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I need help! I need to learn how to effectively communicate with my 5 year old without yelling.

This has got to be the most difficult time...I forgot how he was during the terrible 2s, but he is just not listening to me. I have a one year old as well, and I don't think it is unreasonable for me to expect my oldest to listen to me when asked to do something. Clean up your room, remove your plate and glass from the table, let's practice reading etc. Everything is a no or gets ignored. Then through frustration, I resort to yelling like a mad woman and hate that. I tried the 1, 2, 3 warning to get his attention, but he always seems consumed by something else. When he gets home from school, he's cranky, because he refuses to eat his breakfast or skips his snack time. He only goes for half a day. So as soon as he gets off the bus, it's like here we go. I feel like I am not doing a good job and just am at my wits end. How can I change this. If I ask nicely, it gets ignore, yelling just stresses us both out. Help!!

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:23 PM on Oct. 24, 2008 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (11)
  • First, it seems you already know half the problem....he's not eating breakfast and not eating a snack. So, you need to work on changing his habits or schedule. Next, you already realize that yelling does nothing but escalate the issue at hand and makes you feel horrible and I'm sure it upsets your son also. So, think before you react. I know that's hard! But stop for a sec, think, then speak. I would try a reward system, such as a poster board with his "chores" and every time he does them without being nagged at he gets a star. At the end of the week he gets to pick a treat/prize out of a "treasure chest". Age 5 is such a hard age to figure out. Hang in there!


    Answer by Southerncharmes at 10:35 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • Sound like to me you need to turn off the tv OR get in his eye level, have him look at you, ask him if he's listening, then tell him what you'd like him to do. Make it a game. Get a alarm clock set it. Give him a chore tell him he has til' the bell goes off to get it done. Let him know that when its done you have a surprise for him. Color with him, (and your 1 yr old) play cars with him, make cookies or cupcakes. In the beginning help him get started,then let him finish.
    After school give him 1 hr down time then let him get started.

    Answer by nightowlmama4 at 10:55 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • Thanks. I am going to try both. I will get a bunch of stuff from the dollar store as rewards. He loves getting stickers. That's how we get through reading. He also loves to know how quickly he gets something done. He has never been a morning eater, so that's a tough one. I will try my darnest to think before I start losing it. I want kids to feel loved.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:07 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • Another thing to keep in mind is that he's just now reaching the stage where he'll start understanding when you explain thing to him. Give him time outs, but you need them too. I learned this with my daughter. You both need time to cool off when you get frustrated with each other in order to effectively work out the situation.

    Answer by cskomk0106 at 11:26 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • try whispering, sounds funny but it works for some kids. you go to them and whisper what you want, they have to try harder to hear you so they listen. My mom does in-home daycare and this trick works for some kids

    Answer by Lynette at 11:29 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • These sound like good ideas. For an overall view of what children need and how they understand the world, I highly recommend you get a waldorf book like Rahima Baldwin's You Are Your Child's First Teacher. With insights like these, parenting gets very easy, your home gets filled with light-heartedness, and mothering becomes more fascinating than anything else in the world.

    Answer by waldorfmom at 3:20 AM on Oct. 25, 2008

  • I was having issues w/ my 5 year old too not listening to me and telling me no or just outright ignoring me. I got the idea from another parent for making him go to bed 10 minutes early for each time he gets in trouble. It was difficult for the first few days b/c he seemed to think I wouldn't actually make him go to bed at 6 30. But I did, and he did. Now if he goes to bed early it's only 20 minutes or he goes by himself b/c he's tired (yah, he'll send himself to bed sometimes).

    I think it's just a fact of finding what works for your kid. Good luck with all these ideas!

    Answer by rlemde at 2:25 PM on Oct. 25, 2008

  • I have a daughter just like that and if she's hungry, get out of the way! I've learned to give her a snack as soon as she hits the door, give her a little time off before homework and try to be flexible. But I have found myself yelling sometimes, too - out of sheer frustration. It's hard to be the mommy sometimes.

    Answer by PamR at 3:32 PM on Oct. 25, 2008

  • would he drink a breakfast drink? (sometimes it's easier to drink in the morning than to eat- this at least he'd get his protein.
    can you ask him to pick some snacks he'd like (MAYBE from a list of acceptible options)

    if he doesn't do what he's told, just institute a consequence without yelling.. like if he doesn't clear his plate, don't say anythng,but when he goes to watch TV or play outside- just stop him. tell him he is not allowed. when he asks why simply tell him becuase he didn't take care of his plate. Tell him if he makes the choice to take care of it now- he can have computer tomorrow. the choice is his.
    or assign hand washing all the dishes for not taking care of his plate ( or at least hand washing his own plates) just hand out the consequence matter-of-factly

    Answer by Kiter at 11:20 PM on Oct. 25, 2008

  • My 5 yr old is the somewhat the same but instead of yelling or repeating my request I say it once and he usually decides to do it on his own. When he doesn't I ask him again and give him one more chance before privelages are taken away. It's something to do with control and independence. When he finally does what I ask I praise him as if he did it the first time and he's been improving. It's almost as if he wants me to beg him over and over and when I don't he gets over it and does it.

    Answer by brimarie8 at 12:09 AM on Oct. 27, 2008

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