How do I get my three year old to listen and follow directions?

MarceK - posted on 12/30/2010 ( 229 moms have responded )

19

17

0

My 3 year old daughter is incredibly loving and fun, but she does not want to listen to me and my husband..ever! She wants her way or no way. Unfortunately, she has been getting her way for 3 years. But now she has a 2 month old baby brother whom she is very jealous of. I make sure that I play with and give her as much attention as I can. I tell her I love her all the time. She is such a softhearted girl.. and good for her daycare provider and at school. How can I get her to listen to me? Especially at bedtime???

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Cynthia - posted on 12/30/2010

41

15

2

Well, all children are different but I think the key is consistency. For "start" behaviors such as brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, picking up toys, etc., things you want them to do basically, reward charts can do wonders. If you're getting ready for bed you can use the whole routine as one thing if it seems like she's getting too many stickers too fast (you don't want to have to reward her every night). But you don't want it to take too long either, especially since she's three. When I wanted my daughter to start working on going potty all by herself, without me in the bathroom with her, i made a chart with a picture of Tinkerbell in the background and wrote the numbers 1 - 10 in marker across it. Every time she went she got a sticker.... when she reached the number 5 she got a small treat (maybe a small bowl of m&ms or tv time or something of the sort) and when she reached 10 a bigger treat (not too big, you don't want to set a precedent of spending $20 every time she fills a chart, lol) maybe a small toy or whatever you see fit.

For stop behaviors: general misbehaviors, things you don't want them to do. I use a 1, 2, 3 method. Basically, it's this: My daughter won't listen so I say "1", give it a few seconds, she still doesn't listen "2", a few seconds then "3, timeout"... she goes to timeout for 5 minutes (1 minute per year of age). Younger kids can be harder to get to do timeout... it can be REALLY hard. But if that's the route you want to take you HAVE to stick with it and if you threaten it you have to follow through. Otherwise, the child will learn that the counting means nothing. Usually with my daughter all I have to say is "1" and she'll listen. Most of the time anyway, lol. My son is another story, but it's starting to work. If your child gets up during the timeout (which she probably will) you have to take them by the hand and bring them back. And do the same thing over and over until they sit there. Don't talk to her during the timeout. My son tries to say "I have to go pee!" But I ignore him and he never pees, he's just trying to get up. Don't kill yourself making it to 3 minutes, sometimes I'll just do 2 for my 3 yr old, just make sure you set a timer and she hears it go off; but don't give in because she's crying and screaming either. Usually my younger son will cry and scream most of the time and I tell him when he quiets down (for about 30 secs) then he can get up. For me I think it would be impossible to expect him to sit there for 3 minutes silently. When the timeout is over have her come to you and you say "do you know why I put you in timeout?" and if she doesn't tell her why. Don't go into a big long explanation. Just short and to the point. You can ask her to apologize (if you believe in that, some ppl think that forcing an apology isn't such a good thing... I guess I'm on the fence, I do have them apologize, but I don't have to force it usually. Now when they do it usually they'll give each other a hug and say "sorry, sissy".

Many ppl give up on the timeouts because it can be really difficult. And since I only know my own two children I can't make the judgement that it absolutely works on all kids, but I do think it can work for most kids if done right. I've been doing it for a long time and especially with my son who is uh... "high spirited" lol, it can be really hard. But it does work now. I still have to keep putting him back but most of the time it's just a few times. It can get REALLY intense, if you let it (and sometimes I do, unfortunately). The best thing is to stay calm and keep putting them back (if possible!!) If the timeout doesn't work, or doesn't seem right to you, or doesn't fit the crime you can take away a toy. (say she's throwing her toys, obviously timeout wouldn't make as much sense as just taking away the toy for the rest of the day or 2 days). Make sure your threats are do-able. In frustration my husband or I have threatend things like taking the toy away forever or throwing it away when just the threat of losing it for a day or two is enough. I've been doing this (though not perfectly by any means) since my first child was around 2 and I've got to say it works really well and they're great kids, though kids will be kids and they still fight and have their fits at times.

Good luck!

Amanda - posted on 12/31/2010

2,559

3

365

IMO the biggest mistake we can make as parents, is counting!! What are you teaching a child when you count to 3? That its ok to misbehave until the number 3. This is not ok, when you say no, it means no! Stick to it. If they do not listen right away, you can give her a bit of time to correct herself, but DO NOT count! When you feel you have told her enough times (depending on age of course) that what she is doing is wrong, then punish her. Do not give her warning time, its a totally crazy concept that gives children mixed messages.



