You Need To Try The "When-Then" Trick With Your Toddler

Toddlers argue. It's just a given.

Those little minds have strong opinions and a whole lot of will power. And while we all want our children to grow up self-assured and not willing to give up easily, these attributes don't really come in handy when we are trying to get them to wash their hands before dinner.

The "when-then" technique is a great way to find a compromise with your little one and make sure everyone is happy with the outcome. It works like this:

Say your toddler has left a massive mess of toys in your living room and is now demanding a snack. You ask him to pick up toys and he refuses. Instead of arguing with him, losing your temper or getting into a battle of wills here, you calmly tell him that when he picks up his toys, then he can have a snack. Simple.

Angela Elias wrote in PopSugar that she tried the hack after she was "drained by constant power struggles with [her] 3-year-old."

You Need To Try The
The "when-then" technique is a great way to find a compromise with your little one and make sure everyone is happy with the outcome.

Angela said she discovered the technique in "Amy McCready's Positive Parenting Solutions course and began using the When-Then tactic to get him to do something without a battle."

Although she revealed that the first time she tried the hack it did not go down well with her toddler, she was happy to confirm that since then it has worked an absolute treat.

Using the word "when" instead of "if" in these situations (i.e, when you pick up your toys versus if you pick up your toys), means your toddler is in control of getting what he/she wants and once they discover this, they may find it a bit more difficult to argue back with you.

According to PopSugar, this technique also works as a much better alternative to bribery as you are not necessarily rewarding your child if they choose to do something, you're simply "controlling the environment". Amy McCready says:

"Unlike giving your child a reward for doing what they are supposed to do, with When-Then, we're simply controlling the order in which normally allowed privileges can be enjoyed. We're controlling the environment."

What do you think - will you be giving this one a go?

Sophie Gavin

Sophie is the Junior Content Executive at Family Friendly HQ.

Read more by Sophie
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us