How do you get your 3 year old to listen without yelling all the time?
Sometimes it seems like toddlers and preschoolers only listen when you talk really loud (a.k.a. yell). What is another strategy to get your child to listen without yelling all the time?
You should avoid yelling at all costs. My 3 yo is an alpha boy for sure...and every time I have yelled or used commanding language, he has logged it in his mind and spat it back later.
The BEST thing I have done, is invest in gentile discipline. It's been saving our relationship and really helping him learn better behavior through example.
I find the opposite of what you are saying can be true: quiet calm talk , even whispering were always my teaching "secret weapons" and have become my best friends with my son. Also, playful parenting as well! Make something a game...and it's SO much easier. Even holding hands when they don't want to can become a game.
The key is to let go of the archaic notion that hey should "just listen" as if they are soldiers of our army or something (and believe me, this is not easy for me a lot of the time). They need time and understanding and sometimes options so they feel like they have SOME control over their lives. EVERYTHING is in our hands, so of course they want to assert themselves...and we end up frustrated because they are in fact, a WHOLE OTHER PERSON in that little body with a will of their own. It's all a delicate balance...
I usually get down at eye level with my son and say 'quiet, look and listen'. Right after he turned 3 I was struggling with getting him to listen to me. I sat him down and explained what listening meant: be quiet, look at me, hear what I am saying without interruption and then respond to me to let me know he heard me and understood. I used to also have him repeat back to me what I had just said, but now he 'gets it' and I just say 'quiet, look, and listen'. Once I am confident that he knows and understands what I am telling him and why, if the behavior continues be is punished by time out or loss of privilege.
My 4 year old seems to listen best when I'm able to control my emotions, get down to her level and touch her...shoulder, hand, whatever to connect with her...then talk to her like she's a person instead of snapping commands at her. If she still doesn't want to listen...I pick her up and put her in time-out until she's ready to talk to Mommy. Now...if only I could control my emotions all the time... :-)
I sometimes hate the angry person I've become. I hold to the policy "you don't have to raise your voice when you can reinforce your argument." However, that only works if you have someone's attention.
With my 2 toddlers, I have begun counting. I used to get annoyed when people count to their kids. They never get to 3 without wheedling and negotiating or threatening. I, however, have NO problem reaching 3, without a pause... Counting gets their attention & gives me a moment to calm down.
I count slow & steady 1 - 2 - 3. They are to be in front of me, facing me, looking at me, or they receive their consequence(s).
I prefer consequences over punishment. It is a learning tool. Simple vocabulary, but they have to understand they earned the consequences they receive. It was a result of their choice, not my dictatorship.
Sigh... It is an ongoing process, and oftentimes, I find myself yelling out of impatience & frustration, but the quiet counting REALLY works when I am calm enough to not just flip out.
whisper;) Sometimes it gets their attention because they don't want to miss a thing!
1. I've heard singing what you wants to say works. As long as I do it only occasionally, it surprises my girls enough that they often will quiet down to listen. (opera type styling is most startling for us)
2. check for comprehension. A few have referred to this: do you understand; what will you do next... If they don't get it, they can't do it.
And finally, ( my personal favorite)
3. When they are or are becoming out of control, help them learn to control THEMSELVES. This is NOT a time-out or punishment. Simply take them to their room or pre-selected area they can safely be alone. Tell the child that the behavior they were doing is not acceptable to do around other people and that when they are done crying/with their fit/etc and back under control they may come back out to join everyone else. Emphasize that they can choose when the come out by getting themself under control. Close the door as you walk out--just be sure they can get it back open. This works so well, that my strong-willed 6-yr-old will still take herself to her room just BEFORE she looses it (even at grandma's) until she's under control.
As the parent of 5 that're now adults plus a few stepchildren that're also grown, I know how difficult it can be with one or more independent children that will not listen when you want and/or need them to. I have two suggestions that I used for all my now adult kids and am reusuing these two things now that I'm raising a grandchild: 1. Please, ALWAYS keep this in a front corner of your mind: YOUR CHILD IS AN EXPLORER. This world is a new and wonderous place full of exciting, soothing and sometimes dangerous things that your child is compelled to explore. Enjoy this amazing place with them, through their eyes as much and as often as you can. Just remembering that they are an explorer will help you to ease up sometimes. 2. When you need your little child to listen to you, take their hands and place the palm of their hands on the cheeks of their face and hold your hands on theirs firmly enough so that they don't have the option of turning their face away from you. Then proceed to tell them what you need to as quickly and simply as possible. My 2 1/2 year old grandson is so used to his hands being placed on his cheeks (yes, he is independent and willful), he'll actually put them on his face unaided when he knows I need him to listen to me for a sec.
