Your kid is holding your iPhone hostage and you need it back. “Can you please give mommy back her phone, sweetie?” you ask, in your most agreeable voice. Except this seems to have the opposite effect, as your kid manically runs away from you while still gripping your device. This time, you use your I-mean-business-voice (“Noah, mommy needs her phone back… now!”). But this just seems to empower your toddler even more as he skips right past you and into the bathroom, all while screaming “My phone!” Sound familiar?
If you find yourself constantly engaged in the toddler power struggle (*raises hand*), then you need this clever hack from clinical psychologist and parenting guidance provider Dr. Becky Kennedy. She calls it the “closing your eyes technique” and says it’s one of her favorite strategies for helping engage your child’s cooperation and helping them be more likely to listen.
Because listening isn’t really listening, argues Dr. Becky. Instead, when parents want their kids to listen, what they’re really asking for is compliance. (Hence why your kid never has a problem “listening” when you shout that it’s time for ice cream.)
And what’s one tried-and-true method to get your kid to do something that they don’t really want to do? Give them a little bit of control. “It’s really important to give small kids agency when you’re asking for something from them,” explains Dr. Becky. Enter the “closing your eyes technique.” Here’s how it works: