The Happiest Toddler on the Block techniques can transform a whining toddler into a cooperative little person. But it can do so much more. Teaching children how to manage their behavior and learn about their feelings is essential. The cornerstone of HTOTB is the Fast Food Rule, but many of the other techniques are very helpful. I wanted to share one of my favorite strategies for teaching toddlers: telling Fairy Tales.
These are not your standard stories, they are stories about characters that are dealing with the same issues that have been stressing your toddler. Telling the story of the princess that didn’t like to share, or the teddy bear that did not want to sit in his car seat can be instruction in a “one-off” way. A child can feel less pressured than being told what to do, or even hearing that their sibling or friend handles things differently. Talking about the way the princess realized that she was happiest when sharing toys with her friends is less intense than telling your child to share her favorite dolls. Finding out that the teddy bear’s mother sympathized with his desire to be free (but had to follow the rules that all bears are clicked in) makes your rules sound more reasonable.
Children really want to know how to succeed in life and please their parents and caregivers. But toddlers with strong temperaments, or those feeling stressed cannot use direct conversation quite as well as we would like. When used with Gossiping (about their successes) and Patience Stretching, this can really transform your child’s behavior.
Some children really want to hear more and more, so you may be “writing” a chapter book about the puppy that didn’t like to get dressed for preschool. Time to get creative!