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What to do if your child ignores you?

I had a client who struggled with her toddler's behavior. Her child was standing on her toys. My client became more and more frustrated as her child would not listen to her. Mom kept saying 'don't stand on the toys, you will break them'. Then, her child started to jump off the furniture. Every time my client told her daughter not do something, she ignored her. Mom became very annoyed and then felt awful when she lost her temper with her.

My advice was to be consistent. Do not keep repeating yourself and do not engage in arguing or pleading with your child to do something you have asked. Try to stop saying 'don't' and 'no' and redirect by offering another toy or game.

If your child ...

Stands on their puzzle, tell them they will break the puzzle and they need to get off it. If they do not get off the toy and are testing you (as they do), remove the puzzle and tell them they are not allowed to play with it. If appropriate, offer another toy. Depending on the age of the child and the circumstances, the toy can be removed and another toy is not offered. Maybe the child needs quiet time and you can read a book together to help her calm down.

If she...

Climbs on the furniture, instead of saying ‘don’t climb' ask her to keep their feet on the floor. Offer the stairs to climb. Maybe she needs to go outside and burn off her extra energy.

If she...

Throws hard toys- give her soft beans bags or rolled up socks to throw into an empty laundry basket. Explain that throwing a hard toy can damage furniture or hurt another child.

Be reflective not reactive- try to understand why your child is behaving in a certain way- are they bored, frustrated, tired?

Sometimes children act out to get attention (negative attention is better than no attention) so reinforce good behavior at all times.

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