Every mother will agree that getting a 3-year-old to behave is a challenging task. However, the trick is learning how to pick your battles and consistency. This means acting authoritative and it is not an easy thing to perform, especially when the moment arrives. Well, the techniques below will help:
1. Pick Your Fights
Fighting with your 3-year-old over every bad behavior will leave you fighting the whole day. Rather than doing this, pick a list of those behaviors that really bother you. Let your list include behaviors surrounding dangerous behaviors, annoying or uncivil. This means going for behaviors that deem forbidden such as riding a tricycle in the street, leaving the house without an adult present and others.
The way to discipline them is by setting clear and specific rules, which carry logical consequences if broken. Logical consequences simply mean disciplines that are deemed applicable to a situation, which also teaches. For example, a child who bites cannot learn through biting back. This is not logical. It will only teach the child that the bigger person gets to bite. Reminding the child why it is not good to bite and a brief time-out in a boring place is more logical.
Do not feel any sympathy to the child and follow through on whatever discipline you have decided on. Lack of consistency will only confuse the kid and promote rebellion.
2. Deal with Less Serious Misconducts as They Arise
Less serious misconducts may include swearing, not sharing, lying, and others. When it comes to such cases, it is wise to develop an overall policy and deal with each as they arise. However, when a child feels died, sick, hungry, or facing stress for some reason, it is wise to be flexible.
3. Practice Prevention
Prevention is a great way to teach a 3-year-old child without actually using words. This technique simply entails using the knowledge you have about your kid against them. for example, let’s say your child loves playing with the VCR, rather than condemning him/her, keep it out of reach. If the child likes opening draws and kitchen cupboards every day, lock the cabinets. This is generally childproofing.
4. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead will help you discipline your child. For example, if your child tends to be happy and energetic in the morning but grumpy and tired after lunch then you should prepare your activities when the child is at his/her best. You can also prepare her for a new experience and explain how you expect them to act. Many kids misbehave when they are bored. To avoid this, pack a bag of toys and snacks. You should also prepare for different activities the child can do.
5. Stay Calm
If the child begins misbehaving, rather than lashing out, face it calmly. Consider using a soft, relaxed tone, while the words should be positive and neutral. At the same time, using suggestions will promote cooperation than commands. For example, saying “why don’t you wash your hands now so that you will be set to eat when supper is on the table” will have far more results than saying “Go wash your hands at once”. Criticism does not help also.
Rather than using “You” statements, consider using “I”. For example, rather than saying “You are so selfish that you won’t even share your toys with your friend”, try “I like it when I see kids sharing toys and playing together”.
In conclusion, make sure that the tone and words you use feel like you do not love the child. For example, saying “I can’t stand it when you act like that” is a tone that does not show love and sounds final. Rather, consider saying “I do not like it when you try to pull cans from the store shelves”. This sounds loving and describes that you do not like a particular behavior and not the person.