Oh geez do I have this problem! My son can ignore me and overpower my voice like it's his job (I guess it is?) and we used to just put him in time out all the time. I've just started putting him on the "quiet couch" which he'll go to if he's disobeying, not listening, or being too loud/upset. It's like time out, but I put him there for him to calm himself. When he does, I can get on his level and explain (simply) why he needed a minute to himself. It's a tough age, and I think as adults we forget what it's like to frequently feel overwhelmed with emotions that we just can't control. This way, he's not being punished but I can explain to him how I need him to behave and we're both given an opportunity to calm down. It really helps that the couch is in the other room and not directly visible (or audible) from where I am.
If you decide on a punishment for not listening or disobedience. Stick to it and be consistent. The first time they don't listen they get punished. It is hard work on your part but it pays off. Also whispering gets their attention much more than shouting...
I agree with both Annette and Alicia. I have found that my 3 year old listens best if I am calm, get down at her level, touch her arm or hold her hand, and tell her what I expect or want. I try to be careful to use age appropriate language so she understands me, and I ask her if she understands me. If she says she does understand, I then ask her to repeat what I said so I know she truely did understand. If I ask her to do something and she protests or starts to throw a fit, I give her two options. Normally, I give her the option to do what I asked originally or take a time out and then do what I asked. She almost always will stop misbehaving immediately. Giving her options and allowing her to make choices versus demanding she always does what I say is very helpful in most cases. I also try to reinforce good behavior with rewards, lots of hugs and high fives, and letting her know how proud I am of her.
I agree! Yelling or getting upset does not help a thing. I have a 2 yr boy and he is already a little man. I have noticed that if I get upset, raise my voice or get frusterated easily. He mimics it and adds it to his play and how he deals with other children.
What I have started doing is to get eye level with him or hold him in my lap, explain to him why our actions aren't right. Then have him apologize if he has yelled at another child or go in time out if he isn't listening to me or yelling at me. This seems to work well for him and has got better at playing with others.
i have learnt and am learning that being patient and calm,firm and consistant is very important somehow it brings out better results,also if you want to be taken seriously take them seriously as well meaning fulfill your promises make effort to spend quality time together as well
Speak in a quiet voice, this usualy grabs your childs attention as they want to hear what you are saying. You'll find if you are shouting, your childs ears will 'ring' and they tend to scream back at you, not from being cheeky, but because it's their way of wanting you to stop the racket you are making. When my little girl is refusing to listen, she often turns her head and closes her eyes, puts her hands over her ears, I then get down to her height, kneeling on the floor, not cornering her as this is a threat, and I speak in a quiet almost whispering voice until I get her attention. We can then reach a better understanding of what is bothering her. Try not to say no too often, and back it up with ''we will do whatever after.....'' as children often think that no is forever and it seems like the end of the world to them. My eldest is 25 and my youngest is 4, so I am speaking from having been through this dozens of times form different approaches. Of recent I have been opening and closing my mouth with no sound coming out, my little girl comes over and puts her ear to my mouth and tells me ''Your words aren't coming out!!''...I can then tell her what I need to and we can both have a little giggle about my lost voice.
It might sound funny, but I snap my fingers to get his attention and point to my eyes, until he looks me in the eye. When I do that, I have his attention and then I talk to him. Surprisingly, I get really good results from that. We avoid a lot of tantrums and yelling when I warn him ahead of time when we're going to stop doing something, like watching his favorite show...ie "After this show is done, no more, and it's going to be time for bed." My husband laughed at me for walking into the room to remind him every 5 minutes or so, but I made it relatable-"How would you like it if I just walked into the room and shut your video game off?" "Pretty mad" "See?" Although I do believe that children are meant to obey their parents, it's easy to forget they have feelings very similar to ours, they just can't communicate them as we can.
I find that it works best if I kneel down to her level, talk calmly and face to face.. Always works. She listens so well with that. Yelling doesn't work. You have to get to their level!
Keep calm, keep your tone quiet and firm.... and if you have to say it over and over it wont kill you... also getting down to their level is important, it shows them that you care and are not trying to make them feel insecure. Dont back down from what you are trying to implement, and stay strong and consistent. You can do it.
I have a 3 yr old grandson who is very focused on his interests over his mom"s voice. She looks closely at him and points to her nose until she has his attention (one or two seconds) Then, she calmly tells him in a normal voice, whatever she wants to say, such as "we will listen to this song one more time, and then?" He answers, "then, we're all done." It works every time! She uses the same thing for "3minutes more" or "2 books, then bedtime"
My daughter is 4 years old. I find that the good old fashioned " take away my privilages" works well. You might think what privilages does a 3 or 4 year old has, well little things like no play dough, no colouring or drawing or even going to play at a friends house all get to the little one in some way. It helps us! Good Luck.
