ways to discipline a 3 yr old when time out does not work?

Desiree - posted on 04/19/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )




my daughter is 3 and she doesnt listen @all. time out dont work and im tired of spankin her.. its not fair to her or me. i need help on other ways to help her listen that doesnt involve spamking


Louise - posted on 04/19/2012




Make her room a safe place to be and place a stair gate on the door. If she does not listen to you and you have warned her then place her in her bedroom and walk away. This is the best place for her to be. It gives you time to take control so that you do not spank her, time to calm down and think about what you are going to do. When you are calm go back to her room and get down to her level and then tell her what she did wrong and how you want her to behave.

At three years old the world is an exciting place and all she wants to do is explore. Children learn by getting up to mischief so dont expect her to be an angel all of the time. Only disciplin on things that are really important like safety and rudeness. All three year olds push the boundaries just make sure you are firm but fair.


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Rita - posted on 09/21/2013




my son will be 4 in dec. he gets into everything he possibly can, and what's bad is he's very sneaky and very quick! i can be in same room with him and turn my back for just a moment...he's already had his eye on something and as soon as my head is turned, i hear him shut his bedroom door and know that he's already gotten something lol...so i go get him and find out what he got - usually junk food of some type...he even climbs to get it, if we happen to be in seperate rooms. But we live with my mom and her husband and it's become quite an issue for them...they expect me to apply more harsh punishment than time out or a spanking, because they can't see where that is working at all. I do time out and spanking when necessary and i'll take a priviledge away for no more than 10 min usually, just to make my point with him. But how can i convince my mom that i do not need to whip his legs with a paint stirring paddle or the inside of his hand?? This is what she has suggested i begin doing. I know what works for my kids and what doesn't and those things aren't always the same for each child...but with my 3 yr old...nothing's really helping right now. When my daughter was 3, she was the same.....but we made it through just fine without greater discipline....she outgrew it...but living with others, it's harder to get them to understand that that's not how i choose to punish my kids. So, i need advice on particular discipline for my 3 yr old and advice to share with my mom before we really butt heads!! lol

Anna - posted on 04/23/2012




Consider picking and choosing your battles. I've found with my own son that we would tend to yell and say 'No' about EVERYTHING. How much fun were we to live with? And our angry attitude just made my son all the more willing to rebel and be angry himself. I finally figured out that speaking softly, engaging with him physically (holding him or touching him gently when I want to explain something to him), and telling him what he CAN do was a lot more effective. As for time outs, the key is to let them have it out in a safe place for a few minutes and then explain to them CALMLY why they went into time out. If you're just as wound up as they are, you're not going to be able to communicate effectively with them, so the time outs are as much for you as they are for them. And my son's been spanked less than what I can count on one hand in his short life, and it has never been effective; it only made him fearful and angry.

[deleted account]

time outs don't usually work for my son either, i use them more as a chance for him to calm down when he's getting too worked up about something. i usually either slap his hand or take away whatever he is playing with for a bit. he then has to earn the toy back by listening.

Laura - posted on 04/19/2012




When my daughter was 3-4 she was smart, funny, curious and very very busy! She'd get into things even after I'd say no and lead her to something appropriate...sometimes its just all about the boundaries. I was busy around the house one day and she was just out of her own control and I finally told her "I have things to do, so if I can't trust you to play nicely, I'll have to watch you...." she had to get "her" chair (one that is kid sized) and come room to room with me around the house and sit in that chair while I did my chores. And no talking....she hated it (it was all of about 1/2 an hour). That reduced her issues considerably for quite awhile.

Other thoughts are is she getting enough rest...are there other stressors like a new baby, moving, starting preschool, potty training, etc that she really doesn't have any control over? Louise made good suggestions about "choices"....just make sure that for her age she gets to pick between TWO only...ask if she'd like grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, not "what do you want for lunch?"...mine would have asked for something I wasn't willing to make.

For our grandsons we have a 'naughty chair'. Its a preschool chair, painted bright red that sits in a corner in the dining room. The only thing I have to say is "Do you need to sit?" in my 'mean mommy' voice. That may work for you too, just like Stacey's "step"....

September - posted on 04/19/2012




Give you child choices as much as possible throughout the day. For example, allow her to choose between two outfits, allow her to choose what she’d like to eat, which shoe she’d like to put on first. I know some of the choices you offer may seems silly but it will allow her to feel as though she has some control and this in turn will lessen the tantrums. Redirect your child when she is doing something she shouldn’t and offer something that is ok for her to do. Then establish consequences for your child if she doesn’t respond to your redirection. Choose a natural or logic consequence such as taking her toy away if she’s throwing it or a natural consequence that would fit the unwanted behavior. Last but not least spend some time with her exploring emotions and explaining them to her while reminding her it’s ok to have those emotions. Check out Love and Logic it’s actually where I’ve learned all the techniques we use with our 3 year old. Whatever you choose to do just be sure to be consistent. Good luck!

ETA: I'm glad to hear you're not spanking anymore or taking the steps to not spank. You should be proud of yourself! :) Spanking imo only creates fear and is not effective.

S. - posted on 04/19/2012




I have a very head strong 4 year old, our main thing is the naughty step but when that's not working I do sticker charts along with positive parenting, Sometimes I do toy room ban's and tele ban's but I don't often get to this point and the warning of the ban it's self usually works and it's usually when the naughty step isn't working. I don't spank it dose no good on her what so ever so I avoid it. I think as long as your consistent stay strong and don't give in, you can find a way that works for you both. Good luck

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