My daughter has inherited my inclination toward the dramatic, has very selective hearing, and finds nothing more amusing than switching to sloooooow motion whenever I need her to obey quickly. Add to that the fact that I am quite the disciplinarian and have a very goal-oriented personality, and you have a wee bit of a time bomb ticking merrily away there! Soooo...these days my bedside table is laden with books on the topic and most of my quiet time each morning is spent desperately clinging to the hem of my Master's robe, begging for wisdom and a soft voice and for His Spirit to rest on my shoulders like a gentle dove when I start to feel the annoyance building up.
One of the books have proved to be a gem: Lisa Whelchel's Creative Correction. It is a fantastic book crammed with practical ideas for dealing with just about every disciplining issue you may ever encounter with younger children. The chapter called In The Beginning deals specifically with Toddler Discipline, and has had me giggle out loud as I was able to relate to so many of the scenarios! The Toolbox section of that chapter is chock-full of super ideas to creatively correct.
I've adapted one of her suggestions to encourage Sweetpea to be obedient: I used two honey jars and placed 22 glass pebbles in each. For every time Sweetpea obeys a clear instruction with a merry attitude, she can remove one pebble from the 'disobedient'/frowny face jar, to add it to her 'obedient'/smiley face jar. The idea was that disobedience would work in reverse, but I soon realised that this process would become far too drawn-out to have effect, so we are sticking to only rewarding good behaviour. As soon as the frowny face jar is empty, she will get to choose a special treat: a small sticker album, a mommy-and-me-only trip to the park, or an extra story at bedtime.
I also like to help her "bind up Truth in her heart" as we go along, and so whenever she obeys, I praise her for not only listening to me, but also for obeying God's command in Ephesians 6:1: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
At the time of this writing we have 5 pebbles to go - I will keep you posted!