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Old 06-11-2017, 10:28 PM   #1
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Help with 3 year old

I have to say that I miss the baby stage. Or at least the 6 months to 2.5 yrs stage. My son was pretty much an angel during that time and it spoiled me.

He has issues listening and following directions, and it's a combination of behavior and attention.
What we do now is saying "either I'll do it, or you get to do it" or "if you don't do ___ when I count to three then I'll do it/you get a time out/I'll take a toy away" (not all, just one depending on the situation). He often responds to this, but recently he's started not to.

One example:
This is more attention based, but probably also behavior. Getting him dressed and undressed is always a battle. At this point he is physically able to get his clothes on and off by himself, he just doesn't seem to care to do it. Trying to get him to get ready to go to anywhere I have to direct him through each step a thousand times. I've tried letting him pick what he wears, giving him two options, etc. I usually have to tell him either I'm going to do it, or he's going to do it, and most of the time he says "No, I wanna do it!" and starts putting whatever it is on, but then he starts singing to himself or getting distracted and I have to redirect him a thousand times. Like he'll have one leg in his undies and then he gets totally distracted.

This happens in public bathrooms too. He'll start playing with everything in the stall, and then I have to remind him a ton just to pull his pants down. Then when he's done I have to remind him to pull up his undies, then his pants, make sure to pull up in the back so he's not mooning everyone. My pediatrician said to try not to prompt him, but I think he'd just walk around naked/with his pants around his ankles/in the same clothes forever if I didn't. There was one day where he had used the potty at home on the top floor of our house. He went down two flights of stairs with his pants around his ankles and it hadn't occurred to him to pull his pants up.

He's also started just saying no every time I ask him to do anything. Or more like he usually just ignores me purposefully. I know this is a normal part of development but it's just so frustrating! I hate having to negotiate on every single thing.
He often doesn't want to get in his carseat and will crawl to other parts of the car before I can buckle him. He'll stray away from me when we're at grocery stores and won't come back when I call him. Asking him to wash his hands, use the bathroom, put something in the trash, etc.
I'm also not sure how to discipline in public. I can't really put him in time out, I can say I'll take away toys when we get home, but I feel like that won't have an immediate correlation for him. I could leave right away, but usually it's somewhere we have to be, I often can't just leave.

He sometimes does better with things that are routine. Like he knows that we go to the bathroom right when we get to the ymca, when he gets up in the morning he needs to use the bathroom right away, when we eat dinner he'll get out a plate and cup and get into his chair (ok, the chair sometimes turns into a fight). I'm thinking maybe sticker charts might help? Maybe good books about getting dressed, or following instructions? I saw this site that had "routine cards" that they put up in their kids room, maybe that would help...

I just feel like one of those "terrible parents" that everyone talks about on the internet. I feel helpless and these days I often don't have a lot of good feelings toward my son (at least until he's asleep, then he's so cute!)
I've had him in this gymnastics class at the YMCA for about the last 3 months. The first teacher talked to me after and told me he had listening problems. Then there was a different teacher and I've no comment for the last 2 months. Now we're back to the first teacher and she once again pulled me aside because he wasn't listening, and asked me to talk to him about his behavior and asked if I had ideas that would help. Because I was pregnant and hormonal I started crying, man I wish I had ideas that would help. Part of me was frustrated because there were only 2 kids in the class and it didn't seem like was being all that bad. He does have a slight gross motor delay, so he's not quite coordinated with some of the things they ask him to do. (That might have something to do with getting dressed, but he has occasionally done that part on his own with minimal input.)

Anyway, any tips on surviving this stage? Books? I saw a title of a book on a thread I found when I was googling, but I can't find it anymore.


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Old 06-12-2017, 07:34 AM   #2
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Re: Help with 3 year old

Oh momma I don't have an advice but just want you to know your not alone. It sounds like you are doing everything right. I havended a 5yr old and almost 3yr old who have for the last couple of months have begun to push me more. Most of its them trying to figure out how the world works.

I will say when we are in a store the almost 3 yrs old gets two chances. He's reminded of how we act in the store and then he gets one warning if he misbehaves. If he acts up again then he has to ride in the cart. He wants to be independent so he doesn't care for this. As long as he's good for a little bit then I will allow him to walk again. Ithe gives him the chance to earn that privilege back.