I have mixed feelings on treats for doing things they are suppose to do. I have raised 3 kids and never had to use a sticker chart, treat system. In my house if you been good and mom thinks you deserve something you get it. You dont get to watch a chart and only decide to behave when you feel like you need a sticker. I wonder sometimes if this sticker chart, award system is what is making so many entitled co dependent 20 year olds. You dont get award everytime you do the dishes do you? Or do your work correctly at your work place? So why should a child be awarded everytime they do something that is expected of them? I totally understand allowences for older children who do more then is expected of them Ie dishes, shoveling the drive way. As well as it teachs them responsbility of money and prepares them for the work place (you work hard you make money, you do nothing you have nothing).



My best advice is to be firm, make sure the rules are the same everyday and dont give in. You fold once, childern will remember that and behave the same way next time to get you to fold agian.

Laura - posted on 12/31/2010

781

26

150

I respectfully have to disagree with your assessment of "counting", Amanda. It is a very useful tool for parents to have at their disposal when encouraging young children to focus and make good choices. This method has had some very solid studies/research to back it up, too. With that said, it IS only one method among many that parents have to choose from, including your method of "immediate response or consequence (punishment)". What ultimately works for a parent will be whatever they are comfortable using AND what method seems to work with their kids. Not all children will respond the same way to direction or disciplinary measures.

Likewise Cynthia's description of using a star/sticker chart is simply another tool that a parent can use. This particular tool is a visual means by which a child can set goals to accomplish, with rewards for making good choices that lead to the goal. Again, this tool has good reasearch behind it as being effective. Yet not all children will be motivated by it! My own daughter could have cared less about keeping track of her choices toward achieving a particular goal. So I didn't use them. I had to find other motivational tools to get her to make good choices. For her it was M&M's. I could get her to do just about anything for an M&M! That's because we didn't eat much candy or sweets when she was little so those tiny chocolate buttons were like gold to her. Granted, food rewards come with their own pros and cons, but ultimately that is what motivated my daughter so I used that tool. Each parent has to find that motivator for their particular child.

I do, however, Amanda, agree with you on the OVER-use of reward systems and methods. As with any tool, mis-use and abuse can occur. Kids can become conditioned to only doing what "the chart" wants them to do and only if the reward is sufficient. Working for the reward becomes the goal, not making the good choices that will get them there. So with all tools, care and judicious use must be applied by the parent(s). As motivated as my daughter was by M&M's, I did NOT use them for everything--only for very specific tasks or skill development. I probably could have, though! This is where it becomes important for parents to spell out "expectations" of behavior--those qualities of behavior that the child must exhibit because they are simply expected to show them. Polite manners are an example of expectations.

Finally, whatever method of motivation and consequence you choose, consistancy is a must! Positive motivation only works if used consistantly. Discipline only works if used consistantly. Hope some of this helps and best of luck to you!

[deleted account]

Good advice so far, I have one thing to add. Check your tone when you're correcting your daughter. If what you are feeling is guilt for having to punish her, she's likely to see it in your face or hear it in your voice. Correct her firmly, lovingly, and without apologizing for it.

[deleted account]

My opinion on the tantrum you just described...take it or leave it...

I think you are catering to her without realizing it. Once you say nap, pick her up and put her in her room. Don't talk to her, it's just making the process longer, longer time for her to be up and in control. Don't go back in to rock her. She's screaming because she knows you'll come back in. This is way past the stage of "to cry it out or not." A three year old CAN manipulate, and I think that's what's she's doing.

Now, mom, other than that it sounds like you've got a great kid. And it's wonderful that you take time with her for crafts, etc.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

229 Comments

View replies by

Jwan - posted on 01/06/2011

4

13

0

First can your 3 year old hear well or are her ears conjested from allergies, colds, etc. I had a misbehaving 4 year old and then discovered that her hearing would come and go from her allergies. Do an informal test by standing around a corner and asking her to bring you a specific toy. I the hearing is okay, try only giving her a command of one or maybe two things in sequence. "Pick up the ball and bring it to mommy" rather than pick up the ball, roll it to the corner put it in the toybox and then pick up your blocks." Three year olds can't function with too many steps. Also know that age three is a time when they are still only beginning to learn to share and that includes your time. She isn't ready to be selfless at her age. She is supposed to be selfish. That is nature's way of insuring survival. Do start relying on her good heart and help her want to be a "good big sister". Praise her when she's gentle with her brother. Tell her he's "her" baby brother and allow her to develop a sense of pride in what is "hers". And, of course, give her plenty of "special older sister" time.

Calista - posted on 01/06/2011

2

9

0

That sounds just like my 3 year old!!! All I can say is that when you find the answer can you please let me know!!!!

Lori - posted on 01/06/2011

13

45

0

Terrible 2, terrifying 3, frightful 4, fearless 5, sassy 6....The rule is you give them boundaries. They test to see if that is a definite limit. Parents need to be solid. If you give it has to be on your terms, not the childs. This gives the child security. The world is as it should be. Cuz mom/dad said.

