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How do you discipline a 3 year old?


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bikemom July 9, 2008


I have a 3 year old who will not listen to anything I say and laughs at me when I correct him. I have tried the time out thing....no luck. What else can I do to get my point across where he will understand?

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tjlove July 9, 2008


The only thing I can recommend is to be as consistent as possible. Lay out the ground rules and expectations before hand so he understands what is expected of him. He will continue to push your buttons for a while but, if you're consistent, eventually he will get the picture. If time outs really aren't working then I would start taking away certain toys for the day or other privileges.
If he laughs at you, don't react, stay calm, explain the rules and follow through.

I'm going through some similar times with my 1 1/2 year old. Among other bad behaviors she is currently testing out, she thinks it's pretty hilarious to hit me in the face while I'm changing her diaper. As soon as the fresh diaper is on she goes right to her crib for a time out. I'm telling you, it's been a couple weeks of the same thing, which is why I'm encouraging you to stick with it and be consistent.

Make sure you are communicating with all the other caretakers, if there are any, to get everyone on the same page.

I just learned yesterday that while at daycare, my daughter hit two other children on the head with a toy and then put herself in a time out. Well, at least she understands that what she did was wrong ;-)




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HellCatForAMom July 9, 2008


Disciplining toddlers does not mean punishing them. It's important to avoid hitting, being overly strict or overly reactive. The idea behind setting limits with little tykes is to help guide their behavior so that they're kept out of harm's way. The most important thing to keep in mind when you're talking about discipline, is what the meaning of the word is. It means to teach and that should be your only objective when disciplining a toddler...teaching them right from wrong. It doesn't mean to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, to punish.

Toddlers are just learning about the world around them.Expecting too much from their behavior is a mistake. Parents often set overly high expectations for their toddlers. They expect them to show impulse control, which they lack by nature. They expect them to sit still for long periods of time. They expect them to remember the rules and regulations. Toddlers need constant reminders of the rules.

So when setting rules for a toddler keep a few things in mind. First don't have too many rules, as this can be overwhelming for a young tyke. Keep the rules simple and reasonable. Then once you've established a few limits with your toddler it's important to stick with them.Consistency is very important when it comes to any aspect of parenting, especially with discipline. Toddlers need consistency and to know what is expected of them. You shouldn't expect too much, but there should be a consistency for those expectations that do exist.

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summerblue July 9, 2008


As TJlove said below.....being consistent will be the key.
Something that worked in my household with toddlers was that their father and I simply did not threaten and we followed through with any sort of punishment we needed to hand out fitting to a 3 year old (of course).
Even when I didn't want to follow through with the consequence of say..... not minding, or throwing a tantrum or not wanting to go to bed (in their own bed).
If you continually THREATEN and never follow through...that is why you will get a 'laugh' or a continued repeat offence, he simply KNOWS you won't actually DO anything about it, expect for maybe yell.

Have patience as this will not happen overnight.

As TJ said below, it's CRITICAL that you and anyone in his life that is a caretaker are on the same page. Kids will divide and conquer (yes even at 3) if they can.

At this point, since he has already established the behaviour of NOT listening, you need to out stubborn him...here's where we can get exhausted and give up, but don't, continue on the path of time outs, not able to have something that he wants (favorite tv show, toy, you get the idea).
Sorry if this sounds as if i am saying YOU MUST DO THIS....this is just what worked for my 2 that are now 14 and 11.....and yes, we STILL don't threaten.

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Not2busy4U July 9, 2008


Been there, done that. The only thing that worked for me was to take the time-out with him. In other words, I had to sit and hold him on my lap for the entire time-out which he did not like because he was a high-energy little guy. After Mommy holding him a few times when he wanted to be running around, he got the message. Every child is different but hope this works for you.

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teachukid July 9, 2008


Sounds like he's got your number! Is there any way you can ignore his behavior while you show him what it is you want? Example: You want him to pick up his toys and he refuses and instead laughs at you. Try: picking up the toys yourself while saying out loud," Oh, Thomas the Train! I love Thomas! I think I'll put him away in Mommy's Special Box. I can't wait to play with him later! Oh, look! There's Teddy, your big boy basket ball and your video game. What fun! Thank you so much! Then put the box of toys away in the garage or on a high shelf for the afternoon or until the next day. You might try playing with them in front of him for a short time to underscore you mean business. When you think it is time to return them, talk to your son and tell him that you expect him to listen to mommy and do what she asks when she asks it. Prompt him with the words you want to hear and tell him he can say, "Okay, Mommy." Sounds corny and basic, but it works! You can use this same technique for pretty much any scenario. Just change the words. Keep a smile on your face and cheerfully say out loud, "Oh, Boy! Broccoli! I love brocolli and mac and cheese AND this applesauce! Thanks!" Reverse psychology works great with little ones. Just don't try it with older kids. They'll call your bluff!

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healthy11 July 9, 2008


Many parents speak highly of Thomas Phelan's book "1,2,3 Magic" that addresses discipline for kids age 2 to 12...
http://www.parentmagic.com/parentingsolutions-view.cfm

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Ischgebibbbel September 9, 2008


Great Book out there. 123 Magic by Dr. Phelan.Discipline for children 2-12. It uses the time out method. So if your child does something you want him to stop, you give him two warnings and if you get to three he has to go sit in time out for 3 minutes, because he is 3. You can explain to him how it works. Pick a designated spot but never turn him facing the corner or wall. the trick is to totally stay calm (i know it is hard). It will get worse first but after a couple of weeks you should get to "two" and your child will know to stop or he will go to timeout. After time out you just tell your child "ok, you can come out now", No explanations. Just pick up where you left of before the time out causing incident. I am telling you , it works. But you must be consistent and stick to your guns every time. If he cries and kicks in time out.....leave the room. Better, get the book. It is easy to read and funny. I wish you the best and if you nip this in the butt right now you will save yourself a lot of yelling and stress in your household.

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drjohnson September 9, 2008


Another helpful book is Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

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maggie93215 September 9, 2008


At this age our beautiful babies are testing us, so be firm and hang in there. 3 yr olds understand bad behavior just as they do good behavior. Time outs work, sit them somewhere with not toys or distractions and of course, at first it will be ugly but as you keep being consistant with your punishment they will eventually tire of the bad behavior. At the stores when my kids and I go shopping and they miss be have I talk to them twice, the third time they have to sat right next to me holding my hand and no talking until there time is up. Kids like adults get embarrassed so they know when I give them the look to be good. Hope this was helpful -good luck-

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hannahbonilla April 20, 2009


my daughter is 3 and a half and lately everything is a battle, specially getting dress inthe mornings, she makes a scene and dosen't want to change, she call me a bad mommy and gets relly loud. she likes going to pre-school and stays with out a problem but the mornings are really hard.



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