Post # 1
My son is 21 months and is a great kid, kind, loving, and shows empathy.
However, he is approaching 2 years old and I’m having a hard time getting him to listen and not pull at the tablecloth, open the fridge freezer, not pull at drapes, not touch things while in the shopping cart, etc.
I spike my voice “No!!” but he gently pushes me out of the way and when we take him away from what he is doing, he cries and wants up. I’ve tried “No thank you!” “We don’t …” and I am persistent but it doesn’t seem to make a difference.
I would like to nip this in the bud early so I don’t have a harder time with discipline in the future.
What can I try?
Post # 2
weightwatchers152 : Just continue to be consistent. Hes still very young, but he will learn over time. I found that redirection was a better strategy at that age. When he starts to do something he shouldnt try to engage him with something else.
Some of this is just normal developmental exploration so dont expect him to be a perfectly compliant and well behaved kid just yet. Hes still very young.
Post # 3
weightwatchers152 : I’m right there with you. Honestly I hog the aisle at the store so he can’t reach anyway and let him hold things that he can’t damage. If I have to get out of someone’s way, I prepare to block his hand and don’t bother commenting on it. I’m delighted that he hasn’t figured out the fridge yet but there are probably simple locks you can get for it.
With the rest, it’s super hard to get out of the habit but instead of “no…” one “we don’t…” try using positives instead. We are working on food throwing, so I tell him “it goes in your mouth or on your plate”. If he throws twice, he loses his food entirely for a minute or so (but doesn’t escape the table). Then we offer it again and he has the chance to say he’s done. Also you can be weird like my husband and just tie the curtains out of reach until he grows out if it.
Post # 4
Check out Janet Lansbury and RIE parenting, lots of good stuff for helping you navigate the toddler years!
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2025 - City, State
Yes, yes, yes to redirection. Tell him what he CAN do, not what he CAN’T. Ooh look, come play with this! Or start singing to distract him. Hand him a child-friendly object to replace the unsafe/breakable one he’s holding.
It’s not really misbehavior at this point and doesn’t need to be responded to with discipline/negative consequences. Hitting and biting could be a different matter, but what you’re describing is basically just curiosity and exploring his world. That’s completely okay and developmentally appropriate. He just needs your guidance to do it in a safe way that doesn’t wreak havoc in the grocery store.
Post # 6
Congratulations! Totally normal behavior for an almost 2 year old.
Post # 7
weightwatchers152 : I have better luck telling kids what to do, rather than what not to do. For example, “keep your hands on the bar of the shopping cart” rather that “don’t grab stuff outside the cart.” My 2 year old still thinks telling her not to do something means she should do it.
Post # 8
He’s a little young for this, but between age 2-6ish my mum would always let me choose an item in a store immediately on entry that I could play with. When leaving she explained that the toy lived at the store, and it we took it home the toy wo miss it’s friends and get sad. So before leaving we had to put it back on the shelf with his friends. Worked like a charm and kept my hands busy during shopping.
Post # 9
weightwatchers152 : Totally normal exdploration!
Honestly at this age, prevention is best. Try to keep anything you don’t want him to touch out of arms reach. Make sure there are things he can touch and explore within arms reach.
Post # 10
I’ve found redirection goes a lot farther than ‘no’. Also- age three is even more trying, so practice your patience and redirection now 😄. Good luck!
Post # 11
Rather than telling him what we don’t, tell him what we do!
As pp have said, Redirection and telling them what they can do, also using a reward and consequence based system.
-Here is a thing you can do, if you do it this is the reward, or what happens. If you do this, this happens. For example..Hold my hand as we cross the street and we will listen to your favorite song in the car. Rather than, We don’t run in parking lots, or If you don’t hold my hand in the parking lot you are going in time out. Rather than, NO, dont hit me with the toy we dont hit, “If you hit me with the toy, the toy goes away.” If you throw the playdough on the floor, we’re done playing with playdough, the playdough goes away. Rather than, No, books don’t go in your mouth, if you put the book in your mouth the book goes away. If you tell me you have to go potty and go, you get an m&m.
I nannied for a family that didn’t use the word NO under any circumstance. It was weird at first but it worked! I never would have learnt to be half as creative without them!
Post # 12
weightwatchers152 : my daughter is 22 months and we mostly use the distraction method to get her to fall in line. If she keeps opening the fridge I say “hey dinner isn’t ready yet so will you read Brown Bear Brown Bear to mommy while we wait?” Works most of the time. We also have a song for EVERYTHING which makes her excited about things she doesn’t want to do. Just last weekend a public restroom got a full rendition of her and I singing our diaper time song but hey…I got that diaper changed without a fit lol.
The only things we really “punish” is being a jerk on purpose. For example she loves to feed the dog but she will also sometimes look us dead in the eye as she dumps the food on the floor. THAT I know is a test and so we go to time out, explain that it isn’t kind to throw our family members’ food on the floor, and then go make her apologize to the dog and whichever parent had to clean up her mess.
Post # 13
Sounds like my dude and he’s the same age. Toddler proof what you can (even if it’s awkward, it’s just a phase and your house will return to normal at some point) and emphasize good behavior and fun things to do. Lots of redirection. Try not to give exciteable reactions to things, because that tends to get tots wound up and working double duty because of the reactions. I attempt to stay calm and just say we don’t ____. If he doesn’t listen or continues to push that boundary, then the thing goes away or the activity ends.
I will say that the voice doesn’t always stay calm and sometimes there are reactions because…well, I don’t love being kicked or having bath water thrown all over me.
If you have a super verbal or precocious tot, you may be able to reason with them or use conditionals. I think it’s individual to the kid, but a blanket rule at this age is that the vast majority are not ready for formal punishment yet even while testing boundaries all over the place. Ugh. It’s hard!
Post # 14
elodie2019 : Wow, I would love to hear more about this LOL.
We have a 16 year old and two 9 year olds. Turning 35 this year and we we are going to TTC… trying to remind myself how to deal with little ones again!! haha