Invite a Friendly Puppet Over
A puppet has an allure that can capture a small child's attention fast -- even if the one you're using is just a sock with a drawn-on smile and googly eyes. Using a goofy voice, have the puppet ask your kid to do various things: clap her hands, stamp her feet, and spin around in circles -- or pick her toys up off the floor.
How It Helps Your child might not be willing to put her stuffed animals away when you ask her to do it, but when the lion puppet makes the request, she'll think it's all in good fun. Why exactly? Your child doesn't see it as listening to Mommy anymore, so going with the flow feels like less of a threat to her budding independence, explains Kimberley Clayton Blaine, author of The Go-To Mom's Parents' Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children. "When you introduce a puppet to your toddler, she'll think she's making a friend -- and she'll be more likely to listen to instructions that her new pal gives." Sure, you might feel a bit silly talking through a puppet, but bottom line: You're avoiding a power struggle, and your child is (willingly) learning to follow directions.