appreciate the pep talk! Riese is randomly obsessed with sunglasses… she loves stealing ours. Although often it ends with them getting thrown onto the ground – ha!

  20. 59

    Our son is 2.5 and I agree with all of the people above who say give them choices. We give 2 choices for all “negotiations”. When we sit down for dinner we ask do you want to put on your bib or mommy/daddy put it on? I have found that giving him the option to help do the tasks helps a lot. When we go on nightly walks with the dog I tell him to go pick 2 toys for him to bring as a treat. Toddler hood is not joke. However you are feeling at any given point when you are overwhelmed, you are not alone. We all feel that way at different points. There is no perfect parent and sometimes we just have to go into survival mode to keep our sanity. When all else fails, I just tell myself this too shall pass and it always does. Sometimes it is 2 minutes later and others it not until he goes to bed at night.

  21. 61

    Try to frame it differently. Instead of “if you do this then you can do that” say “you’ll have a snack in the stroller while we walk the dog.” I find that if I don’t think of it as a battle, it is less likely to become one.

    But also toddlers are crazy people, so you’ve got to do whatever you need to survive :)

    • 62

      Okay so I love this – tried it this morning and it totally worked! Same outcome (her eating her snack while we walk the dog and she’s in the stroller), but the approach felt much better since it was “now you’ll enjoy your snack while we walk the dog” vs. me being like “okay if you’ll get in the stroller do you want this food?!” Thanks for the tip! A little reframe definitely goes a long way.

  22. 64

    Anne I am saying this as a person who was on the swim team in high school and college (long distance specialty) and someone who spent 20 years lifegusrding on Michigan beaches and now in Florida (when I’m not busy with a 50 plus hour corporate auditing job). please for at least Riese’s sake wear a life jacket on a boat. I know it doesn’t give a great tan but I can’t tell you things colleagues have witnessed and not been able to rescue in time. Not all but many were experienced swimmers according to families. I’ll skip the boating and beer lecture 😜. Please either you and/or Matt wear one on a boat until Riese is 18. Ok Im too young to give a lecture so I’ll stop now 😀

  23. 66

    I am so glad to hear we are not the only parents with a daughter who acts like this :-)! The high chair incident, the diaper changes….it describes Ayla to a “t”. She is almost 22 months. I love reading all the comments and suggestions from your readers! Will be trying some of them out!

  24. 68

    I just ordered these new pampers that are basically like pull ups/a swim diaper to put on. To change you just tear them open. Anyway I’m hoping it make diaper changes easier, my little guy wiggles so much that I never get the diaper on right and the tabs end up giving him rashes or his diaper is hanging off him after an hour or so! You could always try that, although it doesn’t solve the’re doing a great job!! We all go through the same stuff!

  25. 69

    Bribery is when you give them something before doing the behavior you want them to demonstrate so try to think of ways to positively reinforce the behavior you want to see. (Sorry special education administrators pet peeve!) Toddlers need visuals since they don’t have solid language comprehension. Try using simple language, first strolled then snack. We typically reserve the phone for good behavior at dinner (when out) so he has to stay in his chair, eat his dinner then gets a show. We always order his food first with app or drinks so by the time our food gets delivered he’s almost done and gets a show… we get to eat without toddler tantrum and he’s reinforced for eating and staying in his chair.

  26. 70

    Have you tried any baby sign language? I remember it being helpful at this stage when they understand things but can’t verbalize well. Might help cut down on some of the frustrations. Toddlers are tough – good luck!

    • 71

      We do some of the standard baby sign language – “water”, “more”, etc., but not much else… I’ll look into some others!

  27. 72

    Great timing to read this as our 16 month old threw a tantrum about bath and bedtime tonight, and it took both of us to hold him down to change a really gross diaper earlier. Solidarity, mama! And thanks for posting because there are some great tips here. 😄

  28. 74

    Just was reading Happiest Toddler on the Block and their techniques are totally helping with my 22 month old! My daughter is also on a stroller strike, but she requests the ergo instead. Not my first choice in the summer but it works. A lot of times eating out at sit-down restaurant we resort to YouTube at the end of the meal, don’t feel bad. It means you can relax and finish your meal and be a happier parent the rest of the day.

