How do I get my almost 3 year old to mind.

Danielle - posted on 01/27/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My almost 3 year old tunes me out. Night time is awful. Trying to get her pjs on and teeth brushed. She spins circles, lays on the floor, won't look at you...ect. Picking up her toys... let's not even go there. I hate to yell at her, which I do, I put her in time out, she could care less. The only way I can get her attention is to pop her on the butt. I hate that. I don't want to have to be that kind of mom. Help!

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Lily - posted on 01/27/2010

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This is tough! My son just turned 3 and we fight many of these problems too. Part of the problem is that they are 3! Developmentally, their desire to want to do it their way is very strong. Repitition and patience needed:) First - I know it is hard (and believe me I fail at this too sometimes) but try to remain calm but firm, if she knows she's getting to you it will often encourage more bad behavior. Second, if you haven't already, try to institute a routine (not necessarily a strict schedule but an order to things so she knows what to expect next), Third, get down to her level and look her eye to eye while you are talking to her. Fourth, give lots of positive reinforcement (clap, cheer, get excited) on the rare occasions that she does do what you want her to do. Fourth, try to use a little reverse psychology - for instance - when you want her to help pick up her toys: try to make it a game - "I bet I (mommy) can put those dolls away faster than you can" and act all silly trying to "rush" to beat her. As far as brushing teeth goes, we went with a suggestion from our dental hygienist - we have a rule- in the mornings I allow him to brush his teeth himself without any help, at night (which is more important) mommy brushes first (2 minutes) then he is allowed to finish himself. I am firm about it and remind him A LOT about the rules. I've explained that it is really important to "get the sugar bugs off", etc. He still gives us a hard time sometimes, but more times than not it works. Something else that has helped us a lot is a Chores chart - we listed 4-5 "chores" and give a star for each day of the week completed - at the bottom of the chart lists a reward for x amount of stars. For instance: chores - brush teeth, help pick up toys, be gentle with others (minimal hitting/biting his 1 1/2 yr old sister), wash face and hands. After 20 stars he gets a trip to the park or local zoo. We do use time outs too. We have one corner that we use and he must sit facing the corner. If he tries to leave, move, etc. we calmly put him back in it. We make him stay for 3 minutes (1 minute for each yr of his age). When it is over I have him come over to me, I get down to his level, I make him look me in the eyes and explain to me why he was in time out. Then I give him a hug and tell him I love him. I must admit that I too have spanked him in the butt too in exhasperation, but I know that it backfires in the long run... I hope that these hints are helpful. The take home message is that it is developmentally normal for a 3 year old to not want to cooperate...have a support system (like circle of moms) to help you cope & try to remember they won't be 3 forever!

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