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Posted in Toddlers on 27th December 2010

How To Change Your Toddler’s Clothes Without A Tantrum

Toddlerhood has been identified as the first adolescence because it is a period marked with many battle of wills and open defiance as toddlers begin to discover self and a desire for autonomy. Among the many tasks that parents require their toddler’s cooperation is the act of changing clothes. Although there are times where there is a good reason for your toddler’s unwillingness to cooperate, there are even more times when the reason simply boils down to individual toddler idiosyncrasies.

Here are some techniques for gaining your toddler’s cooperation without the need to wrestle him (or her) to the ground and forcibly change his (or her) clothes against his (or her) will:

1. Distract

Although this usually works better with younger toddlers who are easily distracted, it can also work well with an older toddler if you choose your distraction well. Sometimes it might be a toy, or object, such as Daddy’s usually forbidden mobile phone, that can sufficiently distract a toddler so you can change his (or her) clothes without protest. With an older toddler, a suitable distraction might be engaging your toddler in a conversation about a favourite story or character.

2. Rewards

Older toddlers respond fairly well to rewards. Treats that are ordinarily forbidden or limited might be sufficient to gain cooperation, for instance, a piece of chocolate. Alternatively, you can reward your toddler with a sticker for his (or her) cooperation.

Rewards can come in all manner of ways and do not necessarily have to be limited to physical prizes. Sometimes the promise of a special activity, like a trip to the park, can be just the thing to encourage your toddler to change his (or her) clothes. For instance: “If you want to go to the park you need to change out of your pajamas into your play clothes.”

3. Favourite Clothes

Toddlers are also beginning to form their own preferences and this can be utilised to your advantage. Toddlers who have favourite clothes can often be encouraged to change simply by showing them what they will get to wear. For instance, a toddler who loves Mickey Mouse might be enticed sufficiently to change if he (or she) spies her favourite Mickey t-shirt.

4. Dirty Tricks

Some toddlers dislike wet or dirty clothes and are usually more willing to change their clothes when they discover their clothes are dirty or wet. If this describes your toddler, you can also play dirty by deliberately “messing” your toddler’s clothes “by accident”.

For instance, taking your toddler to the sink to wash his (or her) hands and deliberately splashing water onto his (or her) clothes “by accident”. Once the clothes are wet, it becomes a simple matter of changing them.

5. Choosing Own Clothes

Some toddlers just want to express their autonomy and being given the chance to choose what they will wear is sufficient to gain their cooperation.Remember that although toddlers enjoy making their own choices, many find it confusing and overwhelming when presented with too many choices. A simple way around this is to pick out two sets of clothes and ask your toddler which set of clothes he (or she) prefers to wear.

6. Ask for Help

Toddlers enjoy helping as it makes them feel more grown-up and useful. Sometimes simply asking them to help (and pretending to be unable to do the deed yourself) can be sufficient to gain their cooperation.

7. It Might be Cold

Sometimes, if it is early in the morning and the weather is a little cooler, some toddlers might protest against changing their clothes because it is cold. Be aware of your toddlers discomfort and make the necessary adjustments to help your toddler cooperate. If mornings are cold, it may simply be that you need to turn on the heater to warm up the room a little before changing your toddler’s clothes.

There are many ways to change your toddler’s clothes without having your toddler melt down into a tantrum. All it requires is a little creativity and a good understanding of your toddler’s motivations. By combining the two, you will find that changing your toddler’s clothes no longer requires a battle of wills.

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