  29. 76

    I tried posting a comment before; sorry if it goes through twice! I just wrote about bribes on my blog :) There is a small distinction but I really try to use rewards instead of bribes. That way, you are rewarding the desired behavior instead of rewarding the undesired behavior. The trickiest part about bribes is kids are learning, if I scream, cry, run away, etc. I will get what I want. They are so smart and will definitely continue if they are getting what they want as a result! Childwise, one of my favorite parenting books says “children should be rewarded for their obedience, not obedient for a reward.” Happy to discuss more! Would love to catch up with you!

  30. 78

    You’ll go through many options to find what works. Then it will change. Don’t worry about what others think. You raise your child the best of your knowledge. Not one kiddo came with instructions. My children are 16 & 12. Some days are amazing. Some aren’t. It will be fine. Just keep in mind no one really knows what they are doing. As long as the kids are healthy, happy and safe, it’s a win. We just do the best we can when situations arise. Learn from it and keep going!

  31. 80
    Melanie Baird says

    Feel no “Mom Shame”…..I raised 3 daughters and now have a 3 year old granddaughter and every day will be different….every situation will be different and your responses will be different…just make the best one you can in the moment and it will all work out just fine. If you think this is hard wait until school and refusing to do homework and later not wanting to go to school at all….trust me bribery will be something you will experience many times because it is only what works when all your best thought out strategies fail. My girls grew up to be strong, independent and successful woman and they were bribed with treats, toys, movies, activities etc….. they were rewarded with stickers and stars and presents ….there were consequences and time-outs and privileges removed, trust me I tried it all when things got tough and they were none the worse, there is no shame as long as you keep trying …it is those who give up and do nothing that I think have the most difficulty. Hmmm…for restaurants I always carried a toy bag and my children helped pick items to go in it when they got older. Not wanting to get into the stroller…I used a “hand leash” with my toddlers as safety was always first. Poopy diapers…I found often changing them on the floor or bed was more successful and oh forgive me turning on the TV to distract them. Best of luck and you got this!!

  32. 81

    We do the same thing for diaper changes! Sometimes a book or a toy works but when there is poop involved, I don’t like to take my chances. Honestly, we’ve just gone with it and he usually just gives the phone back and goes off to play after. My son just turned 2 so we will probably try to phase the phone out when we potty train him. I also let him watch a video when I trim his nails. It’s the only way I can get him to be still. And same thing for eating out. Sometimes he’s great and other times he watches a show and we can eat in peace and he’s calm and everyone is happy. I try not to feel bad about it because he’s a smart little guy and he’s going to grow up in a society where this sort of technology is everywhere and ever evolving. So it’s impossible to totally keep them off of it. Just good moderation and a healthy relationship with it.

  33. 83

    First of all, I feel you on the diaper changes. My son HATES having his diaper changed and I have had to wash many a poopy changing pad covers because he flips over before I’ve cleaned him off. Lovely. I have no tips whatsoever, we just grin and bear it lol. Second, do NOT beat yourself up and feel like a bad mom over a little youtube! I mean, when I was little I’d sometimes sit at the table and color or something when we went out to eat. Is this really that different?? Toddler battles are HARD and we do what we gotta do to get through the tough moments! :)

  34. 85

    Will is so much more “willful” than I remember Holden being. Matt is so much more patient with his tantrums and bad behavior!! For us, if he throws a fit about getting into the high chair etc., we typically remove him from the restaurant and make him calm down. He has to be calm and ready to come back in and sit in his chair. We try to bring snacks or a book so he’s occupied and generally if we do take him outside, he calms down after a few minutes. We do a lot of time outs now at home too. Basically, that just consists of taking him upstairs and putting him in his crib if he’s not listening or doing something he’s not supposed to. We go back in after a few minutes and ask if he’s ready to be a good listener. If he does it again, he goes right back in his crib until he behaves. I’ve also found that my kids are really sensitive to being over-tired and hungry, so I try really hard to avoid that, if possible! Good luck!!

