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21 month old needs gentle, age appropriate discipline

Question

Our son is 21 months and we’d like to be better about him cleaning up his toys. We’re going to sweep through his toys and get down to the bare essentials like John’s book mentions. In order to start doing this, the other day I tried one of John’s methods. I’m not entirely sure I did it correctly or even used the right leverage, but I’m hoping for some guidance. Anyhow, I told my son to pick up his blocks and put them all away. He ignored me, so I waited for an opportunity. Lunch time rolled around and he signed that he wanted food. I walked him to his toys and said pick them up and then you will get something to eat. He put a few blocks in and was expecting food. I told him to pick them all up. He ignored me. Eventually he took a nap and still refused to pick them up. He asked for food multiple times over the course of a couple hours. Eventually, I think it probably broke me that he hadn’t eaten almost all day and I helped him clean up the blocks. Not only was I worried about the food, but I wasn’t sure if he understand that he should pick them all up. I started to wonder if he understood. Anyhow was this the right thing to do? Should I have chosen something less controversial instead of food as leverage?

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