Cynthia - posted on 01/06/2011

11

14

0

that is too funny because I feel your pain. I have a 3 1/2 grandaughter who has been in my daycare since birth. She now has a brother who is 18 months old and they fight. I feel your pain. She has come to realize that I am mom mom and not her teacher and my home is my house and not a school (I have a Family Home Childcare). She is a delightful child as well as very intellegent. She sometimes pretend to be the teacher and I sometimes find her telling the other children what to do and how to do it. However she does not want to listen. This is very interesting so I too am waiting for the answer

Trudy - posted on 01/06/2011

7

13

0

she also can reach the door knobs but i would not take the knobs off thats just me tho what ever works for other parents.. she is for some reason of seperation anixety problems not sure if its because of the 2 older siblings moving back with there mother and not seeing them or what is going on. my husband had to go to the hospital a few nights ago and we stayed home due to i didn't feel right takeing her out in the cold weather and exposing her to all the sick people at the hospital.. and of course she cried almost the whole time he was gone and worried that he wasn't comming home . so i am wondering if this is the separation anixety or something close to it . but getting back to the bed time battles they are not every night but more then not..if that makes sense. i hope this is all just her age and a phase. they say the terrible 2's i don't even believe that one anymore..:) because 2s were so much easier then its been for us during the 3s but alot has happen family issues money issues and medical issues since her turning 3.

Alexis - posted on 01/06/2011

59

21

0

I do bargain, I take things away, I have done time outs, and am still having issues. SHE IS SO STUBBORN! Still trying, still failing. SO the battle goes on. LOL

Lori - posted on 01/06/2011

13

45

0

Role play...have her take the parenting role and you act out first behavior you like and add a touch of what you don't like. You and your husband can reverse the jealousy to her with role playing. Say a family member or in your home.

Lynda - posted on 01/06/2011

13

4

2

since you let her have her way it won't be easy. But you will have to draw a line in the sand. Then you MUST STICK TO IT.
She is certainly old enough to bargin with. so start with that. "If you will do__________, then I will do __________" Once she gets the idea of working with you, you can set up a reward chart for good behavior that is very short term. Like if you listen to Mommy we put a star on your chart and when you have 3(which could happen before lunch) then _____________will happen. Could be play a game, get out a special toy, spend some Mommy or Daddy and me time. They need to be very very small rewards. Because that way you get wiggle room to increase the number and the reward. Some people will say this is bribing kids. If that is true then everyone who works for a paycheck is bribed. It will help her to listen more automatically. On the flip side point out situations where not listening could bring really bad results like you could get hurt, or make yourself sick or whatever. You could also use timeouts if she is being very defiant. Being a parent is not about being liked it is about teaching kids correct behavior. respect is important. For everyone. You could also show her how it feels if you don't listen to her.

Alexis - posted on 01/06/2011

59

21

0

I have issues with my 3 year old as well, there are no other children in the pic. And am a single mom. I don't let her get her way all to much. She can be really good, but when she wants er way she will FIGHT! And bedtime is a joke, minus strapping her in I have tried everything!

Janice - posted on 01/06/2011

37

17

0

Patricia, When I first starting reading your posts, I felt you were coming on too strong but after I read your whole post I realized that it was necessary to be that blunt. Thank you for sharing. These posts can help all of us in one way or another.

Patricia - posted on 01/06/2011

59

55

1

That IS very frightening and Yes, You should be VERY scared....if her temper, jelousy, etc isn't dealt with very soon, throwing things, kicking and screaming, trying to turn a coffee table over, are gonna be the LEAST of your and your families' troubles. Your daughter is VERY minipulative and my Prayer for you and your family is that you either find on this discussion board what works for you to discipline her (this behavior of your daughters is VERY UNACCEPTABLE and she needs to understand this, even if she does NOT understand this should be conveyed to her the very SECOND she does any of this bad behavior....) or get some professional advice. This kind of behavior escalates if not nipped in the bud....I know a family who blew off their 8th childs severe temper tantrums and did not deal with them by consistant discipline of course mom and dad felt very sorry for her because mom just had child #9 and it was very ''hard'' on this poor child. This ''poor child''s behavior escalated to stalking a boyfriend at 13 (yes, STALKING police were called on her SEVERAL times for this....), bullying other people as she got older, including and ESPECIALLY family members, I hear from family that she has a gambling problem. This person I am talking about is related to me and I watched this played out in my family for YEARS........Please DON'T let be played out in yours ♥
You and your family are on my heart and in my Prayers
God Bless

Ashley - posted on 01/06/2011

2

8

0

Hi, i am going through a very similar situation with my daughter who will be three next month, she too has a new baby brother so i completely get what your going through!!! I have absolutely had enough so i did some research and have now registered in 2 parenting programs that are specific to this kind of behavior. One is called nobody's perfect parenting and the other is called positive parenting program. I know the latter is offered free of charge all over the world, the first, however, is only offered in BC. I can give you more info if you are interested, just email me at ashley_h10@hotmail.com perhaps we can also talk to eachother about what works and what doesnt?

