Okay, I am having a problem with my daughter. Whenever I ask or tell her to do something she will ignore me. Literally, she will act like I am not even there. So I will put her in time out for not listening to me and not doing what she is told and she will just scream at me and tell me she is not going to time out and not going to do what I asked. How do I fix this? (4 years old)
It is normal for toddlers to start testing their boundaries.
The 5 minute warning: Whether or not she is flat-out ignoring you, I would always let her know 5 minutes before any type of transition, that you are getting ready to switch activities. “In about 5 minutes we are going to get ready for lunch and putting our books away”. In 5 minutes, let her know it’s time to put her books away and get ready for lunch.
If at this point, it becomes a problem, I suggest 1 warning and 1 consequence to follow. And follow through with it.
I believe this warning is extremely important for kids! They are in their own little world. You, as an adult have already given yourself that warning internally by thinking and processing what you are about to do, while little ones know nothing, except about what they are currently doing. Think about how it might feel to have to all of a sudden drop everything you’re doing to do something else? That can be frustrating.
Make sure to communicate with your child about their feelings and actions. If they are upset about something, voice that it’s ok to feel that way, but it’s not ok to act the way they are. “It’s ok to be sad because you didn’t get to finish your story, but it’s not ok ignore me. You need to use your listening ears, or you will need to sit in timeout.”
I wouldn’t recommend any longer than 5 minutes seeing how kid’s attention spans are so small and it will seem like an hour to them. This might not work right away, but eventually she’ll start to understand the meaning of consequences. Time outs are great for young toddlers. For older children I suggest losing privileges, as time outs really aren’t as effective at this age.
Here are a few more ideas from an earlier post