How to Encourage Listening and Cooperation

Most three year-olds enjoy their sudden ability to speak and move about on their own. More often than not, these factors contribute to fuel temper tantrums and behavior problems.

If you are experiencing this kind of problem with your three-year old, the Mayo Clinic recommends doing the following:

Set and enforce limits

Sometimes, acting defiant is a toddler’s response to a lack of limits. Look at the limits that you have set for your child and see how you enforce them. Let your child know what is expected of him and. Make sure he/she knows the consequences of poor behavior.

For instance, you want your child to clean up his/her toys after playing. When you ask your child to do it, remind him/her that it is his/her job to clean up his/her toys. Explain the consequence of not cleaning up his/her toys. Perhaps you can prevent access to a favorite toy for a couple of days.

Allow for ample transition time

Going quickly for one activity to the next can be tough for a toddler. To help develop cooperation, give your child several warnings about upcoming transitions. For instance, you can say, "It’s almost time for dinner. You can play for 10 more minutes, and then I’ll help you wash your hands." Give him/her another warning at five minutes. When the time is up, be firm about going to the next activity.

Praise good behavior

When your child follows directions or has other good behaviors, praise him. Tell him/her exactly what he/she has don and how proud you are of that behavior. You can say, "Thank you for sharing your toy with your sister. I’m so proud of you!" Make it a point to catch your toddler demonstration good behavior throughout the day. Spend a few minutes talking about the good behavior you observed that day.

Correct with care

Whenever you correct your child’s poor behavior, follow it up with suggestions on how to improve his behavior. Make sure your child understands what is inappropriate. When your toddler responds with good behavior, praise him/her for doing the right thing.

Source: MayoClinic