3 year olds not listening
Tantrums

3 Year Olds Not Listening

It can be a very frustrating experience if your 3 year olds not listening. Parenting, in general, can be stressful, without having to constantly repeat yourself.

It is very overwhelming when you have tried again and again to get your toddler to do something and they are quite intent on doing the exact opposite.

Worst still you know they hear and understand every word your saying but still there is no response. It is at this exact moment that you can easily lose your cool, get angry and escalate the situation to explosion mode!

Learning how to get 3 year old to listen without yelling is a skill, but there are some untold ways to get your children to listen without getting angry yourself.

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Tips For 3 Year Olds Not Listening

1. Show Empathy

First off as parents we should always put ourselves in our child shoes. Maybe they are tired, hungry or just generally irritable due to soreness or growing pains.

Remember different children show signs of tension at different developmental ages. At the age of 3, your toddler understands most of the commands that you give them but they are consistently seeking independence and often will engage in power struggles with you to test boundaries.

Children who seek freedom and independence are more prone to put their agenda’s ahead of yours. This causes tension when you are trying to do one thing but they are already engaged in something totally different.

Empathy Example

For example, you asked your child to “Go put your shoes on as we are leaving to go shopping” He was still in the middle of “putting together his second tunnel on his train tracks” and will be distraught if you remove him at this critical playtime.

The key here is to try to be tunned into your child’s wants and needs. The closer you see the world they do, the easier it will be to get them to listen.

Instead of shouting out him to “Get his shoes on to go out”, you could frame your request like this:

“Sweetie, I understand you are in the middle of building your favourite train set but I need your help when we get to the shop. Can you put your shoes on fast so we can go and come back, Once we get back I’ll help you put together the best track ever!”

Children Need Constant Reminders Of What Behaviour Is Expected From Them But Also Constant Reminders Of What They Can Expect From You.

This is a fundamental concept in giving your child autonomy and foresight to plan his emotions for the future.

2. Stay Calm

First off you need to stay calm, getting angry and frustrated yourself will only make the situation worse. This is of course easy said than done, but it’s always the first point of recall.

A calm parent is a clear parent and a clear parent is able to convey practical instructions to convince their child to perform a task.

Learning how to get a child to listen and follow directions takes time and requires patience. If you show calmness you’ll be one step ahead as it will be easier to manage a more disruptive child.

3. Don’t Demand It Be Done, Just Politely Ask

Children react better to positive friendly verbal tones then negative aggressive ones. To get your child to listen to you more see if you can talk to him in a more friendly and upbeat tone.

Try something like this:

“Please put your shoes on or else we will be late leaving to go out to the shops. If we leave late then we won’t get back until later and you will miss your favourite tv show”

This is a clear and concise message with clear penalties that apply. Maybe they don’t want to go shopping but they certainly want to be back on time to watch TV.

It’s a more motivating way to convince your child to comply. A 3-year-old understands the command of putting shoes on, but they may not be in the mood to do it unless they are incentivized. This is a smart way to do that and get what you want at the same time.

4. Ask Them Why

If your 3 year olds not listening there is usually more to the story than just simply refusing to do what they are told. In the appropriate environment try to get some feedback from your child.

Get them to talk about the reasons it’s important to listen to you and what that means for them.

For example:
“Why should you listen to me when I ask you to put your seat belt on?”

“Why should you hold my hand when crossing the road?”

“What will happen if you play to rough with your sister?

This reflection is key for learning the appropriate ways of behaviour in every environment and helps them to develop logic and reasoning skills.

5. Does This Behaviour Happen At The Same Time Every Day?

Children listen to simple instructions most of the time. But some children are just more irritable at certain parts of the day. Having kids not listening to you at certain times in the day can be more stressful.

Try to keep a journal of the most disruptive times that your child doesn’t listen to you. Is it morning time, before lunch, after his nap, during dinner, before bed? etc

You’ll find that if you can pinpoint a certain time of day you’ll be better equipped to deal with it when it comes and can have your parental tactics ready.

6. Reward Good behaviour

It’s very easy to focus on when your child doesn’t listen but it’s just as important to focus on when they do. If they have put all his toys away after playing and is now sitting in their big chair waiting to have lunch then praise them for listening to your instructions.

Children crave attention and sometimes too much attention can be gained by disruptive behaviour. Go over the top to identify examples of good behaviour and reward positive behaviour when your child has listened to your instructions perfectly.

Some parents even create a wall sticker and add gold stars for specific listening related tasks

Learning how to get a child to listen and follow directions can take time but the core of the discipline is patience. Stick to the guidelines and very soon you’ll have a more informed child who listens and responds more willingly.

Ava Miller

Mom of 2 who enjoys blogging, travelling, cooking and spending time with Taylor & Olivia

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