Who's the Boss -- You or Your Toddler?

Getting Through the Day

Toddler Challenge: Sitting at Mealtime

Why she resists: Your child may resent her high chair, especially if she sees an older sibling using a regular seat. Other possibilities: She may not be hungry, she may not like the food, or she simply would rather be doing something else.

Get her to agree: If your toddler constantly balks at the high chair, consider getting a kid-size plastic table. This will give her the freedom to get up when she's done. If she won't eat what you've made, offer a small serving of something she likes, then give her what everyone else is having. If she rejects it, let her leave the table. If she consistently refuses to eat at mealtime, cut down on snacks so she'll definitely be hungry.

Toddler Challenge: Bathtime

Why he resists: Your child may not like taking off his clothes (pulling a shirt over his head can be unpleasant). He may also be scared that you'll get soap in his eyes when you wash his face or hair.

Get him to agree: Ease the transition: Let him feel the water first. Then have him stand in the bath while you clean him with a washcloth. Finally, put some toys in the tub, and have him sit down. Many children find a bubble bath more exciting than a regular one. If you don't mind getting wet, you might even get into the tub with him. No toddler can resist the chance to splash Mommy.

Toddler Challenge: Getting Dressed

Why she resists: Your child doesn't understand that pants are more appropriate for outings than pajamas. She'd also much rather keep playing than put on new clothes.

Get her to agree: Let her know there are consequences to her refusal. "If your child won't get dressed, she can't go to the park," says Dr. Brown. You might also let her choose between two outfits. This will make her feel like she has some control over the situation.

Toddler Challenge: Spending Time with Daddy

Why he resists: Toddlers often go through phases when they favor one parent over the other. Your child may be extra-clingy toward you if your spouse works long hours or travels a lot on business.

Get him to agree: Don't force a crying child to read books alone with your spouse. Instead, do storytime and playtime as a threesome for a week. Before you know it, your child will feel comfortable flying solo with Dad.

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