Hopefully someone else can give you some advice
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: Help with 3 year old

Hugs, Mama. I will say that redirecting a 3 year old 100 times just for one task sounds pretty normal to me.

As far as dressing and undressing, I just do it. If I don't have time to sit there while they do it, I do it for them. It saves me time and frustration. They will eventually do it alone.

As far as discipline, I don't know what to tell you. The making him ride in the cart thing is good. I have done that. But personally, I swat them on the butt if they wander away from me in public. You may not do that. But it's very effective for me. And if they don't come when I call, that's another couple swats.

Sometimes, not giving them a chance to misbehave is best. Like the car seat, buckle as soon as he is in and don't take your hands off him. Like, don't give him a chance to get away.

As far as gymnastics, does he really like it? In my opinion, age 3 is too young for an activity like that. And the teacher needs to realize she is teaching 3 year olds. Duh. They aren't always easy to instruct in a structured activity. She needs to deal with it or do something else.

I hope this helps. I always thought that age 3 was much harder than age 2. Hang in there!
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:04 AM   #4
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Re: Help with 3 year old

HUGS!!! DD is 3.5 years old and it's pretty much the same for us too. Well mostly just for me and my husband... she listens well at preschool/daycare and gymnastics.

We have the same issues dressing (this morning was especially bad, lots of "I'm tired" and "I can't get up" as her feet slip and slide on the ground at her own doing). She lies about what she has and hasn't done. I will often just dress her if she isn't doing it because I have to get her to preschool so I can get to work and I don't have the time.

She doesn't eat her dinner and always want snacks. That's another one with us.

She is not my favorite person right now, but I try to enjoy the moments we have together that are fun and remember that it will end (but I think it might be a few years in DDs case, I really do). sigh

Good Luck!
Mom to LO#1 born 1/7/2010 (Cloth diapered since day 1; Part-time EC since 9 months; Daytime PL since 29 months; Nightime PL at 5.5 years) & LO#2 born 12/1/2013 (First diaper was cloth! Part-time EC since 12 months & Daytime PL at 26 months) Checkout my absorbency tests. Thoughts on how long a cloth diaper REALLY lasts. Thoughts on Yeast , here, here, here & here. How to Wash Wool & Sanitize Wool. Everything must go! Nighttime Trainers

Last edited by Pixi6s; 06-12-2017 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:38 AM   #5
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Re: Help with 3 year old

Thank you, ladies, you're really making me feel better. I think I often look at other families and it seems like their kids are way better behaved, but it might be one of those times where I'm coming our worst to their best. I have a friend here whose youngest is almost the same age as mine, and she always Saturday that 3 is her least favorite age, so I guess it's just how it is! Anyway, I'll try out some of your suggestions.

He decided to redeem himself today, he snuggled sweetly with me for 30 minutes after he woke up today, and was super great at helping me get breakfast on the table. Then at gymnastics, the teacher said he was much better today and did well at standing in line. We'll see how long this streak lasts.
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Old 06-14-2017, 04:29 PM   #6
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Re: Help with 3 year old

I have never experienced this with my 3 children, all I can say is just step in and dress him and help him with going to the bathroom because boys are normally slower than girls and sometimes needs extra support. He will grow up before you know it, just enjoy being there for him now one day you will miss these days.
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:12 PM   #7
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Re: Help with 3 year old

We're currently going through this, too. It's so hard!
I find it funny when he's complaining about it being hard to do things, like take off his shoes, when a few months ago, during his check-up, the doctor told him it was time to measure his height and he pulled his shoes off before I could even get to him.

In regards to saying "no", we send our 3-year-old to time-out when he says no to a command that mommy or daddy give. We have explained to him that it's specific to those times and that he can say no to people who are not mommy or daddy. It has helped though because now, if I say something like, "Clean up your toys" and he responds with "no" then, I say "do you say no to me?" and he then starts cleaning up.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:13 AM   #8
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Re: Help with 3 year old

I can see that you're having a wild and challenging adventure with your 3 years old but I hope you continue to cling on your patience and understand that you're not the only one in this situation. Many mothers of toddlers are having the same experience as well and its really tough. you're tough anyway.
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