Thirteen-month-old Avery Watson says "no" to everything, even when she clearly doesn't mean it. "I was trying to give her Goldfish and she shook her head 'no' while putting one in her mouth," says her mom, Rachael, of Portland, OR. "I can't figure out the disconnect!" Toddlers often send this mixed message. It's a way to hone their social skills and stand up for themselves, says Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of The Happiest Toddler on the Block. How to navigate in the meantime:
■ READ THEIR BODY LANGUAGE Toddlers are better at right-brained body language than left-brained verbal language, says Dr. Karp. So be I i eve what they d o, n ot what they say. they're acting 'yes,' ignore the 'no.' !t they 're rea 11 y p utt i ng up a fight,'no' means'no,'"
■ LET'EMWINPartof the reason toddlers nix random things is they get frustrated with all they can't do. "They're weaker, they're slower, they can't reachas high—all they want to do is win a few," says Dr. Karp. Indulge them occasionally; it'liencouragecooperation.
■ OFFER CHOICES Instead of
"yes" or "no" questions, empower your kid with a choice between options—and step or look away for a minute while she decides. "Waiting and watching sometimes slows down the process," says Dr. Karp. -VIVIAN MANNING-SCHAFFEL
PERFECT POUR One of bathtime's toughest tasks is rinsing her head without the soapy water getting all into her eyes, ears, and—sputter! sputter!—nose. Wei!, how's this for no more tears: Sassy's Soft Touch Rinsing Cup is made of rubber hard enough to hold a full pour without buckling, but soft enough to bend around your toddler's head when you're trying to pour the H2O just right. (Soft Touch Rinsing Cup, $4.99; sassybaby.com)
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