I am a mother of a strong willed 6 and 3 year old boys. My 6 year old likes to yell at me to get his point across. My 3 year old is a sweet easy going child. He adores his big brother. He is having issues at daycare with wanting to yell and hit. Behavor that I do not see from him at home. I have tried all tatics to get it through he cannot act that way there. He gets to a frustration level and just yells. I remind him about good choices and how to act, but we are having an issue everyday. It seems to have a lot to do with sharing. I agree with many posts. I just need some more ideas of how to help my sweet boy at home can be seen at school. Thanks
this is an issue for me too..my daughter is a 3 n a half yr old n evn i have to yell her most of the time...i dnt knw wat i shud do...still no improvement,yet i have no solution for this matter.what can i do??
I make my 3 year old daughter look at me, so that I know her attention. I then tell her to stop, or I tell her what I need her to do. Sometimes I have the TV on, and I have to turn it off to get her to listen, and pay attention.
My son is a screamer. His first reaction when hurt, mad, happy, excited or sad is to scream. It drives me and my husband nuts and we found that we would end up screaming at him to get him to stop screaming. It was ridiculous. I have found that the best way to get him to stop is for me to stop talking. ( I know this sounds crazy) If I have been repeating myself or calling his name and no response, I stop what I am doing and quietly wait for him to look at me. It usually only takes a few seconds. I do not know why but it works. Then once I have his attention I let him see me take a deep breath, and make sure to speak slowly and softly. At first this was very hard for me to do, but I have found he responds much better. Another thing I do is whisper in his ear. if we are in public and he is do something he shouldn't, I lean over and whisper in his ear. Usually telling him to stop and the consequence if he does not.
I know none of my kids listen well when I yell. I have one that laughs, one that has a complete meltdown, and one it just depends on the day. Yelling is not ever a good approach, not saying I haven't done it, just saying it usually backfires. I have found that sitting down with them and looking right into their eyes and explaining to them why what I am telling them is important has the greatest impact. In an emergency situation like telling them to get out of the road, I grab them and tell them firmly that is not okay and now we have to go inside. Yelling is the easiest thing to do, and other better methods are harder, but work better, it is just harder to have the discipline to do it. I still have days. The greatest reminder to me of why yelling doesn't work is when I see my kids yelling at each other. It usually ends up in a physical fight, whereas if they had talked softly and nicely to each other, everyone probably would have gotten what they wanted. I am trying to teach my kids that and also myself.
The first thing I do is get good sleep myself. If I'm cranky than I'm more likely to yell. I will have my daughter sit down (if upset until she calms down). Then I sit down in front of her and tell her again what she needs to do, or not do (then what she needs to do instead). I try leave yelling for those times when I need her attention immediately, ie she's about to do something dangerous. That way she logs it in with danger and not (oh boy mom is mad, again). Most of the time all I have to say is her name. I try to make sure no matter what that I use pleases and thank yous. So if I need her to come to me I'll say, "Please come here." When she listens and does what I ask I say thank you. I feel that showing her respect will give me respect back.
I've also found that when she's sleep deprived it takes more to get her to listen. So I make sure that she gets plenty of sleep herself.
high expectations, and consistency.
If you do not want your child walking in the house with his shoes on, then everytime they come inside you have to remind them about thier shoes, in a calm voice, and eventually it comes naturally.
This is the same process for everything - eating, getting ready for bed, getting in the car, going shopping, tidying up, going pee.. everything!
Stay consistent, and make your rules clear.
get down at there level and talk to them. dont yell take the time to go up to them put your hand on them. simple and repeating seems to work like if you want them to wash there hands and they wont listen say time to wash your hands now. they say no say i hear that you dont want to do it but its time to wash your hands and stand your ground keep saying nope its time to wash your hands now then you can..... fill in blank dont reason give the command and leave it at that but keep a calm voice they will give up and make sure you follow through.Its hard at first but they learn mom means it and i better just do it and get it over with. i have a 3 and 2 year old it works great for them
I sometimes....well, most of the time have to tell my daughter that she wont get something she really wants or can't see someone she really wants to see, etc. Right now what seems to be a pretty good threat is telling her she's not gonna go to school and see her friends. She loves school right now and loves playing with her friends so it works every time!
