Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How To Get Your Child To Sit Still

I have an eighteen month old that won't sit still for anything.  Diaper changes, fingernail cutting, getting dressed, and bath time are all a struggle.  But I have finally found the trick to getting my child to be still.  What is it, you ask?  Yelling doesn't work.  Playful fun does not work either.  I have found the only thing that really works for keeping any child still for a long enough period of time that you can accomplish whatever task you want with them.


As my toddler grows bigger in size and strength, I find myself, in my old age of 28, losing a step or two when trying to keep up with her.  I looked for help over at *UltimateJuJitsu.com and found some basic strategies for immobilizing my tiny opponent.

Event: Diaper Changes/Getting Undressed
Strategy: Disable the legs and prevent rolling
Recommended Move: Guard Escape Push

The toddler (white) will usually try to wrap you (blue) up with their legs.  Use the Guard Escape Push to escape their leg lock.  You can also try the Guard Escape Tickle, but that move generally induces the rolling-over we are trying to avoid here.  This move should force the legs to straighten and you can quickly remove the pants before your child knows what is happening, then unlatch the diaper and begin cleaning.

Event: Finger Nail Cutting
Strategy: Immobilize the arms - the one being cut and the swatting one
Recommended Move: Arm Bar

This move effectively disables both arms so that you can quickly cut the child's fingernails.  Once you have immobilized the arms, you can use one hand to hold the fingers and the other to hold whichever nail-cutting device you are most practiced with (mine is the katana).  Just reverse the hold to cut the nails on the other hand.

Event: Toe Nail Cutting
Strategy: Immobilize the legs - the one being cut and the kicking one
Recommended Move: Knee Bar from Guard Position

This move is very similar in method to the arm bar.  With this move, you are able to isolate the foot for toe nail cutting, and use your right leg to immobilize the toddler's free leg often used to kick you.  It is best to do this move just after bath time, when the child is fully dried off, as your face will be in close proximity to the child's foot.

Event: Getting Dressed/Undressed
Strategy: Immobilize opponent child long enough to safely complete the task
Recommended Move: Back Mount

From the back mount position, you (blue) can take your free left arm and unsnap the onesie and maneuver it off of the child's body.  This move will only work for removing top pieces of clothing.  If you are removing pants, you should refer to the Guard Escape Push (above) used for diaper changing.

Event: Bath Time - Face/Neck/Ears
Strategy: Immobilize child long enough to safely complete the task
Recommended Move: Shoulder Lock from Scarf Hold Position

This move isolates the upper part of the body so that you can wash the toddler's face and neck and behind the ears as well.  If you are very skilled at this position, you can use your left hand to wash parts of the lower body that are able to be reached.  Do not attempt this move underwater for obvious reasons.

Event: Bath Time - Back/Belly/Underarms
Strategy: Immobilize child long enough to safely complete the task
Recommended Move: Shoulder Lock from Side Mount Position

This move will disable the toddler's ability to flail their arms while you scrub their back, belly and underarm areas.  Do watch for flails of the legs as toddlers are extremely flexible and still capable of giving you a round house kick to the face from this position.  A simple lean backward will both avoid the kick and remind the toddler that you are in control.

There you have it!  How to get your child to sit still long enough for you to accomplish your desired task.  For more help, watch UFC 139 in November leave your questions in the comment area below.  If your child is more advanced than these techniques can account for, don't worry, one day you will get the ultimate revenge (see ending)!

*The demonstration of these moves is for entertainment purposes only.  At no time should you ever use actual Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on a child.  The owners of UltimateJuJitsu.com have no idea that I am using their techniques to battle my rambunctious toddler, and they probably wouldn't recommend it.

This post will probably earn me "THE LOOK" from my wife.  If you are not familiar with "THE LOOK" you are probably not paying enough attention to your spouse.  Just watch this video for a good example.


  1. This is hilarious! Any recommendation for them to sit still for pictures?

    I would employ this method except I'm afraid my arms and legs would be so entangled that I would never be free of my toddler. And that's not a good thing. At all.

  2. @Bruce - Sometimes, Bruce, one can say a little too much, and I believe this is one of those times, lol. Thanks for stopping by!

    @Justine - It's all about discipline and practice. You are the expert. You are the parent. You can control the child! Thanks for reading, and please share!

  3. Holy crap, I love it. I thought about doing a post about toddler-grappling moves. I might have to resurrect it in honor of this one!

  4. @Zach Babies and Toddlers have secret weapons that nobody prepares us for. The only logical solution is to be prepared for anything, and the discipline of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will do just that. Good luck!

  5. These tactics also work well if you are going to have a tickle fight with your child.

    Best wishes,


  6. I have mastered those moves and just need to work on the next set.

  7. I used a combination of Benadryl and duct tape. Thanks for sharing a smile.

  8. Lol!!! This is hilarious! Thanks for the tips!

  9. @Clayton - You are right! Practice makes perfect, so tickle away!

    @Jack - Congratulations! Advanced Baby/Toddler Wrangling will be offered next quarter. Beginner's Baby Krav Maga may be a pre-requisite. Please check with your advisor.

    @Material Girl Green - Thanks! I aim to make you LOL.

    @Barry Silver - Remember when leaving comments that I am a mandated reporter in the state of Pennsylvania. But since I know you're totally joking, you're okay!

    @Charma - Thanks for checking out the site! Won't you tell your friends?

  10. This is a strategy you can carry with your child as they grow. I'm looking at using it on 12 and 14 year olds.

  11. @ed - Thanks for the great news Ed! Has my alma mater taken a stance on the use of Jiu-Jitsu on first-year students?

  12. LOL that was hilarious! I really need to try the finger and toe nail cutting moves since my daughter will not sit still long enough for that! :)

  13. @Krissy They definitely work! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Classic...I have six kids, any suggestions for getting all of them to stay still...Barry's suggestion was good, but looking to stay out of jail...

  15. @Dan - I think the key with having that many kids is to work the older ones into submission first. Once dominated, they will want to feel dominant again, and you can turn that dominance on the rest of the pack. Great question!

  16. I have been using variations of these moves for years, and had NO IDEA that I am apparently a jujitsu master! Good stuff, thanks for sharing. :)

  17. @stuffboysdo - No problem, I aim to please... or at least make you chuckle. Thanks for reading!

  18. What! They sit still! If only I had known this information years ago.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...