3 Things Not To Say To Your Toddler
Blog - April 13, 2015

IMG_3917You would think that I have figured this out by now.  But no, the drama class is everyday in my house.  No prerequisites. My husband and I often go back and forth until one of us caves- usually the next day.  It’s a lot of work.  But when I’m right, it’s well worth it.

So arguing with a toddler is a whole different ballgame.  There has to be a strategy otherwise you might go into a psychotic rage next time they ask you “why?”

1. NEVER, never tell them you have a surprise for them.

Don’t tell them until you physically have it in your possession and are ready to give it to them.  Otherwise, there could be an unplanned hostage situation or early bedtime which is not pretty.

If you make the mistake of telling them without being prepared you will be bombarded with twenty questions to the point that you might drive to the toy store and the surprise is now picking out the most expensive toy (when you had a bag of dollar store toys in the closet for potty training or rewards).

“What is it?”

“Can I have it now?”

“But I want it now.”

“Is it a toy?”

“Is it candy?”

“Can I see it?”

“Can you show me?”

You will regret ever saying anything.

2.  Don’t tell them to go to sleep AT BEDTIME.

They will do anything to stay up.  They will pull out the big guns.

“I forgot to say a prayer.”

“I need more kisses.”

“Can you hold me?”

“Can we read another book?”

Just put them in the bed, say nothing, kiss them and walk away.  Don’t engage.  As soon as they start talking it is a ploy to get you to cave.  If you slip and say, “Go to sleep,” you are opening the door for more conversation.

“I Can’t.”

“I Can’t sleep.”

“Is that thunder?”

“We forgot to say Amen.”

“I’m hungry”

“I want milk.”

And so it goes…don’t do it.  Walk away.

3.  If you poop in the potty, you can have that toy.

What you are really saying is that they can have the toy they asked for two weeks ago in either Target, Walmart, Babies R Us or the dollar store.  And…………….prepare yourself for a meltdown when you try to figure out where it was.

True Story:

I picked up Henri from school and he said, “Mommy! I didn’t have an accident! Can we go to “that store”  with “the toy?”

“Okay,” I said, sticking to my word.

We were going to skip his nap and drive straight there.  As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, BAM he was out sleeping.  So I drove all the way home.  As soon as we pulled into our parking space, BAM he was up wide awake.

“Where are we?”

“Where’s the store?” The tears start welling up in his eyes.

So we drive back to the store, as promised.  As soon as we pulled into the parking lot he said, “this isn’t the store!”

“Yes it is!!! This is the store with “that toy!”

“No, it’s not!”

and so the drama begins…

Know your facts.  Write things down – IN FRONT OF THEM.

There are so many other things that I will eventually add to this article on what not to say to your toddler.  It will save you time and energy of putting yourself in a sticky situation.  Sometimes, if I haven’t had my coffee yet, something might slip out of my mouth.  Just as I have said it I know that there will be consequences.  My husband says that sometimes it feels like we live in a mental hospital – when both children are melting down. Deja vu.



  1. My husband and I only have one child, I’m not sure if it is different for those who have more, but this completely just described him! My husband will even tell me “Meagan he is just saying that to avoid bed” and I even reply stating I know these things. Toddlers are such a challenge. I look forward to seeing what you add later down the road.

    I remember our church sermon last week that we completely related to just yesterday. My husband, Chad, told our son, Cullen, not to put a certain car on the floor in the living room. The car was very loud and we were watching something on TV, at the time. He told him this multiple times, warning him because my husband is a man of his word and really didn’t want to spank Cullen. Cullen looks Chad right in the face and sits the car on the coffee table. Daddy said not on the floor but never said not on the table. Chad and I looked at each other and just died laughing due to the church sermon from the prior week and how complex toddlers are. How they push and test their boundaries. How they test us out as the parents.

    Sorry for the long comment I just really related to this article and it reminded me of our toddler experiences yesterday. Thanks again for the great article!

  2. I am totally surprised that my grandson is doing so well with his potty training. He even came and got me when he had to go number two to help him. Grandma is so proud of him.

  3. Kids are very literal. They also believe everythig and anything you tell them. They have the retention of an elephant and a gnat at the same ime. I miss the little ones!

  4. I can relate to what not to say. If you tell my Granddaughter you have a surprize for her later she will debate with you until you finally cave in. Example: Gramma if I clean my playroom can I have my surprize.

  5. I wish I had read this when my children were toddlers. It was very difficult. I can apply this now to my youngest grandchildren.

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