How do you get a 2 and 1/2 yr old to follow directions?

Erin - posted on 09/19/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I know they don't usually listen at this age. But I see other children my son's age follow simple directions like "go get your cup" my son rarely will do things like that. He's smart and he knows what things are but he just doesn't listen. I've read to him since he was really little but he usually won't sit with me long enough to read a book. (this may also be because when the stories over it's bed time). I also wonder if it's because he's not around other children that much. My husband and I work our schedules out so we don't need daycare and we really can't afford any school for him at this time. I bring him to playgrounds, children museums and the indoor playgrounds at the mall (which he always tries to run out of, so we leave so he'll learn not to, but that hasn't worked he still does it). But he has no little friends to learn from. My friend works at a daycare with children the same age as him and from her descriptions they seem very independent. I love him so much but this can be so frustrating.

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[deleted account]

I hate to sound stern but - stop making excuses for his bad behavior! If you cannot control him right now at two and a half, how do you ever expect to control him when he is 15?
Please - if you are serious about changing his behavior for the better - check out the Love and Logic Institute www.loveandlogic.com
Their techniques are BRILLIANT and most importantly - THEY WORK!

Erin - posted on 09/24/2010

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This might sound really obvious but have you had his hearing checked? I recall a horrioble disobedient phase with my oldest that turned out she had muffled hearing from an ear infection that hadn't quite cleared up! Could be worth eliminating.

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Erin - posted on 09/27/2010

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Thanks Cindy I just joined online we'll see what happens i don't know how close the one near me is.

Cindy - posted on 09/26/2010

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Hi, I would suggest joining a mom and tots group. There are lots of activities (low cost) for both of you and you alone. You need some time as well. Once your little guy starts socializing and being around other kids he will pick things up - some good and some not so good - that is normal. He needs to be around other kids. My son is very much the same since I am a stay at home mom so I try to get him socializing with other kids as much as possible. Good luck, I'm sure things will work out great for your whole family

Erin - posted on 09/24/2010

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It's defiantly something I will consider. However, I don't think it's that because he's repeating new phrases that he hears, today he listened better. I think I just need to expect more out of him and have him help when he can. I've gotten so used to babying him for so long (he's my first) that I haven't installed any independence in him. Today I tried to have him help me make cupcakes, he really just wanted to watch, but was still involved him in the process. When I was cleaning he helped me vacuum. I'm just trying to involve him more with the things I need to do around the house. Sometimes I forget that he's not a baby any more he's a little kid and I need to treat him like one. They grow so fast yet so gradually it's hard to change old habits of doing everything for them to trying to teach and guide them into doing certain things for themselves.

Erin - posted on 09/24/2010

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I'm beginning to think it's a phase, maybe for attention but I'm sticking to my rules I always have. We go to playgrounds and there's a children museum close by but I think it would be better if he saw the same kids on a regular basis. But I have no friends with kids. I am looking into preschools but they're all out of my price range.

Erin - posted on 09/24/2010

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Yeah, stick with it. Some kids get that stuff easier than others, some are pretty good at finding clever ways not to do as they're told!!! I stick to 'ask, tell, act' so once it's a request, then it's an order, then there are consequences (room time or what ever the situation dictates) when I stick with it things go really smoothly.
I personally don't think daycare is the biz for wee ones but social interaction is important for developing social competence, do you have any local playgroups you could go to? any friends with young kids you could get together with?
Make sure you're looking after yourself too, it's hard to keep on top of a little one's behaviour when you're not giving yourself a good break!!

Erin - posted on 09/21/2010

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I'll check out the book. I'm not making excuses I'm strict with him I don't give into his tantrums, and he is punished when he does something wrong. Even though I don't appreciate your tone I'm all for seeing what advise the website has. Thank you. (The thank you was sincere not sarcastic:)

Erin - posted on 09/21/2010

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I try to be stern and give time out consistently, And when I ask him to do something I get down to his level. When I am cross with him he just gets a case of the giggles. He is just extremely strong willed and wants to do what he wants to do.

[deleted account]

I highly reccomend the parenting strategies by "Love and Logic"
The reason your child isn't listening to you, or following your directions, is because there is no reason to. You are allowing them to get away with ignoring you.
My son is 2 and a half and trust me, at this age, they are VERY capable of following basic instructions.
And Jennifer - I give my child three seconds to make a decision (yes or no, door open or closed, milk or water) and if I don't get a decision/answer in those three seconds, I get to make the choice for them. And I always take the first answer given as well. So no changing minds shinanigans. If the kid says they want water, I then put water on the table for them and they suddenly want milk, I simply say, "You asked for Water, and I take the first answer given to me." And if they refuse to drink it, well that isn't my problem. And if htey throw it on the ground, or throw a tantrum, well then they are done eating and spending some time alone in their room until they are ready to be sweet and join me again.

Erin - posted on 09/20/2010

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It is so good to know I'm not the only one out there.Thank you! And sometimes he will follow directions and sometimes he won't. Almost like he is ignoring me or just can't be bothered. I feel like in daycare or pre-school they would listen because the other kids are. Then there are times when I feel like I'm to easy on him and others when I feel like I'm to hard on him. My husband is in Nursing school and our financial position should be better next year so I'm looking at Montessori schools for my son because I think he would fit in better in that type of an environment. But in the meantime I worry because he has no regular social outlet. And of course some days are better than others. I just wish they had gates on the indoor playgrounds at the malls.

Jennifer - posted on 09/20/2010

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Erin, I dont know u, but I do feel ur pain. My daughter wil b 3 on Oct. 4, 2010. She is very smart (as u said ur son is) and even tho she will go get her cup when I ask her to (because I tell her she is helping mommy and it will make her a very good girl. lol) my biggest problem is getting a simple yes or no answer out of her. She completely ignores me. I will say her name and try snapping my fingers to get her attention, but most of the time she is just not answering me on purpose. It really drives me nuts. She also doesnt listen. If I tell her to get on the couch so I can help her put her shoes on, she runs to her room and starts playing. Like ur son, she does not go to daycare either. Unfortunately I got really sick (cancer) about a yr ago and havent worked since. I really do feel like they need that interaction with other children their age. She does have her sister to play with, but she is six yrs older than Chloe and doesnt always want to build a castle of blocks. lol My oldest daughter, Katelynne was in daycare since she turned 2 and I didnt seem to have those problems with her. I know all children are different so maybe my amost 3 yr old is just stubborn and hard headed like her father (just kidding) and could b hitting the terrible 3's early. Sharing is another big issue with her. I do have friends that have children. They range from Chloes age and higher, but she will NOT share her toys. If we r at thier house, she will of course. I feel very frustrated too. I doubt this helped u very much because I am right there with u, but if I knew I wasnt the only mother going through the exact same thing, I think it would help me. Maybe we can talk and try to figure out what works and what doesnt work. Maybe if 1 of us figures out something that gets them to listen we can really help each other out. Plus even if u have loads of friends, it is good to talk to a mother living outside ur life that is going through similar issues with a child around the same age. Lord knows, I will take any advice that can make my day a little less stressful.

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