guest blog post: 4 hacks for parenting a strong willed toddler

It’s #TakeOverTuesday! This week we’re hearing from Maria. Not only is Maria a mom to two beautiful little ladies, but she has the best ideas for parties. Today she is sharing some creative hacks for parenting strong willed toddlers. I haven’t gotten to the toddler stage yet, but I know many of you are knee-deep in toddler mayhem, so I’m sure you will enjoy her post!

By Maria @tinselbox_holiday

Oh, my goodness. It sure isn’t easy having a strong willed toddler.  I read every book, tried every method and even with all my good intentions to have her do as I wish, I have failed. Many times I have been completely defeated and near insanity.

You may not already know me, so I’ll give you a little back story.  My name is Maria, and I love to celebrate parties and holidays with my family. I’m so excited to be guest posting here at Delicately Balancing Life! It’s a great place to be  honest and open about parenting. You can see all my stress-free, pretty celebrating ideas at

Stress-free is important here because parenting my kids isn’t easy. My oldest, Giselle, is 8 years old, and my youngest, Bella, is now 3 years old.  Both are the loves of my life.  They have beautiful hearts and great performance skills.  My kids are my joy and my heart.

Okay, here is the but! My youngest had the will, smarts, and strength of a world champion as a toddler. She could out-run and out-smart me most of the time.  If I were to look away at a friends house, I would suddenly find her swirling their toothbrushes in a suds filled bathroom sink. With a big grin, I will add. Even if I only looked away for a moment!

I don’t want to be too Pollyanna, because there were many days when she pushed me to the brink of my sanity. I had to work hard to seem calm, and inside it wasn’t pretty. However, I do think that being her own person will serve her well as a teenager and an adult.  For now, it is about all of us surviving to see that.

At the toddler age, they just can’t help themselves. Keep them safe, and at age 3.5 these problems should disappear. You will have new challenges, but these strong-willed toddler problems should be gone.

Tried and true, I have some hacks you might not have already had on your list.


If your little one likes to have some freedom in the car, you might find they have busted out of their car seat. It is quite easy to do if you are strong enough. Added toddler bonus: your parent’s sheer panic, and attention each time you succeed.

What worked for us was a My Guardian Car Seat Vest! All the others failed. She was strong, but not that strong. After a few car rides of struggling and complaining, she gave up. Our safety was again in tact.

This cover goes over your existing car seat buckle and is great for ages 1-4.


My daughter didn’t want to go to sleep at night. We tried the back to bed method. You know the one….it’s where you quietly put them back over and over and over again. The first night she had 112 returns.  At the doctor’s recommendation, we tried leaving her in her room to tire out.

She would strip naked! Pee on the floor or just come out to show us she succeeded.  It sounds cute, but remember this is 9:30 pm after many back to beds.

My husband, bless his heart, had a great daddy idea. He cut the feet off her feety pajamas and turned it backward.  Now she could not unzip it! She still wears these to bed, and we never had to pay big dollars for the pajamas that had the zipper in the back. This literally stopped her from stripping down.


Starting at about age 18 months, Bella liked to climb everything.  What helped us was emulating that activity at the park or in the gymnastic studio. That might go without saying, but getting it out of her system was a great thing.


I have had some days when Bella had a cranky day with tantrums and whining. As moms we think did they nap, did they eat, are they sick? However, I found a strong correlation to having a light diaper rash.  I guess these hurt so much more than you might think. Especially when you are in a diaper or there is contact with urine.

If Bella had a cranky day, I had a process. I would clean her up, give her Tylenol, leave her naked for at least 30 minutes, put on diaper cream and a fresh diaper. Most of the time her behavior would improve!

I’m going to give you some hope here.  Bella is now 3.5 and these strong willed toddler behaviors have subsided.  She is still vibrant and happy, but without pushing her will so much.  It has been a wild year but I’m happy to report that it has became much more peaceful. We have new challenges for sure, but this will pass.  Hang it there. You are not alone!

Please share for all our moms your hacks on parenting a strong willed toddler!


  1. OMG that backwards PJs idea is just pure genius!

    • Delicately Balancing Life

      Right?!?! When I read that, I immediately thought that she was a mom that I need to take lessons from!

  2. Thanks for letting me guest post. It’s been so much fun!

  3. These are awesome tips!!! Thanks mama, I will be trying one or all of these!!

  4. Awesome article! Thanks for all the tips!

  5. Loved the great advice! Especially the streaker solution! 😂 I might have to use that!

  6. The little streaker! What an ingenious trick! This was awesome!

  7. Great article dear. Just love your tips. These are some awesome suggestions from a great mommy. And specially that streaker advice is just perfect for me. Thanks for sharing your experience

  8. These are great! I love the one for when a tantrum occurs, I am definitely going to try this!

  9. Wow awesome article with awesome tips. I’m also writing a article about kids tantrums.

  10. These are amazing g tips! I have an extremely strong willed toddler, and will be using these! Thebackwards PJs works like a charm!

  11. Such great tips!! My 2 yo is so strong willed, so we found just picking our battles with him! If he doesn’t hear “no” all day long he’s more likely to respond positively when we do have to say it!

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