Laurie - posted on 01/06/2011

7

8

0

Dear Wanda,try making toy pick up time a game.You help him and whoever can pick them up the fastest wins! The prize can be a favorite cartoon show for 15-30 min,a snack,a story...Positive discipline would be my first attempt to getting the child to put the toys away.If that doesn't work,I have taken away the toys that were left out, after a warning.Of course there were tears,but if you do it just one time and stay calm,but resolved that the toy is to remain in your keeping for 1 hour or 1 day(I wouldn't keep it too long since he's only three),then he'll know he can trust you and take you at your word.When the toy is returned,reinforce the why you took it and that you hope he obeys you so you'll never have to do that again.I rarely used spanking on my children because they learned early I meant what I said.I usually saved that form of discipline for direct disobedience.Threats don't work!You'll find yourself becoming stressed out and tired from the argueing and then you'll turn into a "yeller"who isn't taken seriously.That is a vicious,unproductive cycle.It's like a scripted play and you each have your lines.You'll say your lines and they say theirs or behave in a certain way....back and forth it goes,always with the same result.You'll teach your child to be respectful of you and others if you are consistant and calm.You'll be doing your child a huge favor if you teach them Life's lesson about choice and consequences.Expect them to test you from time to time...don't you check to see if a door is locked?Your child loves you and wants your approval.It's up to you to show them how to do that.

Arren - posted on 01/06/2011

1

0

0

I am in a similiar situation. My son will be 3 in April and he has a new sister who is just 2 months old. What we have found is routinue routinue routine is the answer. As well my son knows that he gets special one on one time right before bed time with Mommy. As well we make sure that one of his favorite stuffed animals are in our room and when its time to bed we use it as a tool to get him to go to bed.
I hope this helps!

Kristin - posted on 01/06/2011

1,645

40

305

Post the rules, be consistent. Her world has been turned upside down. She will settle again with time, age, and consistency.

Anya - posted on 01/06/2011

2

24

0

he most important thing, in my opinion, is to prvide a predictable oving rhythm for the young child. If you establish a bed time rhythm wich is thesame each day, for example: dinner, bath, story (preferrably in her bed with low lighting). then bed time (where maybe she can share something that happened that day wth you or your husband) will give he the consistency and attenion she needs. f she does not want to listen at first, just reinforce the rhythm by saying "You MAY get in the bath now" or "You MAY get into bed now". Afr a few days she will know what to expect, and the rhythm wil be its own dicipline. Children feel nurtured and loved when there are rules which have maning, and are reinforced. Good luck!

Sherry - posted on 01/06/2011

5

6

0

I know how difficult 3 year olds can be. I think when my son was 3 - 4 was the hardest time of parenting. It wasn't until around his 5th birthday that he actually started listening to us. The only advice I have is pretty much what everyone else said. Be consistent, and hang in there. Good luck!

Michelle - posted on 01/06/2011

3

11

0

it feels soooo good too know i am not alone thank you circle of moms my new bffs

Jade - posted on 01/06/2011

20

13

1

oh and as for bedtime, i do calm down and tidy time, drink, teeth, toilet, story, bed, has worked for her and her two year old bro

Jade - posted on 01/06/2011

20

13

1

my daughter is going through same stage drives me mental, i realised i was using empty threats like ur toys r being thrown out and im gona smack you in a minite which id never follow through, so i started saying 1st warning stop what ever it is she was doing naughty or she'd sit on the time out spot, 2nd time she would be there, if she did it after her timeout it was to her room, i also found a reward chart good, her rewards are to go to the park, go to a play center, a treat out like mc donalds or the top one was a magazine gd luck!

Wanda - posted on 01/06/2011

2

18

0

Don't feel bad, I too have a 3 yr. He does not want to listen either sometimes we threatened to spank him and sometimes he will do what we ask him to do especially picking up his toys and sometimes he don't. I don't know what to do if anybody has any ideas please let me know!

Lisa - posted on 01/06/2011

1

1

0

You might try giving her a choice of two that still works for you. "Do you want to wear your pink PJ's or the yellow ones?" "Bedtime story or play in your room for 10 minutes?" That way she has some control and you do too. I was worried about my older daughter getting into mischief while I was nursing the new baby so I would have the older one go get a book when I nursed so we could cuddle and read together. It seemed to help the jealousy a lot.

