4 Year Old Wont Listen
Child Discipline Techniques

4 Year Old Wont Listen

It can drive most parents up the wall if your 4 Year Old Wont Listen. You’ve tried every single way possible to get through to them and it’s to no avail.

A child who is defiant, stubborn and does not want to corporate no matter what can make your day to day routine extremely difficult.

Learning how to get a 4 year old to listen without yelling is tricky. But rest assured there are powerful techniques you can use if you find a way to get to the route cause of the problem.

Related 4 Year Old Behaviour Getting Worse

Questions To Ask Yourself If Your 4 Year Old Wont Listen

Your 4-year-old may be going through a tough milestone. Developmental, 4 year olds can understand complex behavioural triggers, so this way of acting could just be a plea for extra attention.

Ask yourself:

Are you listening to your child adequately?

It’s important to ask yourself this question first as many children will respond to not receiving attention by acting out or being disruptive themselves.

Are your parenting rules too strict?

Many parents that discourage play, in particular, outdoor play, could be contributing to behavioural problems. By constantly watching their every move, (helicopter parenting) and restricting playful activities could be stifling growth and independance.

Have there been any big changing events?

Kids react differently to experiencing traumatic events. Events like a divorce, moving to a new city or a death in the family can have deep reverberating effects .

You child may be under immense pressure trying to cope with big emotions, like fear, anger and betrayal. A 4 year old not listening and talking back could be a way to vent bigger emotions that they have tried to suppress.

It’s important you carefully document any recent stressors your child has faced and see if this behaviour isn’t a direct link to it.

My 4 Year Old Wont Listen! (5 Powerful Solutions)

1. Give Your FULL Attention

Learning how to get a 4 year old to listen without yelling requires stopping what you are doing and trying to give them your full attention

When your child is talking with you try not to be too distracted. Your child will know instantly if they have your undivided attention and reacy accordingly. If it’s split between them, the phone and trying to wash the dishers they may act out.

Of course, It’s not always possible to give them your absolute attention as you have 101 things to do. If you can’t then just ask them to be patience and when you are finished come back and give them your time.

Remember, you should always acknowledge their feelings when responding to them. This will show you have been listening and teach empathy.

For example:

“Sweetie, I can see you are upset because we have to leave the party early”

Try not to deny your child feelings. The better you get at expressing them, the better they will be at giving you their full attention.

2. The Power of Positive Words

You shouldn’t handle a 4 year old not listening and talking back with extreme aggression and frustration.

Instead, get down on their level and talk with them on their terms. Your body language, tone and choice of words are very important, especially if your child is showing signs of defiant behaviour.

Your child will tune out if they feel that you are not talking to them on their level and this could be a major reason a 4 Year Old Wont Listen.

Use Positive Words That Highlight Encouragement  

For example: “Sweetie, Please pick up your toys so we can play together. I know you are a tidy person and I love that about you”

If you need to be more authoritative use a more stern but polite tone.  Your aim here is to have your child respond and react to your request on the first or second time of asking.

If you are repeating yourself over and over again then your child is learning to ignore your requests.

You can also try to get them to feel empathic, for example:

“Sweetie, mummy is very tired and hungry and the longer you take the more my stomach will hurt. Please hurry up and pick up your toys so we can both have dinner together”

A common reason why a 4 Year Old Wont Listen is because they don’t see the reason behind the request.

This is very true mainly true for 4 year old not listening at school as well.

By giving them a more deliberate reason you are appealing to their empathic side and teaching them that there are other things that influence this decision.

3. Body Language

Learning how to get a 4 year old to listen without yelling involves consider your body language. Keep your body language open and try to remain eye contact.

You should be showing your child, through your body language, that you aren’t annoyed or frustrated by their behaviour. (Even if you are!)

If they see their nonstop pestering does aggregate you, they may continue to do it as a game. Instead, be calm and show patience without stamping your feet or crossing your arms.

Ultimately, this demonstrates to your child that you are prepared to wait for as long as necessary until they do as they are told.

What Words To Use?

Keep your words short and to the point, for example:

After Dinner, We Wash Our Hands

Remember 8.30 pm is Bedtime

Teeth Brush first, Then We Read Books

Also, try to avoid criticising, accusing or threatening your child to do what they are told.

For example, “If you don’t brush your teeth right now then you’ll go to bed without storytime

This is adding fuel to a fire and may not help if your 4 Year Old Wont Listen already.

4. Promote Co-operation

A 4 year old not listening and talking back needs to learn how to co-operate. Try to find triggers in their behaviour that lead to more defiant behaviour and behaviour that continually pushes boundaries.

A good example is if they continually say the word ‘NO’ or ‘It Wasn’t Me’

Now, what you can try to do is avoid using these words in your everyday sentences as you know they are a trigger for rebellion.

For example, don’t say:

No, don’t draw on the wall!

Why did you leave the water on?

You can’t have that cup, it’s mine!

But instead say:

“There are pencil marks on the wall”

“Leaving water on wastes water”

“Please use your special cup instead”

Try to frame your commands in ways that don’t trigger your child’s disruptive behaviour or engages in argument and power struggles.

Remember, Your child will better cooperate with you when they feel they are given some autonomy in everyday activities.

For example, ask your child to help sweep or take laundry out. You can do it together and then provide positive reinforcement for the behaviour.

Test New Methods

Every child is different and learning how to get a 4 year old to listen without yelling means finding a strategy that works for you.  

Children tend to show defiance if they don’t feel that you are talking to them in ways that feel directly impacts them. You will need to try a few different strategies to see what methods of communication work and which ones doesn’t.

Your child will more likely respond to you if they can see that you understand their emotions, empathise with their situation and are fair with your requests.

The best way to do this is to show your child that you are a parent first but also there to support and help them with their everyday struggles.

Remember, younger children that are showing defiance and are not listening to parents are often times going through a phase or could be showing developmental tensions.

Ava Miller

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

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