My two-and-a-half-year-old is in a phase where it seems he doesn't want to do something. He ignores me. It's like he doesn't even hear me. I don't like to yell or get angry, but lately, I get so frustrated that he ignores me that I sometimes yell.
Thank you for the question. I can tell from your question that you are working hard to be a great parent. Remember, if you yell, you can always go back and repair it by telling your child. I’m sorry mommy yelled. That was a scary voice I used. Mommy is working on not yelling. I love you, and it is never your fault when I yell.
Having a child who ignores a request is so frustrating. When your child ignores you, he isn’t doing it deliberately to annoy you or to be naughty.
Ignoring an adult is normal developmental behavior at that age. There are a whole host of reasons your child may be ignoring you. One possible explanation is this is the age when autonomy is important to your child.
As your child discovers his personality and independence, he loves to assert his power, ignoring you is one way to do that.
He also doesn’t have the brain development that gives him enough bandwidth to remember what you asked him to do a few minutes ago because he was distracted by something more interesting at that moment. Kids have an amazing ability to live in the moment.
What can you do to help your toddler “hear you” and not ignore you?
- Connect before you direct. Get down to your child’s eye level and connect with an acknowledgment of what they are doing. “I see you are having so much fun racing your cars around the living room.” “I know it’s hard to stop playing, and bummer, it’s bath time.
- Give simple one-step, no more than two-step instructions. “let’s drive your racecars up the ramp into the toy box.
- Give choices. “Do you want to race me to the bath or zoom you like a race car to the tub?
- Reframe no’s as yes. “I know you want me to read you another book; yes, let’s pick out a book, and we will read it first tomorrow night.”