How to Get Your Preschooler to Listen to You and Respect You 
An article for Parents, Caregivers, and ECE Teachers

As an Early Childhood Educator I have had many parents approach me and ask this question:

“How do you get my child to listen to you, they won’t do that for me, or, they don’t listen to me like that.”

The answer is so simple. If you want to know the answer please read this article.

No means no. Now before you roll your eyes and say, “I’ve heard that before, I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work.” You need to read what I have tried and guarantee will work.

I was a supply teacher for a while and would cover vacations and maternity leaves and sick days at a daycare. So I got tested really badly from children. Why wouldn’t I, I was a new teacher that wasn’t there everyday so they wanted to test me to see what they would get away with.
One day in particular I had set out the teeter-totter for the children on the playground (among other toys to play with). One of the daycare rules that the children know very well is that when they are on the teeter-totter with a friend, they are not supposed to jump off the teeter-totter while they have their friend on the other end, up in the air. They know that their friend will end up slamming down to the ground and could be injured.

I observed this one young boy do it to one of his friends. So I reminded him that we weren’t supposed to do that. About 15 minutes later I saw him do it again.
As a Parent or ECE Teacher-What would you do?
A. Give him 2 more chances?
B. Remove him from the teeter-totter and let him play somewhere else?
C. Keep reminding him of the rules hoping he will stop?
D. Ignore the situation; he’s just doing it for the attention. He will stop if I look the other way.
E. None of the above.
The answer is E. All the choices I gave are what I see being done so often with some parents and also some day care providers I have worked with.

If I had done A-D, I was keeping the child in the air at high risk for getting a tooth knocked out, or falling hard to ground and possibly biting his tongue or lip severely.

And as for letter B, I would be putting the other children at risk as the child who jumped off the teeter-totter seemed to be in the mood to try and hurt someone.

Not too mention he was deliberately disobeying a school rule that was known well and had been repeated to all children.

What did I do? I immediately removed the child from the area by holding his hand and walking him to a chair set in a quiet area away from the other children.

He was yelling and screaming that he didn’t want to go on time out. So I got down to eye level with him and calmly said, “You chose to go on time out.” He then yelled, “No I didn’t.” So I calmly said,” Yes, when you dropped your friend from the teeter-totter you were telling me that you wanted to go on time out because you know that we get time outs for breaking school rules, especially when they can hurt our other friends.

He didn’t like what I said very much so he got up from time out and started to walk away. So I directed him back to the chair. He got up again and walked away, so I again directed him back to the chair. He did this about 4-5 times. What did I do to show him I was in charge? I didn’t give up. In many situations, by the third or fourth time I’ve seen parents give up because they think it’s hopeless. That’s exactly what the child wants you to think. They are testing you to see what they can get away with.

So if you give up, they know exactly what to do next time, what buttons to push, and how long it will take before you give up and give in to what they want.

Back to the situation. I calmly said to him, “I can do this all day if you want, but then you will miss out on play time outside with your friends.” He didn’t like that very much so he just sat in the chair and yelled at me some more. He said he hated me and that he hated school.

How do you feel when your child tells you they hate you when you discipline them by time-out or loss of privileges?

Many parents take it to heart and think that their child really won’t love them anymore or have a grudge against them forever, or are harming them by making them so angry, and they cringe when they hear their child say such harsh words to them. The big thing to remember and the hardest thing to do is, take it with a grain of salt.

You are the adult, you make the rules to be followed, not broken. If they start to break the rules and get away with it, you are basically telling them not to listen to you, and that they are the ones making the rules. Your rules don’t really matter if you don’t care about them.