My Kids Ignore Me…

Dear Sara,

I have three preschoolers that I love dearly. However I find myself frustrated and screaming at them when they ignore me and won’t do what I say. I really don’t want to yell at them but feel that this is the only way I can get their attention. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Christa,

You do  have your hands full and I can understand your frustration. Maybe it’s time to change your tactics. It sounds like your kids have heard you scream so much that they have learned to tune you out. They are used to doing what they want until they absolutely have to stop. It’s time to use your Mom voice using a serious tone of voice that says that Mom is upset and consequences will follow.

Let your preschoolers know ahead of time what their choices and consequences will be. You can use time out or take away a privilege like TV.  Prepare a safe place for time out and make them sit there until their time is up.  You can say “you didn’t listen to what I wanted you to do so now you have to sit in time out.”

A minute per year is recommended but if this doesn’t work you can up it a bit. The idea is not to be harsh but take them away from your attention and their play time for a while. Begging and crying needs to be ignored.  It may take a few times of putting them in time out or taking away their dessert or TV but try to stay calm and let them know that you are the one in charge.

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