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Anonymous 

3yo suddenly not listening to me and has started hitting us when upset. There hasn't been any changes at home or at childcare recently, so I can't work out what's going on or what I should do. Any ideas?

TOP RESPONSE
Let's Ask Livvy 
It would be good to get some more info from you as the most effective strategies are those that are personalised. These are both very common challenges around your child's age. The not listening can be for a number of reasons- such as being too involved in play, not wanting to leave a preferred activity, increased demands due to increasing independent levels or testing boundaries. A decrease in listening can also sometimes link into attention- so try to make sure that you child is getting more attention when he/she does listen first time. A personalised strategy would be best- but for starters I would recommend praising the behaviour you want to see more of so- lots of "nice listening" when he/she does listen nicely. If engaged in play/ another activities/ - preferred activity- try to gain attention before placing a demand and make sure to have realistic expectations- i.e. listening- responding may decrease if you're taking your child away from a preferred activity/ asking them to do something tricky/ when tired / hungry (or when we are tried or hungry!!) The hitting often emerges when our kids understanding of language exceeds their spoken language and they cannot verbalise their frustrations- the correct strategy for you will depend on a number of factors and will need to be personalised- but for starters- make sure he/ she is not getting more attention for hitting than using their words. The most effective strategies are those that fit in with how you parent- What is your current response to hitting? Some more info would be good.
ALL RESPONSES
Let's Ask Livvy 
It would be good to get some more info from you as the most effective strategies are those that are personalised. These are both very common challenges around your child's age. The not listening can be for a number of reasons- such as being too involved in play, not wanting to leave a preferred activity, increased demands due to increasing independent levels or testing boundaries. A decrease in listening can also sometimes link into attention- so try to make sure that you child is getting more attention when he/she does listen first time. A personalised strategy would be best- but for starters I would recommend praising the behaviour you want to see more of so- lots of "nice listening" when he/she does listen nicely. If engaged in play/ another activities/ - preferred activity- try to gain attention before placing a demand and make sure to have realistic expectations- i.e. listening- responding may decrease if you're taking your child away from a preferred activity/ asking them to do something tricky/ when tired / hungry (or when we are tried or hungry!!) The hitting often emerges when our kids understanding of language exceeds their spoken language and they cannot verbalise their frustrations- the correct strategy for you will depend on a number of factors and will need to be personalised- but for starters- make sure he/ she is not getting more attention for hitting than using their words. The most effective strategies are those that fit in with how you parent- What is your current response to hitting? Some more info would be good.
Anonymous 
Thank you so much! Lots of good advice there. I think you're right about having realistic expectations. He's lucky enough to have lots of toys he loves (generous extended family!) and maybe I'm expecting too much when he's in the middle of play. I'll try to add more praise for listening, as you suggest. As for the hitting, our response so far has been try to change his focus and not to dwell on it too much until he calms down. Then we've tried to calmly ask him why he was upset, which at his age he obviously struggles to express. So I think you're right on that point too. He tends to hit us when he's tired, so I suppose that's part of it as well. I'll try adding more praise here too, when he is able to communicate rather than hitting. Thank you for your help.
Anonymous 
Oh and I just noticed the blue tick and looked at your profile. I thought you were sounding very professional in your response and now I see why! Some very nice testimonials on your site, Livvy.
Let's Ask Livvy 
Happy to help- let me know if you don't see a positive change in behaviours over the coming weeks and contact me if you need more info- good luck x

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