Kim - posted on 01/06/2011

10

21

0

@Carmen, I raised and ADD son. Becareful not to let them label him with this to quickly. Schools seem to call everything ADD. The book Dare to Discipline by James Dobson is an excellent book. Also, I find that the show Supernanny has awesome chlidrearing tiops that you can begin to use right away. Hang in there!

Ann - posted on 01/06/2011

12

0

1

I just read your post describing your daughter's tantrum..here's a quick tip that has worked for me (I have 4 kids, 2 boys and twin girls). When she has a tantrum, totally stop trying to complete the activity that you are doing (like putting her down for a nap) Tell her that you just can't talk to her when she's behaving like that but you will talk to her as soon as she is done kicking and screaming. Then leave her in her room and close the door. If she comes out and is still in the midst of the tantrum, put her back and tell her that you really want to talk to her about how she feels, but you can't do it until she stops screaming and kicking. Do not rock her, hold her, or otherwise engage her until she totally stops...and then be sure to praise her and give her lots of hugs and tell her how glad you are that she has calmed down so you can talk - at that point you can offer a choice about what happens next...at three, maybe she doesn't need a nap every day, so you could say she doesn't have to sleep but she could pick a quiet activity like books or a movie to have some rest time for an hour. This has worked wonders for me - sometimes the tantrum continues for a while - the first time or two maybe even for a long time - but when the child realizes that you will not deal with them unitl it all stops, they always come around. As my girls got a little older (they are 10 now), they would settle down quickly and then come out saying "sorry Mom...can we talk about it?" Try it!

Joyce - posted on 01/06/2011

87

4

2

Here's a Newsflash! No one can sit a 3yr old down and say: "Now it's time to learn to listen to what Mommy says." That's a job that really does begin at day 1. If you've been giving into a sweet-faced blondie for 3 years, you have set into motion a chain of events that will be very hard for her to unlearn bc you have taught her to believe that she can do as she likes. The task at hand is immediate and you must set the tone for her to understand while she is still little that there are consequences for negative behaviors. And you must be a consistent provider of that. Along with this, you need to remember to praise her effusively when she is a good girl. And help her keep track of her accomplishments on a star chart, so she can physically see her accomplishments at will. She can earn stars for every good behavior and she will only see stars. Don't let her see anything negative. And never take away what she has earned. Just remind her that negative behaviors mean no stars. And when she reaches a goal of star amounts, she gets a reward! And rewards can be very small things like a pretty barrette. And as time goes on, she has to achieve more stars to earn her rewards. When she reaches her goals, Mommy should gush like crazy and produce the reward immediately, bc young children cannot wait. Lots of smile and hugs!!!! Trust here, Mom...I was a teacher for 25 years and raised 2 daughters, 1 w/ ADHD. They're good people now!! Good luck!!

Eleanor - posted on 01/06/2011

4

16

0

ask her to help you children like to be a part of you and helping you with the baby is a way for her to know him

Staci - posted on 01/06/2011

37

43

0

I agree with whomever said that this is a place not to judge others posts, everyone here is trying to be helpful. I guess I lie somewhere in the middle. I do consistant TO's with one warning, and also use counting mostly in public so that TO's are minimized outside the home. I used sticker/rewards charts for potty training and preschool as well as home made photo books in a 3 ring binder showing photos of correct and incorrect behavior to read before bed. My son who loves to read especially liked the books that I can change with whatever problem we are having. Even putting in activities or positive things sprinkled inbewteen so it doesn't feel like a lecture. Charts don't last forever (he only had the potty chart for a month) and I even switch the reward, somtimes it's an extra juice box for the week, a new cracker, an m&m. His choice of weekend place to go. Small plastic toy from the gumball machine at the grocery...As for the new baby jealously, my situation was a bit different my son was less than 2 when I had my daughter so he didn't understand as much as yours, but I shadowed him during her naps, played with him the way you are and pumped every day so that when my husband came home, there was a feeding for him AND a period of nightime routine that I could be present for like bath or stories and would switch this so my son felt that everyone had equal time. I do agree with everyone else, consistant and firm is going to get you through this. When she knows you are serious, then she'll get the message, it might take awhile. Lastly, my son dropped his nap at 3, not every kid does, and then he went to bed early instead. I think when he got down to 1 hour I knew it was coming. My daughter 2.5 is slowly creeping up on that. We push her farther into the afternoon as to assure a nap. She is currently sleeping from 2 or 3 to 5pm, but just this week, she has started to complain about it. I know her vocalization of this will get worse in the upcoming months, but I'll keep moving the time up until she's ready. Good luck, I don't envy you I found 3 one of the hardest ages so far in my limited experience, and about to do it for a second time :)

