Last week we talked about how hard it can be to get your three year old’s attention. They have very important business to attend to. And it seems that most times it doesn’t involve listening very well. I mean my kid doesn’t even answer to his name unless it’s been yelled 15 times. But, lately I’ve been noticing a change with my threenager, he’ll actually stop and listen, with one simple trick!

Three year olds are not very good at listening. But, I have found one trick that will get my threenager to stop and listen. Even for two seconds!

One Simple Trick to Get Your Threenager to Stop and Listen!

To be honest despite how the title of this post sounds, my three year old doesn’t listen perfectly. Some days I yell more than I should. Some days I pick my battles, and or hide behind the screens. But on my best days I realize he is just 3. And that he isn’t trying to be bad. He’s learning that he has different wants and opinions than me and when it’s okay to follow through with those. He hasn’t caught on that it’d be easier to just listen the first time when I tell him calmly that’s it’s time to listen to mom‘s way. On the days where I’m trying to stay with his age and stage I’ve found one thing that will get him to stop and listen more than anything else.

“1,2,3 Freeze”

It’s nothing complex at all. But, it’s different enough to get his attention and make him feel like we are playing a game. My threenager tip for listening is as simple as saying “1,2,3 freeze”. Loud enough to get his attention. But, saves me from losing my __ and yelling.

Why does it work?

I have tried to reason with a wild little man running around like he’s been given a triple shot of espresso, in a calm voice. With reason and grown up words. But, it’s just lost in his madness. This catches his attention. Makes him feel like we’re playing a game together. He feels like we’re having fun, instead of getting into trouble.

I have also noticed that it helps me. It gives me a 3 second count to gain my cool. It takes effort and choice to handle the situation in this way. When often it feels like I have lost control when I give into the frustration and just yell.

Granted, I still have to use this tip multiple times a day. Saying it once doesn’t mean he will listen to everything I say from there on out with no reminders. But, it does stop a crazy threenager in their tracks. Gets their attention in the moment. And, your instructions are far more likely to be really heard when the receiver is stopped. As opposed to just spewing instructions out into space.

Despite how crazy and out of control it often feels to try and guide a threenager through life and making good choices. I’ve found that the key to dealing really is feeling in control and staying calm. This is my calm when I know that I could otherwise lose it.

The next time your three year old is jumping from couch cushion to couch cushion and singing on the top of their lungs, even though the family rule is no jumping, and they “know” it; take a deep breathe and let out a loud, calm, and collected “1,2,3 freeze”. Just maybe your threenager will stop for 2 seconds. No matter how many times you will have to say it again throughout the day, isn’t a couple seconds of stillness and listening the ultimate goal?