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Help! Super-controlling 3 year old girl...any advice?

(11 Posts)
WarbsandTilda Thu 11-Apr-13 15:43:41

I hope a few of you might be able to shed some light on how to deal with my 3 year old little girl. She is bright, articulate, out-going and confident...which is great. The downside to these attributes is she is very aware of independence and is constantly striving for it (otherwise known as "controlling"). Every morning we have a confrontation about getting's not about what she wears- she doesnt seem to really mind that- its more about the fact she doesn't want to do it when you have chosen the time.....or she is just being a pain and playing up, messing about. I have treid all angels....marbles in the jar, sticker chart, reward chart etc and these work for lots of other areas of challenge....but getting dressed remains the sticking piont. Does anyone have a method that dealt with this in a positve way?

If anyone can recommend a good book which gives good advice on how to deal with firecely independant little girls I would be so greatful for a pointer as I am losing confidence in what I am aksing her to do as so many leads to confrontations.
Thank you!!

vladthedisorganised Thu 11-Apr-13 15:50:15

Warbs I feel your pain - I also have a strong-willed 3yo with an aversion to getting dressed!
What worked this week is a routine chart - I drew basic pictures of things that happen every day (like wake up, breakfast and so on) and did a cut-out sketch of DD which she moves around according to the time of day (a bit like a board game counter).

So after breakfast I suggest that 'paper DD' needs to move to the getting dressed square, which DD then does - then the suggestion that 'real DD' therefore needs to get dressed as well isn't so much of a shock.

Disclaimer in that I've only used this for a week, but so far so good.
Will be watching with interest around the book, though smile

Barney10 Thu 11-Apr-13 19:22:56

I found with Dd(now4) that giving her a warning of what was going to happen in a few minutes or after whatever she is doing helped a lot and still does; a sort of countdown. Eg. ' now dd, after we have finished breakfast we need to get dressed then we will be...'. A tip I picked up on here actually. She really hates having things sprung on her or dictated to and this seems to soften the blow!

I find now that she's older I'm doing it for the days of the week; telling her a day in advance what is going to happen tomorrow, sometimes as a sort of bedtime story. She seems to love it and be comforted by knowing what comes next.

ubik Thu 11-Apr-13 19:37:06

They're all like that.

Just choose your battles. My DD3 insists on tracksiuit bottoms and a t-shirt. No dresses. No tights. No to certain tops.

I insist she lwears clothes that are weather appropriate - do warm boots, coat and hat at the moment but beyond that I just don't bother battling. They become much more reasonable at 4.

And yy to warning - in 5 mins we will do x,y,z is very effective. Also cunting to 10 works very well indeed as it gives them time to think things through. If I get to 10 she is removed for a quick time out. It has to be quick as usually I have 2older sisters to get to school/deal with.

ubik Thu 11-Apr-13 19:37:57

Sorry 'counting to 10' blush

Lawabidingmama Thu 11-Apr-13 22:06:36

My DD has just turned 3 and is the same hates getting dressed! I'm going to try a reward system, it's a total PITA as my 1 year old has started copying and runs away the minute I get the wash cloth out...

Jcee Thu 11-Apr-13 22:19:31

I feel your pain - i have a 3 yo exactly the same with daily morning battles about which dress she wants to wear sometimes with a full on strop usually when we are running late...

I have a getting dressed sticker chart and am doing the countdown, which is backfiring spectacularly as sometimes she tells me its 3 minutes till i get her a biscuit hmm

We are also trialling options, so if she won't put on her clothes I offer her options like put these on with no fuss and get a sticker for your chart or don't put any clothes on and go to nursery in no clothes and you'll be cold etc. This is working well and she seems to respond to having a choice to make rather than me making it for her, although i think she is catching onto DPs approach of always making option 1 good and option 2 naughty

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 11-Apr-13 22:25:58

I agree with the pre warning that does seem to work quite well. Another thing that maybe could be tried to let her feel she is in control is to give her positive choices. I.e. 'would you like to wear this dress or this outfit today'. Not would you like to get dressed. When going out rather than shall we get ready would you like shoes or wellies/ coat or rain mac? Each question has two options each (acceptable) answer is positive and lets your DD feel she's in control but actually she's being gently led.

AwkwardAnnie Thu 11-Apr-13 22:40:37

Definitely warn them. My DD is 5, if I tell her she has to do something now we have all out tantrums. If I say we have to do something in 5 minutes she's fine (and no sense of time means I can then tell her 5 minutes is up a minute later.)

We pick our arguments, thankfully she has better dress sense than me though she'll often need guidance as to appropriate warmth for clothes, so we give her options, if it's cold she can wear either trousers, or a skirt and tights. She still has choice so she's still in control.

When/where does she get dressed? DD loves watching telly in the morning so we used to have a no telly (or at least no kids TV) till dressed rule, which made her hurry up to get dressed. She gets dressed downstairs usually too so we can keep prompting her. But it could be that you use breakfast as the reward for getting dressed quickly.

Or try turning it into a race. My DD will speed up at anything if she thinks it's a race. Just make sure she wins or they'll be another tantrum smile

Pozzled Thu 11-Apr-13 22:46:02

When my DD1 was at that stage, I tried to make getting dressed into a big game- I was 'silly mummy' and she would have to tell me what to do. I'd start by grabbing a pair of socks, and in my mock strict voice I'd say 'Right then DD, hurry up- we need to get these on your ears straight away. What? Not your ears? Oh, that's right, we need to put them on your hands." It didn't always work, but often I'd have her shouting at me, desparate to show me how to put her clothes on properly.

Goldmandra Fri 12-Apr-13 00:34:22

When she wants something say that of course she can have or do it as soon as she is dressed. That way you are giving her the control to decide when she gets dressed in order to get whatever she has asked for.

If you start to run out of time you can give her a deadline for getting dressed after which the thing she wants will no longer be available.


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