Ellen - posted on 01/06/2011

3

14

0

Tell her but be firm that Mommy and Daddy are in charge and that if she continues to be disrespectful to your rules that you will take away her favorite things she likes to do. My son Josh was like that all the way through Elementary School. If he didn't listen to me or my husband and his teachers then he got things taken away and believe me he didn't like it. He got a lot of recess taken away in school and play time at home as well and for time outs don't usually work in some cases but do try taking things away from her that she likes really well and get her stay in her room for time out for 10 min. to have her think of what she had done wrong and then discuss it with her why she is being punished for at her age 3 make it clear for her under standing by facing her at her level so she understands, Let me if this works for you. Ellen Cantrell, Archie, Mo. PS; My son Josh is now 16 years old. And he still doesn't listen to me. So I have to use a different approach at this age level.

Martha - posted on 01/06/2011

1

2

0

Give her responsibilites with her brother like helping change a diaper or picking out clothes. My girls are 15 months apart and I did this with them. Then at bedtime you can tell her that she needs to get her rest so that she can help you with the baby. It won't hurt to give this idea a try.

Heidi - posted on 01/06/2011

51

35

1

My 3 year old son is pretty much the same way. I took him to the doctor because his daycare provider said he was really active and aggressive. Basically she said that he need firm discipline. What I do with my son is give him two choices, one witth the right one I want him to pick and one that is ok with me if he just listens to me. We have also started using time out more. I don't have two children but I do have an idea on how to help with her jealously about having a new baby around. She would probably do good by helping you with the baby. For example, by getting diapers and wipes or finding toys or bottles for you when you need it. But you are doing the right thing about making sure she knows she is loved and still wanted. Good luck......keep up the consistency....

Denise - posted on 01/06/2011

8

6

1

I've got an almost 3-year-old son and a 16-month-old daughter. All children are jealous of their siblings, but what we've done with my son is to explain to him how important he is to his baby sister, that she wants to be just like him, that he can teach her all kinds of things, that when he was a baby he did all the same things she does now, etc. This is definitely a real ego boost for him and helps him get perspective on being a sibling. We also really try to help him label his emotions, when he acts out we ask if he's upset, angry, frustrated or sad because __________, etc. He usually fills in the rest and we talk about how he's feeling and the proper way to express those emotions. Actually there's a really good program on cable called Ni Hao Ki Lan that is specifically oriented towards dealing with emotions and does a really good job of giving children the language to talk about it rather than act it out. I highly recommend it. We also got books on new siblings so that our son could see what his new role would be in the family.

And as someone mentioned earlier in regards to preparing your daughter for naptime, I look in my sons eyes, explain the plan and schedule leading up to naptime so that he's aware of the layout, doesn't necessarily mean there won't be any issues, however it does tend to minimize the chances. Good luck. Two small children is never easy, but it will get easier as time goes on.

Jane - posted on 01/06/2011

31

7

4

To be blunt, stop being afraid of your child. It is OK for them to be upset and cry. It is OK for them not to like your adult decision. It is OK for them to need time to sit in their room. They will not be scarred for life. They will learn to appreciate limits and realize that as unfortunate as it is, the world does not revolve around them.

Korlu - posted on 01/06/2011

2

0

0

I have no answers but it's nice to know I'm not alone. I use guilt n positive reineforcement. When she is out of control I tell her she is hurting my feelings. When she listens I make a fuss and say thank you.

Laurie - posted on 01/06/2011

7

8

0

I've never been a fan of counting for several reasons,safety being one.Three year olds are feeling a little independance.They can go potty by themselves,dress themselves,feed themselves... Your daughter needs you to be gentle,yet firm.The boundries you set actually prove to her that you love her.If it's almost bedtime,perhaps saying __,you have 5 more minutes of play and then we are getting ready for bed.Be constant in schedule,in expectations and in consequences.Set a timer if keeping a schedule is important and you don't want the bath going on too long.Bedtime rituals calm a person no matter what their age and prepares our brain for rest.Having a story read is a great bond time and will give her wonderful memories when she is older.Having a new sibling has made you realize your fun loving child is developing into a tyrant.Of course she's jealous of the new baby since she no longer has you at her beck and call to entertain and wait on her.She needs you to be her mommy,not just her playmate.Boundries offer her security.She knows her role and what is expected.This is why she behaves at school,but not for you.This baby can be a good opportunity to help her grow into a sweet,nurturing and protective big sister.This is her baby too,so let her help.I had 4 boys and about once a month I would take each one out for a "date",just the two of us.We'd go wherever they wanted to go and do an activity and I could just listen while they talked or we could have an uninterrupted discussion about ANYTHING.They enjoyed it so much we continued through High School and even when they came home on leave from the marine corp.It's so good you tell her you love her all the time,but she'll know you do when you parent.Whatever style you chose,remember to never discipline in anger.Be sure to reassure her you love her after her punishment is over.