Sometimes I get really close in his face and tell him sternly in a low voice what I except and want him to do.
heres a difficult situation my 4 year old grandaughter lives with her mummy since her mummy and daddy split up almost a year ago, my son, her daddy see's her aleast 3 or 4 nights over a week. the behaviour has got worst gradually. when they were together she had such good behaviour and would always do as she was told, now she plays up and sulks when she dosn't get her way, and always seems to get so upset when shes told NO!, she also says she want to go back to mummy when shes upset and her mummy tells us she does the same to her, any ideas how to deal with this in a calm way?
my 2 year old son is pretty good when its just me and him all day while his older sister and his dad are out all day long, i did recently have to start telling him ''NO'' a little bit more often when he acts out, for some reason though he only acts out when we go to get his sister at school or when his grandparents are around him for an extended period of time.. This week alone ive only had to swat his hand 2 times and even then it was just enough to tell him to snap out of his bad behavior like spitting or screaming at the top of his lungs when im talking to someone.. again, that behavior has only happened when his grandparents have been around, or we go and get his sister at school.....
When you yell at a child it is usually because you are angry. My sons knew when I was angry with them, Instead of yelling at them, I placed them in the time out chair, left the room to counted to ten. When I calmed down, I went to them and we talked about why they were given a time out. Yelling only scares a child and defeat the purpose. Stop to think about it, when you yell you are throwing a temper tantrum. Good role model with three years old. Children learn by example and what better way to teach them by approaching them calmly and firmly without yelling. Being consistent and firm and patient will get far better results then yelling. It is important that young children learn that there is a consequence for negative behavior. It is also important to be fair and consistent. Believe me it will make a big difference when they become teens. It is even more important to know that knowing that there are consequences of one's action when they go off to college. Been there and have survived.
i walk right up to mine with my "mommy face" on and get right in her face, and speak very low. she knows i mean business because if i need to i follow it up with a spanking, or making her sit in the "crybaby" chair.
You read Sharon Silver's post. That's what you do. I don't know her from Adam, but her post sums up yours. Her post is about parents who have to continuously repeat what they say to their children and how to prevent that from happening again.
However, your post is about listening, correct? Correct. I would apply the same tactics from her post to yours. Look at your child, I mean REALLY look your child in the face the next time you yell. You can almost SEE them not listening. It's because they aren't. Wait. I take that back. They hear HOW LOUD YOUR VOICE IS. After that......pretty much nothing.
One of the misconceptions about children, is that they are just little people who don't understand alot of things. Children are not stupid. Every child DESERVES the chance to learn. Every child DESERVES to be respected as well.
Having mentioned that, let me ask you this: Do you like getting yelled at? I don't. I get upset because they are upset. So I either walk away (after politely explaining why) or I drown them out. I hate to admit this about myself, but I've done it too!! Well, it's disrespectful to drown someone out when they are yelling. But guess what? Children don't know that. You have to TEACH them the correct way to communicate.
By the way.....are you listening to them? I urge you to change the way you have been communicating with these children. They are also at the very tender age of learning. Please don't allow them to think this is the best way. It never is.
You ask how to get them to listen. Well, you are the adult here. They don't know how to listen. YOU have to show them. Treat them with respect. Speak to them like you would your mother-except use "children speak" to do so. Be patient. Their thoughts get stuck sometimes. It would help your case, if they saw you listening WELL to someone else (that's speaking to you). There is no special formula for what you are asking. It boils down to respecting them the way you would want to be respected. End of story. :P
I talk sternly but with a low voice. She listens better than if I yelled at her (which I got out of the habit of doing when she was much younger. Try whispering or putting them in time out to give both of you a break to cool off then explain the inappropriate behavior and how to correct it. If you feel the need to yell, take a step back and count to ten. Try not to lose your temper.
Addison is now 4 years old and if we can't get her attention, for instance I have called her to come do something and she has not come or says "just a minute mom", I go back to counting to 3. She knows she had better be there doing what I need by three...we really haven't figured out what will happen if she doesn't come by 3, she has always listened! We have done a time out here or there. Mostly letting her know that she needs to do what mommy/ daddy/teachers etc. say before she can do her "fun" activities...it teaches responsibility. As I heard from another mom above...I get down to her level and speak to her calmly. Her teachers have told us how well she communicates what she needs w/out screaming or crying. Definitely still learning along the way and totally appreciate reading all the advice.
good question...still waiting for the answer on that one !! :-)
Walk over to where the child is at and talk to him/her.
i try to use short easy to understand commands for my 3 year old daughter. i also try to remember she is only 3 and is just starting to understand things. but i still catch myself getting frustrated with her or getting loud. if she is ignoring me i will tell her bye( not actually leaving her) or give her well i guess since your not listening we won't... whatever( like color or eat a cookie)
My 3 yr old at times only responds to yelling. I believe that its because he is so full energy and learning independence and wants to do what he wants to do. I take things and he gets punished and I stick to it. If I tell him to do something and he doesn't and I feel that I'm about to start yelling I just take away his bike for a day and I let him know why I'm taking it so that the next time he will listen.