How to Save Your 3-Year-Old Toddler from Behavior Problems

Toddlerhood is a very trying time to prepare.  3-year-old behavior problems can be an issue in this period. Toddlers are going through an important stage of their development. As tough as these times are for parents, it is comforting to know that it is temporary. As it is the age when children begin asserting themselves and discovering their independence.

Unfortunately, this Independence does not bring extra logic and reasoning. Toddlers can get very frustrated when they realize that their world doesn’t want to cooperate with them.

Mommy won’t get them another cookie. Daddy won’t throw them up one more time. And bubby or sissy is too busy to play with them. Actually, the frustration toddlers experience stems from the understanding that they have a greater influence on their world.

Their vocabulary, their self-control, and ability to express themselves is trying to catch up to their desires and need to assert themselves. This can make for a very challenging time for the entire household.


Tips to Handle 3-Year-Olds Behavior Problems

Following are the 4 effective tips to change 3-year-old toddlers behavioral problems.

1. Distract

 Tips to Handle 3-Year-Olds Behavior Problems

Don’t scream or yell at your when they act out. This is because your facial expression and tone of voice will have the opposite effect upon them, from what you intended. Additionally, frequent yelling can actually cause your child to tune you out.

A better idea to solve 3-year-olds behavior problems is to interest her in another activity. For example, if she’s trying to get at something that is off-limits, like grabbing the bottles from the medicine cabinet, you can gently take her by the hand and guide her to a spot on the floor, away from the objects of interest, and start doing a puzzle or game together.

Distracting her attention will terminate the unwanted behavior, but it also minimizes the stress that comes from power struggles.

Handy Tips to Get A Stubborn Toddler to Listen


2. Delight

behavior problems of 3 year old toddler

The routines of the day provide many opportunities for you to facilitate good behavior. Two times that are rich with potential bonding time, are bath and bedtime. Bath time is a way to create some delightful memories that make behavior so much easier for parent and child. “The Bath Song” is a great way to encourage a child who is reluctant to be bathed.

Bedtime doesn’t have to be the focal point of nightly power struggles. You can promise your youngster a treat or special book before it is time to go down for the night. Build excitement for it.

Your preschooler may come to associate bath and bedtimes with special memories that will not only minimize challenging behaviors but linger lovingly in their minds for years to come. There are many sources for songs and games to play throughout the day, for everything from clean up to dinner time.


3. Direct

3 year old behavior problems

Reacting to children’s every mistake or responding to everything that comes out of their mouths is not very helpful, either for your stress level or their ongoing cooperation.

If you choose to make every naughty behavior an issue, you will be constantly fighting with some children. It is more helpful and infinitely more sensible to have a few hard and fast rules–major behaviors that you cannot deal with, either because they are unsafe, uncivil, or uncouth.

For actions that are dangerous, like walking out into the middle of the street, just set clear, specific expectations with consequences that are simple to understand.

Hitting a child in retaliation, for example, is not a natural consequence for a child who hits because it implies that the rules for an adult or bigger person are different. This may confuse a child or cause them to accept abuse from someone bigger. A simple reminder of why hitting is not ok and a time-out in a place that is no fun make more sense.

How long should a child sit in time-out? The rule of thumb is one minute per year of life. (e.g. 3 minutes for a 3-year-old.)It is helpful to use a timer, otherwise, you might forget and leave the child to sit for much longer and they will squirm.

Please make sure to follow through on whatever disciplinary policy you choose. If you are inconsistent, it will confuse kids of all ages, and encourage them to rebel. Please remember to always praise your child when he is listening, following directions, or engaging in the desired behavior. These will lessen toddlers especially 3-year-olds behavior problems.

For less serious offenses, like refusing to give back a toy, it is useful to understand the context. If the child is playing with another child’s toys, it is helpful to explain, beforehand, that some toys are ok to keep, but toys that belong to other kids are just ok to borrow.

Indoor Activities for 3-Year-Old Children


4. Devise

behavior problems of 3 year old toddler

Practice preventive discipline. Use what you know about how your child behaves, to reduce bad behaviors. If he likes to do things to get attention when you have to get pressing work done, have a few of his favorite puzzles or games handy, or even a tablet. Technology should be used in moderation. This will keep him from driving you nuts while helping him to improve his fine motor skills.

Also, prepare your child for the day. Trips to the park, the store, or the doctor, should be done earlier rather than later, because young children have bursts of energy when they wake up, then quickly flag as the day wears on. Make it a habit to keep interesting things packed when you go places, to keep him from getting bored.

Finally, give your child transitional cues. “In just a couple minutes, we are going to leave the library and go to grandpa. Can you put all the books back in the bin?


Toddlerhood is taxing, but a temporary phase that all children must experience. How you approach this period in your child’s life and the important messages you communicate to her will help her to develop the self-discipline needed to become a happy and emotionally healthy child.

We hope these tips will help you to understand and lessen 3-year-old toddlers behavior problems.