'The cool method' is the parenting hack to use every time your kid says "No!"

Thanks to our brand partner, Hydralyte

The words “no, Max” must have left my mouth 22 million times. It made no difference.

At full pelt, my two-year-old son ran at a tower of toilet rolls, smashing the packs in all directions as his manic laugh boomed into every corner of the supermarket.

It’s great fun knocking over towers of bog roll. It’s even more fun to do it when mum has said “no”. I get it. But for the love of the parenting gods, couldn’t my little dude just listen to me once in his short little life?

And I know I’m not alone. Every parent I talk to could wax lyrical about how their young children create such euphoric levels of love while also plunging them into blood-boiling despair when they dig their heels in. My “no” means nothing when he has his cheeky, misbehaving “no!”.

I won’t dress it up. I have a serious patience tester on my hands. The words ‘strong willed’ have been used constantly since a few days after he was born and he bucked off the swaddled blankets wrapped by a midwife known as the “best swaddler in the ward”.

I can’t wait until his iron will, mixed with his low level needs for sleep, means he has the perfect stamina to be a CEO or maybe even Prime Minister one day. But until then, what?

parenting hacks for toddlers
The two-year-old CEO of my house. Image: Supplied.

Well, my prayers were answered when I just kind of stumbled upon a simple parenting hack that has managed to diminish the daily battles and ensured the supermarket stand-offs have disappeared.

Yep, I’m winning over here, people. Winning.

So, what is this magic I talk of? What wizardry could possibly work to get a toddler to step into formation? It’s called the “cool method”.

Meeting defiance with defiance doesn’t work, I’ve found. And in my experience, neither does the “options” method. When I tried it and asked Max what shoes he wanted to wear, out of an option of blue and red his answer was: “Diggers?”

So instead I’ve just started being, like, totally cool.

If he cries when I put dinner out because it isn’t cut properly, I just say “Cool, I’ll pop it in the kitchen until you’re ready” and it takes maybe a minute before he is asking for it back.

When he wants to run into a tower of toilet rolls, I turn on my heel and simply say, “Cool, I’m going this way, Max” and he soon starts to follow me.

And it works wonders when they refuse to get in the car. I just say, “Cool, see you at home” and before I know it, he’s in there, buckled up and ready not to live the rest of his life alone in a car park.

parenting hacks for toddlers
Oh you won't smile for my selfie? Cool. Image: Supplied.

It also helped on the weekend when my son decided to create a real-life version of the age-old proverb: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink it”.

He was sick with a cold and fever and flatly refused to drink anything.

Sick kids make us parents freak out. Sick kids that need to keep the fluids up but refuse are actually the most stressful thing in the world. You start worrying about dehydration and when to hit the hospital.


And just an FYI, here are the signs for dehydration: Cracked lips, heavy sweating, the passing of limited urine and a floppy and drowsy child. So if you’re facing that at any point, start looking at getting some professional help.

Anyway, I digress. I just sat next to him and said “Cool, I’ll just have this lemonade Hydralyte ice-block”. Yes, the same stuff you used to drink at your desk the day after drinking too many margaritas on a school night. You know, in the years before your social life died just as your child was born.

It took five seconds before Max was taking it off my hands and devouring it himself. Why? Because it’s a universal understanding that once you’ve had a child, you will never, ever finish a meal/drink/treat without their cute chubby fingers reaching out and saying: “Me? Me? My turn?”

Next time I'll try the same method if he needs a ticket out of vom-town - Hydralyte now has colour-free lemonade electrolyte powders and dissolving tablets. "Cool, I'll have your sippy cup, that looks delicious Max."

Now, I'm not saying the cool approach is failsafe. But for a strong-willed toddler who's used to giving a "No" back to mum's "Nos", playing it cool is exactly what he doesn't expect mum to do.

Well, this whole parenting thing is trial and error though, isn't it?

The cool approach, people. It works. And you’re welcome.

What's your approach to "No!"? Tell us below!


Hydralyte: Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.


Did you know that your body only needs to lose as little as 2% of its total body weight through fluid before the signs and symptoms of dehydration start to appear?
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