How To Get A 3 Year Old To Listen Without Yelling

Parenting can sometimes be a challenge, especially when you have a young child who never seems to listen to you. It is easy to become frustrated and resort to yelling and shouting, but this is not ideal and it doesn’t usually give you the result that you want.

So how else can you get a 3 year old to listen without yelling?

How To Get A 3 Year Old To Listen Without Yelling

We have put together this useful guide which gives you the steps that you need in order to get your three year old to listen to you without you needing to yell. Keep reading to find out how to restore discipline in your home without needing to shout. 

Why Is It Bad To Yell At Your 3 Year Old?

Before you learn how to get your 3 year old to listen without yelling, it is important to understand why yelling at your children is so damaging. 

To start off with, yelling at your 3 year old can make them feel unsafe. It makes their home feel more volatile and it could make them feel less secure with you, and like your affection and love is not guaranteed or unconditional.

This can lead to problems with self-esteem, confidence, and could also cause your child to lash out and misbehave. 

Yelling at your children might get their attention, but it won’t help them to understand what you are trying to say. It is more likely to encourage them to disengage, withdrawing the opportunity for them to learn from their mistakes.

Any amended behavior will be as a result of fear rather than understanding. 

Shouting at your children also sets a bad example. It teaches them that the best way for them to get what they want is to shout at others. It also teaches them that it is okay if other people speak to them that way, leaving them vulnerable to unhealthy friendships and relationships in the future. 

So what alternatives are there to getting a 3 year old to listen without yelling? 

How To Get A 3 Year Old To Listen Without Yelling 

Eye Contact 

One of the most important things you need to do to get your 3 year old to listen without yelling is to make eye contact. If you want them to do something, like put their toys away, get their attention first.

Crouch down and make eye contact, then once you have their attention you can speak to them directly and respectfully.

Young children have a short attention span and a lot of things to distract them, so making sure that their focus is on you before you ask them to do something is very important and can eliminate a lot of frustration. 

This is also important if you are asking them not to do something. If they are making loud noises or running around then they are going to be consumed by their activity and might not notice you calling out to them.

Instead of yelling at them to stop, go up to them and get down to their level. Make eye contact, and then ask them to stop. 

Explain Why Your 3 Year Old Needs To Listen

Confusion or misunderstanding can cause a lot of issues between parents and 3 year olds. They are getting to age when they become curious and ask a lot of questions, which means they do a lot of their learning through challenging and pushing boundaries. 

This means that saying ‘no’ or ‘because I said so’ isn’t always going to cut it. If you say no or ask your child to stop doing something, you should explain why.

This also gives them the opportunity to understand the motivation behind their actions, which helps them to decide how to behave correctly in future instances. 

For example, instead of saying ‘put your toys away’, explain what the toys need to be put away to keep the house tidy and to stop someone from tripping over and hurting themselves.

Instead of saying ‘stop hitting’, explain that hitting other people is painful and upsetting and we should be kind. 

Rephrasing things in this way will create a positive environment for your 3 year old to listen and respond to what you’re asking them to do, without the need for yelling.

Acknowledge Then Redirect

How To Get A 3 Year Old To Listen Without Yelling

At the age of 3, your child will want to start making their own decisions.

Whilst there might be some occasions where you can let them do this – like choosing which shirt to wear or whether they want to go swimming or go to the park – there are plenty of times when you need to make the decisions for them. 

They might resist, but one of the best ways to deal with this calmly is to acknowledge their resistance but then redirect their attention. 

For example, your child might not want to stop playing with their toys in order to go to nursery. Acknowledge that they want to carry on playing, but reinforce firmly but calmly that they have to go to school and it is time to leave.

Then redirect their attention by engaging them in a conversation – ‘what toys will you play with at nursery today?’ 

This prevents them from feeling frustrated that they haven’t been listened to, it sets a clear boundary, but also stops them from dwelling on the fact that they were told no. 

Validation And Sympathy

Being a young child can be difficult – there is so much to learn. Sometimes it can all get a bit overwhelming which can cause a 3 year old to have a tantrum or get angry and not listen. It is important that you validate your child’s feelings and show sympathy without yelling.

It might not seem like a big deal to you that they couldn’t stay longer at the park, but they could find it very upsetting and will only become more frustrated if they think you don’t care. 

Tell them that you know they are sad because they wanted to stay at the park longer, but it’s time to go home. Reassure them that you will come back on another day.

This type of validation and empathetic approach is a great resource to getting a 3 year old to listen to you without the need for yelling.

Encourage Cooperation 

If you give your 3 year old a list of demands, you are very likely to be met with resistance. For example, if you are in a rush to leave the house and you start yelling orders like ‘clean your teeth, put your shoes on’ they might say no, or just do something else. 

Instead, try to work together. Ask them what else they need to do before they leave the house. Say, ‘shall we put your coat on ready to leave?’. This approach is much more likely to get your 3 year old to listen and co-operate. 

Final Thoughts

Parenting a 3 year old can be tough at the best of times. Throw in a toddler who is reluctant to listen and it becomes a whole lot tougher.

Hopefully with our handy guide we have covered some simple ways in which you can learn how to get a 3 year old to listen without yelling, and to create a much more harmonious balance between parent and toddler.

Joyce Bailey
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