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Three year old expectations

Okay. So I am a SAHM to a three year old boy. We live in a TINY town and he is rarely around other children. Before I had him I worked at a preschool with 2.5 year olds. But that was three years ago, and don't really remember much about that whole experience (I hated it the whole time) When we go into public he acts terribly (IMO) and I don't know how to correct it. What is acceptable for a three year old and what is considered out of line? There was even one time we were in IKEA and he completely took off and ran from us. I literally had to chase him down. What am I supposed to do in this situation? Am I bad mom, or do I have a difficult child?

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:39 PM on Apr. 10, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (6)
  • It could be that he acts terribly in public because he doesn't know what is expected of him. Before you go somewhere (even the day before) start telling him, " Tomorrow we are going to ________. When you are there you need to act like a big boy and stay with mommy" Let him know what you want from him. Just randomly tell him this before you go so he is sure to hear you. If he keeps running from you I would put him a stroller, better be safe than sorry. I just started letting my 2.5 year old walking at times. If he does not hold my hand and runs off he knows that I have his back pack with the leash that he will have to put on (he hates wearing it). I have only had to use it once and that was enough. He knows what is expected and what will happen he does not listen. Or at IKEA you could of told him if he runs off he is going to sit in a cart and follow through. They do a lot better if they have their boundaries.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:59 PM on Apr. 10, 2009

  • I agree with anonymous. Tell your child what the expectations are before you go into the store and also tell him what rewarding activity that he will get to do if he behaves well for you. Maybe it is a trip to his favorite store if you are at a mall or a trip to the park if you have time after you finish your shopping. When telling him the expectations make sure you don't just tell him to "be good". Tell him exactly what behavior you want from him. State it in positive ways. Ex. stay next to the buggy, etc.
    Were you wondering about any other expecatations? Educational?

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 7:04 AM on Apr. 11, 2009

  • It's expected of him to stay by your side. Will he try to push his boundries? What 3 year old doesn't! It's your job to be consitent. If he runs off, make him sit in time-out wherever you are. My kids take time0outs in Walmart when they act up! Warn him if it happens again, you'll take him to the car. If he does it again, TAKE HIM TO THE CAR. He will learn.

    Like someone else said, let him know YOUR expectations directly before you are about to go into public so he isn't in the dark. I go over rules with my kids in the car before they're allowed to open their doors.

    Answer by ReneeK3 at 4:14 PM on Apr. 11, 2009

  • I do tell him what I expect from him before we go in, but he just doesn't get it. Sometimes he is very well behaved, and then sometimes he is just a little monster. I try to avoid going out when he is tired b/c that makes it worse. Time outs in public don't work for him at all, and I can't exactly spank him.

    When I take him to the car, what am I supposed to do? Do I tell him we're going to stay in here until you decide to behave? Does he understand the cause and effect?

    Am I babying him or am I expecting too much from a three year old.

    I just really am looking for behavioral expectations, but educational as well too. I think he pretty good. He knows his shapes (heart, circle, diamond, square, triangle, star) His abcs, recognizes some letters. Can count to 13 etc. Knows his age, name, birthday, our names. Thanks for all y'alls help!!!

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:23 PM on Apr. 11, 2009

  • Sounds like he's right on track to me, that's basically what my 3 year old is doing.

    He's plenty old enough to understand a basic choice with consequences. If we're out and my guy starts acting up I tell him he can walk nicely or sit in the carriage and it's his choice. Usually he picks walking nicely and sticks to it. Sometimes he thinks about it and decides he'd better just sit in the carriage because he can't behave. It's very rare for him to say he'll walk nice and then not behave.

    Answer by RhondaVeggie at 2:28 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • He is on track for what a three year old is doing but it doesn't mean you have to tolerate it. You let him know your expectations and have a set of consisequences that mean something to him if he chooses not to behave.
    And no youare not a bad mom you have a wonderful energetic handful little boy. I have one of those too.
    Another idea is taking him on short frequent outings and make them longer as time goes on and he can handle it. My rule is reguardless of what i need to do when he is done we are done it can always wait. I never let me get to the point where i need to pick something up and if it is a need it is the first thing i pick up. I hope this helps.
    pm me if you want to talk about anything else

    Answer by kitkat41084 at 11:38 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

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