9 positive parenting phrases to say to your ‘bossy’ child

7. "What's a different way you could ask for that?"

positive parenting phrases to say to your bossy child

"These are your pieces, these are mine."

"You sit there. No there, in that chair."

"Get me milk."

"You draw a lion."

Listening to some young children speak, you would think they were in a managerial role, rather than that of a son, daughter or friend. All children have to learn to compromise, but it is extra hard for some children who have a natural tendency to tell others what to do or take on a "leadership role," to put it nicely.

In a way, it's wonderful that these children can ask for what they want, be assertive and speak up. They just need a little help to turn their demands and commands into requests and suggestions.


Try these phrases next time your child starts bossing you or someone else around:

1. "You choose what you draw, then I'll choose what I draw.

"These are your crayons. You draw ice cream."

I admit that for a while, I almost dreaded drawing with my toddler. He would only draw if I drew too, and he insisted on telling me what to draw and what colors to use. It was not the cozy arts and crafts time I had always pictured.

If your child starts to micromanage how you're playing together, they may need a reminder of which part of the game or activity is in their control. It may seem cute or harmless when it's just the two of you, but your child is learning how to play and interact. Gently guiding them toward being less bossy will help them in later social situations.

2. "You only need to be in charge of yourself."

Calling your child "bossy" might lead to feelings of shame, but you can certainly explain that they don't need to try to control everyone else. Try to put a positive spin on it, saying something like, "Isn't it a relief that you only have to be in charge of yourself?"

3. "It's not fun for me when you tell me what to do."

If you find yourself getting annoyed while your child repeatedly tells you what to do while playing, tell them, gently, that you're not having fun.

Children can sense when we're frustrated or annoyed, but they may have no idea why. Explain that you have a lot more fun playing together when they're not telling you what to do. Ask them if they would have fun if you told them where to put every Lego brick.

4. "You're telling me what to do right now."

Sometimes just bringing your child's awareness to the behavior is enough to stop it, especially if you've had conversations about the behavior in the past.

If you've discussed bossiness with your child many times, they likely only need a quick reminder. Bring their attention to the fact that they're ordering you around, in as neutral a tone as you can, and see if they can change course.

5. "She can make her own choice. What would you like?"

If you notice your child ordering around a friend or sibling, remind them that they each get to make their own choice. Alternatively, you can direct your commentary toward the other child, reminding them that they have a say too.

6. "You be the mama, I'll be the child."

Give your child a chance to play the boss. Then reverse the roles and let them experience the role of being told what to do. Role-playing is a great way for children to try out different situations and see what it feels like to be in the other's shoes.

Take 20 minutes every day and let your child decide what you play together. Even a short time of getting to be in charge of what and how you're playing can satisfy your child's need for control.

7. "What's a different way you could ask for that?"

It takes so much practice for children to learn how to ask for what they want in a kind and respectful way. They likely do not intend to be rude by demanding, "I want milk!" instead of asking politely.

One of the best ways to teach children manners is through modeling, but it also helps to prompt them to think about how they could make a request instead of a demand.

8. "He can say no if he wants."

While it's often best to let your child handle conflicts and social situations on their own, you can offer commentary from the sidelines. If your child is bossing around a sibling or friend, remind them that they can make suggestions, but the other child has a say too.

9. "Let's have a playdate with your older cousin."

If your child is the oldest or an only child, make sure they have the opportunity to play with older children as well. Playing with an older child can automatically reverse the roles so that your child experiences what it's like to be the little one, the one being bossed around.

Of course, not all older children are assertive or will take on a leadership role, but experiencing play with different social dynamics will help your child figure out how to play successfully in a variety of situations.

It's possible to guide your child toward a more effective way of interacting with people, without labeling them as "bossy" or making them feel ashamed. With a little help from you, your child can harness their assertiveness and leadership skills and learn to ask for what they want without alienating the people around them.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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