How To Raise Obedient Toddlers

It can be hard to get toddlers to do what is asked all the time. This is because toddlers are still working on trying to self-regulate themselves and pay attention to what is being conveyed to them. As a result, there will be a learning curve to getting toddlers to become obedient and do what is asked of them the first time around. But, with patience and consistency, following the rules will come. And that comes with knowing how to raise obedient toddlers.

When it comes to teaching obedience, parents do not want it to come from a place of fear, according to Nicole Schwarz, LMFT. Instead, obedience should come from a place of trust, curiosity, and a strong relationship with parents, per the publication. When this happens, toddlers are more apt to become obedient at a faster rate and more frequently, something that will not happen when the only reason toddlers do something is that they have the consequences if they do not.

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Here is how to raise an obedient toddler.

Make Sure You Have Toddler’s Attention

When parents want their toddlers to comply with a request that they have, the first step to making this happen is to Ensure that children’s attention is completely on them.

According to Ready Kids Occupational Therapytoddlers have approximately three to six minutes in which their attention can be held. As such, it is imperative that parents have their eyes on them when they speak to ensure that toddlers are listening to what is being said versus letting their attention drift elsewhere.

If this happens, toddlers will not be able to recall what was asked of them and as a result, will not do it.

Tell Toddler Explicitly What Needs To Be Done

If toddlers are not specific in what they want their toddlers to do, they run the risk of toddlers not being obedient. Something that happens when they are told what not to do versus what to do.

According to LifeSavvy, when toddlers are consistently told “no” or what not to do versus what they should do, they become frustrated. So much so, per the publication, that there is the risk of toddlers tuning out parents when they are told “no” and doing what they want instead.


This is not something that is conducive to obedience. Instead, to help toddlers get to a place of obedience, giving them short, simple, and polite commands helps them to do what is being asked of them. As they grow, once the simple commands can be followed, they can become more complex. And this will make not only an obedient toddler but an older child as well.

Do Not Repeat Yourself

If parents consistently repeat themselves, they lose their authority. Something that does not bode well for helping toddlers become obedient.

According to VeryWell Familywhen parents Consistently repeat themselves, toddlers recognize that they have several times of being asked to do something before they truly have to pay attention to what is being said to them. This is something that does not help with obedience. It does the exact opposite instead.


When parents want their toddlers to do things the first time around, they need to make sure that the attention of toddlers is had. If toddlers refuse to get up from their activity, taking that activity away until what is asked of them is complete will teach toddlers to listen the first time around and will save parents from repeating themselves until they are blue in the face.

Be Consistent

If there are consequences for not being obedient, those consequences need to be followed through every time toddlers do not do what is asked of them.

According to EmpoweringParents.comthe best way to make sure that toddlers do what is asked of them is to have negative consequences if they do not.

This does not mean that toddlers need to be approached in a mean or aggressive way. Instead, being straightforward about what happens if they are not obedient will be enough to get the point across.

Per the publication, the consequence needs to be tied to the behavior. As such, if toddlers are not doing what is asked of them because they are too enthralled in playing with blocks, then blocks need to be taken away for the rest of the day. Toddlers will understand that they can do what they want to do after they complete what is asked of them. And as a result, become obedient in the process.

Do Not Use A Shooting Voice

When toddlers do not appear to be paying attention, many parents will raise their voices to get their attention. This works in the short term, according to Sleeping Should Be Easy, because toddlers are scared. But all this serves to do is to make toddlers tune their parents out in the future.

To speak with toddlers when asking them to do something, they should be spoken to in a natural and soft voice. This will not only make toddlers pay attention because they have to struggle a bit to hear but will make them obedient out of choice rather than fear. Something that will pay off with dividends as toddlers age.


Reward When Toddler Does What Is Asked

As toddlers do what is asked of them, they should receive positive reinforcement. This will encourage them to repeat the behavior in the future until the behavior becomes a habit.

According to Positive Psychology, positive reinforcement “encourages the behavior” that parents want to see in their toddlers. This could be Verbalizing what toddlers are doing well, letting toddlers choose a book to be read, having them choose a toy to play with or even making a decision about something they want with their meal.

The more often toddlers are rewarded for doing what is asked, the more they will want to do it. And as a result, an obedient toddler is born.

Source: Nicole Schwarz, LMFT, Ready Kids Occupational Therapy, LifeSavvy, VeryWell Family, EmpoweringParents.com, Sleeping Should Be Easy, Positive Psychology

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