Sharyn - posted on 01/06/2011

4

19

0

thankfully they don't wet their pants...see my former remark..we need to start our own group. I have 5 children and they didn't drive me crazy as one retired husband does....it's so frustrating.

Sharyn - posted on 01/06/2011

4

19

0

we need to start our own club...circle of wives with retired husbands! who by the way don't follow directions or listen! and then tell you " you never told me that!"n yiesh

[deleted account]

my little girl just turned 5...she has given me a fit at the same thing. She has fought and fought with listening. since i'm a divorced mother of two it becomes especially hard for back up enforcement. my best advice is for you and your husband to come into agreement first. i learned from my baby that she doesn't do very well at all with yelling. 1st i tried taking away toys- didnt work. then i tried punishment... this was this ticket! we have a nightly routine of sitting on the couch before bed and watching 1 show she picks. and when i have to ask her more than three times that goes away that night! also, when i need her attention i get down to her level and say what i need to say~ Did you hear what i asked you to do baby? or I need you help putting these toys away... whatever it is that she isnt doing that I have asked her to do for me- eye level works best for her!! overall PATIENCE and staying CONSISTANT is the key to respect and a mindful child. course mine are not ever perfect LOL but that is what i have learned (very recently too) with my girl... good luck! Keep GOd first!!

Whitney - posted on 01/06/2011

9

88

2

i agree with Amanda with the counting. Dont count, doesnt really help. and the time out corner or naughty chair doesnt either. One u might not have the time to make sure she stays there, but mostly she isnt really going to learn anything from it. things do take time and with a baby u dont really have much time. If she is jealous ask her to help with him like getting nappies or asking if she wants to change her doll too. but not all the time. my daughter is exactly the same, i have a reward chart and by the time she hits 5 gold stars she gets a small treat. another way of getting her to listen is maybe try involving her in stuff. like making cakes, cleaning etc. nothing major just small to get started then u can go have fun for a little bit with her. she might understand that if she listens more and co-operates that u will play with her and involve her more things.

Meredith - posted on 01/06/2011

15

9

0

my daughter is 21 months and I too have trouble at bed time. my daughter is wonderful but very strong willed. i try to get a little routine and it maybe wrong but both my husband and I go to bed to make her come as well. she also always has a bottle of milk which acts more like her comfort. I admit that I do use bribery but not with food. for example I say she can play with a certain toy that she wants if she lets me dress her. so not really bribing but negoiating. maybe get her invovled in the care for the baby so she feels that she is a part of it and that he isnt taking her place.

Danielle - posted on 01/06/2011

2

0

0

The simplest way to deal with tantrums is to ignore them. Tantrums are a way of getting your attention, ignoring them shows that it does not work with you. It is difficult the first few times and it can be heart breaking but just keep in mind the reason you are doing it. In saying that you need to make sure your child knows you are ignoring them, sometimes actually saying to them things like "you can throw a tantrum all you like I'm just going to ignore you". It's a way for them to understand that these tantrums do not work. However ignoring naughty behaviour is not a good idea, I have found that taking toys away is a fantastic way of inforcing good behaviour. It helps teach that actions have consequences.

Michelle - posted on 01/06/2011

3

11

0

i like that i never could understand the if you clean your mess up like your suppose too i will reward you ,i think if they go above and beyond to help you than that is when you should be rewarded

Monica - posted on 01/06/2011

7

9

0

If the biggest issue is the bedtime, something that works for me is : 1st. READING. Read a few short books tells him that is bedtime. 2nd. THE KISS. As every night routine he goes to give dad a kiss and a hug and he races with his big brother to be the first one (it can be another relative or the teddy bear ...) 3rd. LIGHTS OFF. He loves to be the leader so he gets to turn off the lights. 4th. SEPARATION. I sit at the end of the bed to see him fall asleep. I hopping next it will be just standing up at the door to finally get the transition to leave the room.

If he doesn't want to sleep and gets up trying to play then he goes to his time out chair so it is the bed or the chair. Of course, we can prevent the big fight by getting them tired during the day.

One thing I suggest you to consider is that she needs to see that you have a time just for her and that can be the bedtime besides others.

Monica - posted on 01/05/2011

7

9

0

I guess for what you say she got her way during the terrible two's, however, never is late. What I do with my three year old boy since he was 1 1/2 was to have him sit in a chair as time out when he does not want to listen. Before he goes to time out I count to three, if he does not do what he was told at three he goes to the chair. Actually if he starts misbehaving I just tell him that he will go to the chair and he most of the time changes his behavior. I recommend you to read 1-2-3 Magic - from Dr. Thomas Phelan and also look for some other books that can help you to manage the situation of the new sibling because she might getting worst with the behavior because she wants the attention she used to have. Parenting it is not easy, I struggle many times and I have to confess that one of my problems is lack of consistency which is very important. Good luck !

