Helen Skelton on taming a 2-year-old: “Bribery works for me”

Let's see how Helen's getting on with her eldest son Ernie, shall we?


Let’s get real for a second: you wouldn’t think it to look at their cute lil’ faces, but 2-year-olds can be a right handful.


And though it all seems picture-perfect over on TV presenter Helen Skelton’s family-focused Instagram, she was more than happy to tell team MFM that her toddler, Ernie, is a bit of a poster child for the so-called ‘terrible 2s’.

“He’s a master of manipulation, and he’s only 2 and a half,” she laughs in a chat with MadeForMums.

“[He’s a tinker] on a daily basis – last week he set off the alarm in Costa, had a meltdown in the shop, ran off from me in Boots and ran round and round screaming ‘you can’t catch me mummy, you can’t catch me’.

“He climbed on to a shelf, and jumped off it, by which point I was like ‘I’m not in control of you at all’ so I put him in the car with my mum, and as soon we got in the car, he went: “Grandma, you look nice,””

(We’ve all had them do something all angelic and cheeky like this, right? ???)

“He’s a genius. He is a terrible genius, he knows what to do. He certainly knows how to play the system.

helen skelton madeformums

“He knows the cute factor, so if I tell him off he’ll go ‘but I wuv you mummy’ or he’ll put his hands behind his back and go ‘I love you this much’ and I’m like ‘ugh’.”

(Helen makes a noise, as if she’s just been punched in the gut.)

We’ve got to say: our own toddlers had a lot of “character”, too. So, hearing all this from an uber-cool mum like Helen definitely makes us feel a little less alone in the world ?

Especially since she’s also not afraid to admit she uses the odd bribe to make sure Ernie’s on board when they’re out with 8-month-old baby Louis…

Something, we reckon, loads of us may have succumbed to at some point or another.

“It’s a game changer when you have 2 kids, definitely. Hectic,” Helen tells us. “I think with one you can always man mark them but with 2 you’re outnumbered, so you have to get the eldest one on board.”

“I spend a lot of time saying to my eldest: ‘We’re gonna do this today and if you do this and then this, we *might* go to the toy shop. If you don’t set off the fire alarm in the coffee shop, we *might* go to the park.

“I know that’s like bribery, but that works for me. With Ernie, I really feel like I need to tell him what’s happening.

“And then he nods, and says ‘ahhh, OK’ [like he gets it].”


Share your stories

What’s the most ‘terrible’ thing your toddler’s done during that phase? And, like Helen, have you ever been tempted to use bribery to ensure your toddler’s good behaviour?

Let us know in the comments below or over on Facebook

Helen Skelton is the spokesperson for the Baby Jogger City Select LUX Stroller

Images: Instagram/Helen Skelton

Read more:


Comments ()

Please read our Chat guidelines.