    • 86

      Riese is definitely very sensitive to being over-hungry in particular… definitely something to stay on top of! I’m the same way so I can’t blame her ;)

  35. 87

    I echo what everyone else said… you should not feel any shame for giving Riese a phone to play with! Her age was the hardest with my daughter, who is now 3 1/2 and similarly willful. We still give her our phones at restaurants to watch “vidivos” and while I feel a little shame, it’s the trade-off we make for being able to sit through a meal out (one time she was running around a restaurant and a server bowled her over… he felt horrible and so did we!). We try toys but she usually blows through them in two minutes. One book that has really helped me is “How Toddlers Thrive” – I listened to the audio book and found it calming and helpful. I also recommend listening to the Mom Brain podcast for a dose of humor. You’re doing a great job and I love following your journey!!

  36. 89

    No Mom tips for you but don’t give in to your mom shame! You’re doing great! She’s a freaking toddler! I just wanted to say she looks extremely cool with her little pigtails and sunglasses, lol!

  37. 91
    Roadrunner says

    It is amazing to see how much you guys manage to pack into a weekend! Very impressive!

  38. 92

    You should be thrilled. She’s becoming her own person with thoughts and feelings she can now begin to express. She doesn’t have all the same language abilities that you do, so she’s using her own tools the best she can.
    She’s going to start understanding her choices have consequences. It’s good for her to figure this out on her own. Instead of bribing, let her be involved in every choice and give multiple choice answers. Where should we go to dinner? Where do you want to sit? Be sure to narrate this to her when you are laying out the options. Praise her when she makes a decision. Kids are looking for their parents approval. This has worked for me and my 5 and 8 y o girls.

    • 93

      I am thrilled! But it’s just hard sometimes. I’ll try your tips – thank you!

      • 94

        You don’t have to be thrilled. This is tough stuff. There are so many emotions that come with raising a toddler. Some strategies work for some kids that don’t work for others. I think it’s great that you’re looking to continuously support and meet your daughter where she is at developmentally.

  39. 96

    I just came to say I am there with you, and thank you for posting about this because the comments are full of good tips. I love Janet Lansbury (there’s a good diaper changing episode) and I also bookmarked this link for myself because I found it helpful:

  40. 99

    Have you thought about enrolling her in a part time pre-school program? I find that children in these settings will mimic other children in the sense that they all learn to follow instructions as a group and follow an established daily routine, etc. which can benefit their behavior at home too. They also learn a lot from caregivers who are not their parents reinforcing principles that the parents establish (lay still for diaper change, wear a bib for meals, wait your turn, share, etc). It’s amazing to see how they will all line up to go outside, sit still for story time, go to sleep on their cots, eat lunch at a table together, all before 2 years old! Of course, it won’t stop all tantrums and some of this is personality specific but it may be something to consider as she is getting a bit older.

    • 100

      I have thought about this, but haven’t been able to find any part-time options near us for her age – it all seems to be full time, and I don’t want to do that! I’ll keep looking though because I agree I think this could be good for her. And it would be nice for me to be able to work from home some if she was out of the house… right now I kind of have to disappear all day because if she sees me she doesn’t want to go back to the sitter.

  41. 101

    My husband and I are finding “How Toddlers Thrive” by Tovah Klein very helpful. We are experiencing similar tantrums with our 27 month old. We are both elementary teachers, but have no clue how to handle a 2 year old!! Thanks for sharing your struggles and solutions that have helped you!!

  42. 103

    The book “How to Speak so Little Kids Will Listen” has been the most amazing tool for me, and made circumstances where I need my kids to cooperate so much more positive. Choices, humour and calm are so powerful (but obviously it doesn’t always work and we all deserve grace in those tough moments). Best of luck, you are an amazing mom!!

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