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Mum of 2

My three and a half year old is driving me insane. He doesn't listen to a word I say and his answer to everything is no! Can someone please help! It's mainly giving him a bath and putting him to bed that's becoming a drama.

Hi! You must be exhausted. Three year olds love to challenge us, don’t they! They like to feel like they are in control. They are developing their independence. Sometimes, we have to pick our battles. I have a few ideas that you can try if you like!

Try and give your little one some control. See if you can give your three year old options. Not too many, just keep it very very simple! So, instead of ‘put your shoes on’, you can give them a choice. ‘Would you like to put your shoes on, on the step or on the floor?’

Try and stay calm and acknowledge their opinion. If they are refusing to put PJs on for example: 'Ok, so you don’t want to put your pyjamas on.' Then, calmly tell them that we won’t have time for a book if we don’t put them on in the next five minutes. Then you will have to follow it through. Often, when you acknowledge the upset, it helps them calm, as they feel heard and understood.

Another thing you could try is offering praise around bath time and bedtime. So, with anything that he is doing well within this situation, give some detailed praise: 'I really like the way you put on your pyjamas straight away today.' Even at supper time, leading up to bath time, you could say, 'I really like the way you are sitting so patiently at the table.' The more praise you give around the situation, hopefully the negative challenges and the ‘no’ may subside. More attention on the positives, if that makes sense.

Also, if you can give a little bit of one-to-one time with him before bath time/bedtime. Sometimes, easier said than done when there may be other siblings or things to get done. I find if I boost their one-to-one time, their behaviour improves. No big gestures or anything, just a little bit of quality time for 10-15 minutes like reading a book, doing a little puzzle together. This is something I am finding really hard to do at the moment. I now have three under five! I know I need to give them a little one-to-one time, in order to encourage some positive behaviour and improve their listening and cooperation.

I hope some of this helps! Good luck!

Pregnant mum of 3