how do i get my 3 yr old daughter to listen to me? and how do i get her to act right in public?

Kimberly - posted on 07/07/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )




My 3 yr old does not listien to me at all. I have tried yelling at her, spanking her, putting her in time out, ignoring her when she acts bad, putting her to bed. She laughs at me when I do these things. And when we go in public she acts horrible. I have to take her into the bathroom and spank her everytime we go out. What am I doin wrong? Help....i feel like i have to spend so much time getting on to her that I dont have enough time to just play with her and spend time.


Sonya - posted on 07/07/2010




Hi Kimberly,

First off, you need to remember that she is ONLY three. Don't expect her to be well behaved like alot of older children. Her brain doesn't process like that. Being three she has the attention span of a gnat. And it's nearly impossible for a 3 year old to sit still for any length of time. Literally. :D

Secondly, give her boundaries that are age appropriate and punishments that fit the crime AND make them known to her in a way that SHE can understand. For instance, if you're going out and take her with you, explain to her that you're going out and that she must listen to you and be still (within acceptable reason) or you will take her home! You can also take her out to the car to do this but only if you cannot leave from where you are to go home. No ifs ands or buts! Remove her immediately from the situation and the public atmosphere. Make sure your daughter knows that you are serious. NEVER threaten a punishment and then not follow through. That's where she gets you. Don't spank unless it is a serious enough offense. Don't yell. I know that sounds hard to do but it works. The lower you make your voice the harder the child will try to hear you and concentrate harder and hence take you more seriously. Time outs-One minute per year of age of child ... 3 years = 3 minutes and so on. Explain to her why she is going into timeout. Have a designated spot in each room. Try a rug in a corner and tell her that is her time-out spot. Always be consistent. Each and every time. If she acts out in public take her home and she stays home. Try going out the next day or day after. If she acts out again take her home again. But be consistent. The more she sees you're serious and you mean business, she'll more than likely settle down alot. If you're in a restaurant and you notice her squirming, take her outside for a walk around the building. Ease some of her energy that way. Make distractions for her.
And NEVER forget to reward her for good behaviour. Rewards are great!

I know it seems like she'll never behave but she will. If you're consistent with her and judge what she can handle. Watch her cues and watch for signs that she's restless, tired or just wants to run and conquer them right then and there. In time, she will understand that outings and behaviour go hand in hand.

Good luck!


View replies by

Diane - posted on 07/07/2010




I always bring somthing to keep my son occupied like animal crackers or rasins..his fav snacks. I also tell him all the fun stuff we can do when we get back home but only if he is a good boy...which he is most of the time...I also threatin him by say im gonna make u sit in the car if u don't behave

Lindsey - posted on 07/07/2010




i taught my 4yr old: "Good girls get treats, and bad girls get spanking (or in trouble)" its a great brib lol since then she hasn't had any trouble in school.. i spank, you may not.. but when we are in public i can't do that, and she caught on to that pretty quickly- so now if she starts to 'try' me i grab her arm and give it a squeeze so she gets the idea that I mean business.. followed by the question: "do you want a spanking" which is usually the moment she says "no" and starts behaving again... sometimes followed by whining lol maybe bribing will work for yours :D hope this helps

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