How Not To Negotiate With A 2 Year Old

Since leaving work, I thought my negotiation days were over. As much as I loved haggling over the price of a TV show, I never thought in a million years that I would be faced with the toughest negotiator of them all…my toddler!

Yes! You heard right. My two year old has clear ambitions to strike out in the world of negotiation.

He will do whatever to ensure he gets the best deal for him, as well as making us feel that one bite into anything reasonably healthy is a massive albeit small victory for us. Clever!
Negotiations for him start early in the day, usually with sitting on the potty. Obviously this is on his terms and he requires a plethora of books and quite often the iPad.

Then at breakfast, for each mouth of cereal, he wants you to give him a car to play with, an episode of Peppa to watch, to sit on daddy’s knee and then more cars to play with.

If you refuse then all deals are off and he would rather wait until mid-morning or lunch for something to eat. Stubborn!
Lunch and dinner are easier to manage IF he identifies with what’s on his plate (plus I do these two meals so he knows the room for negotiation is slim.) Unless he is faced with a UFC (unidentified food colour) then we are back into hard negotiations again. Quite often anything healthy means he will be prepared to ‘walk away’ from a deal….with tears, snorts and screams. Strong minded!
Just to give you some context on UFC, anything beige is fully accepted. As he moves down the colour spectrum to green, a colour embargo is enforced. So tactical efforts are used to ensure he doesn’t miss out on one of his five a day.
I am learning that if you give in too early then he will take full advantage and your at the mercy of his every demand.

Unfortunately this is still a learning curve for my husband who falls prey to sugary bribes which often ends in tears for my husband rather than for Finn.
Our newest negotiation is bedtime. Delaying bedtime is imperative to our mini negotiator. With a list of demands to make your eyes water.

He starts with requesting one more episode of Peppa Pig, then as we start our decend to his bedroom, he will request more milk.

So back, I go to the kitchen whilst he drags himself reluctantly up the stairs. By now, he’s pretty tired and happily sits on his throne, I mean rocking chair before he collects his thoughts and the demands start again.

By now, he is recounting all the stories he wants at bedtime. This usually includes his entire story book collection. We agree on his two favourites, one educational book (maybe colours, numbers, or the alphabet) and one about potty training.

Then as we reach the end of book number four, he asks for “just one more”. He knows it’s unlikely so his bottom lip begins to wobble. Before the tears start rolling down his cheek, I look into his glassy blue eyes and swiftly change the subject and instead promise him that tomorrow we will either go swimming or take the train to the farm, the zoo or to see “nanna”. Extremely Tactical!
Finally, we get to 7pm before the lights are switched off and I think the negotiations are over for the day. Until I hear the word “Mumma” from his room and he’s asking for more milk again. Persistent!

2 Replies to “How Not To Negotiate With A 2 Year Old”

    1. Food has been a nightmare for us since the beginning. If he doesn’t like the look of something he will simply pick it up and remove it from his plate or he has a BAFTA award winning melt down. We are hoping he grows out of it when he goes to nursery….or before he turns 18. I hope your little one gets there with their eating too.

      Liked by 2 people

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