How to get ahead of 4yo stalling tactics...

I'm looking for ideas/advice/words of wisdom/cocktail recipes to get ahead of 4-year-old manipulation tactics. Manipulation is a strong word, and I realize the stalling isn't vicious in nature. When my daughter doesn't want to finish a meal, go to bed, brush her teeth, clean up toys, etc., she uses hugs and kisses to delay/distract/avoid the situation. Moreso with me than with her dad, and I'm so torn. On the one hand, I love my sweet girl and adore hugs and kisses. On the other hand, I don't like my options - either I oblige and reinforce the behavior, or I say no and face an inevitable meltdown. What asshole parent says no to hugs and kisses from their kid? Me. I'm that parent. And I hate the feeling of damned if I do, damned if I don't. This entire message sounds absurd as I read it over before sending...if anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears.

  • Holly
    Jul 24

    Mine usually just wants to fuss and whine about not wanting to do something. All I think we can do is to keep chugging along with just being as consistent as we possibly can and rewarding the behavior we like and taking away tv or game time for not doing something that is supposed to do. Granted, that doesn't always happen though. Hope this helps some.

  • Anonymous
    Jul 25

    Maybe do half and half? Let’s hug and snuggle while we sing twinkle twinkle and after that we’re back to cleaning up! And when you’re all done we can continue to snuggle if you want! I think you are right in saying you’re reinforcing the behavior unfortunately.... sometimes a mamas gotta be tough! You can do it. Have you offered choices? “We can clean up and then cuddle OR you can clean up and go right upstairs for bed, which do you want?”

  • Anonymous
    Jul 25

    Also- I don’t think it’s a dumb question. You’d think having an infant is hard enough but it doesn’t really get easier lol

  • B
    Jul 25

    There’s a great Daniel tiger episode about bedtime and waking up and not stalling. Maybe watch that a few times and talk about how you love hugs, but first we have to get ready.

  • Anonymous
    Jul 25

    It is so hard to resist when they use the sweetness! Also really adaptive on her part and she may be kind of seeking what she needs in her process, sounds like it’s around transitions and maybe things she’s not wanting to do... Something I try is numbering or timing the diverting behavior (ie. Ok! 2 more minutes of snuggles then teeth brushing or 3 more kisses then bedtime!) & then I hold the boundary there so they know I’ll fulfill what I promise but also expect them to fulfill the expectation. So then they get some of their needs met and valued with the physical contact/regulating snuggles, etc while the expectation is still named and planned for so they know they’re getting their snuggles but those toys are also going to get picked up by them. Doesn’t always work lol! There are still sometimes tears and resistance;)

  • Myrtle
    Jul 25

    We collaborated with our daughter to make a bedtime routine chart. We printed out pictures of each step at bedtime ( Reading books, brushing teeth etc.) and she helped us paste them on a piece of paper.if she gets distracted from the routine we ask her to check back in with the bedtime routine chart to see what she needs to do next. Maybe you could add kisses/snuggles to the chart so that she knows she will have that at some point before bed. For meal times I will offer her the choice of vegetables: would you like me to make carrots or squash for dinner? I also have her help where she can in the cooking process like adding salt and pepper to the dish. The key is involving them in the routine planning process and giving them some feeling of choice in it and then they’re more likely to buy into it. Good luck!

  • Cathy
    Jul 26

    Maybe hugs and kisses after she does her clean up, or whatever task you’re asking her to complete. “I’d love to hug you after you....” If she tantrums just wait her out. PS - the best cocktail recipe is just tequila straight 🤣😂

  • Marcie
    Aug 01

    Haha!! I thought i was the only one! My son does the whole hugging and kissing when he want to get out of anything. I feel horrible!! But after reading the comments i will definitely try something new!!! Thanks for your post good luck!!

  • Jess
    Aug 01

    We get this all the time with our (almost) 5 year old. One thing that has worked for us with stalling behavior is setting a timer (e.g. on your phone or watch) Say, "Okay, we're going to set a timer for 2 minutes, then it's time to [do whatever]." Let her press the button to start the timer and press the button to stop it when it's done. Another one that works for things like stalling at school dropoff is "Okay, let's have one more kiss and hug, then I need you to close the door for me." Anything that gives them a sense of control can be helpful. Best of luck!