Loui - posted on 01/05/2011

2

18

0

what i remember doing for my 3 yr old daughter before is...i let her listen to her favorite music while sending her to bed. & i talked to her & telling her i love her...& she would listen to me...music sometimes can catch attention. so why not try it?

Julia - posted on 01/05/2011

23

4

0

I agree with everyone regarding routine, consistency etc, esp for bedtime. But I'm curious...does your daughter actually sleep when she naps? And for how long? My boys both dropped their nap at age 2.5, despite our efforts to keep the nap. But with my youngest, now 3, I have discovered that his bedtime and night time sleep is so much better since he dropped the nap. Maybe your daughter is not sleepy at bedtime ...?

Cath - posted on 01/05/2011

1

0

0

As with the other mums I have many of the same ideas, the one thing I hold true to is that you keep trying different ways to get your children to behave and every child is different so somthing that will work for one may not work for another, so don't give up! Consistency in what you are asking for is the only rule I follow, how I acheive it depends on the child, my daughter responds best to rewards, where as my son really doesn't care about them at all, he responds best to toys being taken away. Find what works for your daughter (it will change often), the key I have found is to always let them know what the consiquence is to the action eg if you don't stay in bed I am going to take one of your toys with me tonight, and then follow through. If you don't follow through and give chances they WILL use it and it gets harder for them to believe you when you say you are going to do somthing (either good or bad). I often used with my daughter if you stay in bed tonight we will go to the park in the morning, if you do not we won't go tomorrow and I will take your teddy away now, but as I said before every child has different things that work for them! Best of luck and keep trying, just remember you are doing a good job by trying your best and asking for help, so good on you!!!!

Becky - posted on 01/05/2011

12

6

0

I don't think there is one set way because each family and child within the family are different. My son has always been stubborn like both of his parents and we don't want to break his spirit. However, we pick our battles. If it's dangerous or if it's something we cannot abide, then there is no wavering. We tell him no and warn him if he does it again he will be in time out. If he does it again then we swiftly pick him up and put him in time out for 2 minutes (he's two). We do not talk to him or listen to him no matter how much he cries and screams. If he leaves his timeout spot then we pick him up and put him back and reset his time. We do not speak to him at all during his timeout especially when he gets out. We only had one time where he tested us by getting out over and over...it took half an hour to do a solid 2 minute time out. But that was the only time. Now we only have to time out him about once every few days and it's always for the same thing...hitting the dog or hitting a person. He can't seem to control his impulse but we stay consistant. We also use the word "Danger" for anything dangerous, "Dirty" for anything filthy and germy...so that we aren't always overusing the word "No". He understands and responds accordingly. He hates having his teeth brushed but we do while he cries every night then we give him the toothbrush to use himself and he always stops crying and uses it himself for a few minutes. He always cries and twists around for diaper changes so I switched to pull ups and he doesn't cry when he can help put his own diaper on. For poopy diapers he still has to lay down for the change so he still throws a fit about that. We tell him we understand but we do not waver...we are going to do what we are going to do and he can cry about it but he cannot hit or kick or struggle too much. There are days when it all goes to heck and those days I try to just let him vent and ignore everything except the dangerous situations. Consistency is the only thing I cling to and eventually it seems to get through to him. And be as calm as you can although there have been days when I've found myself yelling...but luckily those are few and far between...and then I feel like a failure because it's usually because I'm stressed and less due to anything different my son is doing. Best of luck in finding what works for you and your family...just know everyone else goes through it as well.

Natalie - posted on 01/05/2011

5

6

0

Sharynne, when you get the answer to that one, please advise me. Maybe I can train my 44 year old hubby LOL!

Natalie - posted on 01/05/2011

5

6

0

To Kelly with a 2 1/2 year old. Our son did that same thing as well. It was because we'd just changed him to a normal bed and he thought it was a great novel thing to get up and hide in the hallway while we were up and about. My husband even one time nearly tripped over him in the hallway on his way to the bathroom! He'd fallen asleep in the hall. We just kept taking him back to bed. Didn't make too big of a deal out of it. Said, "it's bed time darling. Time for sleeping" I think if you react too much the novelty stays but if you don't make it interesting for them, they get over it. For our son it lasted about a month. Don't forget also that at around 2 1/2 they have new independence and it's fun to experiment with that so it's normal. We've had many different phases. He was coming into our bed in the middle of the night at about 3 years of age. Now he has no interest whatsoever at 4 1/2. I'm sure there'll be some new challenges around the corner though : )

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms