How To Get A 4-Year-Old To Listen? 5 Parenting Techniques

As a mother of a 4-year-old, you know that getting them to listen can sometimes feel impossible. It’s exhausting trying different strategies and nothing sticks – until now.

How to get a 4-year-old to listen?

Getting a 4-year-old to listen requires clear and concise communication, consistency in enforcing rules and consequences, and positive reinforcement for good behavior. Modeling good behavior and active listening can also encourage a child to listen and follow instructions.

In this blog post, I’m going to offer practical tips on how to get your 4-year-old to obey you without resorting to physical punishment or manipulation. With patience and consistency, you’ll see results quickly and will no longer feel like yelling at them every time they don’t want to listen. So let’s dive into it.

How To Get A 4-Year-Old To Listen

My 4-Year-Old Won’t Listen – How Should I Approach Them?

1. Are you giving your youngster the attention he or she deserves?

Is this something you truly want to undertake? It’s essential to consider this first since a lot of children will respond by acting out or being noisy as a way to get their parent’s attention.

2. Is your parenting code too harsh?

Parents who discourage play, especially outdoor play, might be contributing to behavioral issues.

Being overly concerned about their every action, and restricting fun activities, (helicopter parenting) may be stifling development and autonomy.

3. What are the most significant changes that have occurred?

Your youngster may be under a lot of stress trying to deal with strong feelings such as fear, rage, and betrayal.

A 4-year-old who isn’t listening and talking back might be expressing a greater feeling that they have attempted to ignore. You must keep detailed notes on any recent stressors your child has experienced, as well as see whether this conduct isn’t a direct consequence of it.

What To Do If Your Child Won’t Listen! (5 Effective Techniques)

1. Give Your Undivided Attention – Active Listening

Stop what you’re doing and try giving them your complete attention.

When your child is speaking to you, don’t be too distracted. Positive attention is the key. Parents who are good listeners can instill good manners in their children.

A child’s attention is very critical.

If you don’t know how to quit, it’s best to ask them for their patience, and when you’re done return and offer them your time.

Remember to always thank them for their sentiments when replying to them.

Empathy skills can be developed by listening and reflecting on what you hear, which is why this will show that you’ve been listening and teaching empathy. Do not try to conceal your youngster’s emotions.

2. The Power Of Positive Words To Encourage Good Behavior

If your youngster feels that you are not speaking to them on their level, they will tune out and this might be the reason why a 4 Year Old Doesn’t Listen.

Use words emphasizing encouragement.

“Sweetie, may I have your attention, please? I’d appreciate it if you would pick up your toys so that we can play together. I like how meticulous you are and appreciate that about you.”

If you need to be more forceful, use a stronger but courteous tone. 

You may also attempt to elicit a feeling of empathy from them, for example:

“Sweetie, mamma is weary and hungry, so please pick up your toys as soon as possible so that my stomach may stop hurting. Please hurry up and finish tidying up your toys so we can have supper together.”

According to most experts, children in 4th grade have trouble focusing at school and listening attentively.

3. Body Language

It’s also important to remember that your body language plays an important role in determining if a 4-year-old will listen to you. Keep your posture open and maintain eye contact.

If they see that their nonstop pestering is having an impact on you, they might continue to do it as a game.

Last but not least, staying calm indicates to your youngster that you are ready to wait as long as necessary until they do as they’re supposed to.

What Words To Use?

We wash our hands after dinner.

Remember that bedtime is at 8:30 p.m.

Brush your teeth first, then we’ll read books.

Also, try to avoid scolding, blaming, or threatening your child to do what you want.

This is only adding gasoline to the fire, and it may not be useful if your child doesn’t listen well enough already.

4. Promote Co-operation

A four-year-old who refuses to listen and talk back must learn how to collaborate with your kid.

Triggers in their actions that stimulate more combative conduct and behavior that constantly pushes the envelope should be sought.

Now that you realize which words are a source of defiance, what you may try to do is avoid using them in your regular conversations because they’re known to be such a stimulus.

Remember, your youngster will be more cooperative with you if they feel as though they have some control over daily activities.

For example, ask your youngster to assist you to sweep or take the laundry out.

5. Test New Methods

Every kid is different, therefore learning how to get a 4-year-old to listen without screaming may take some trial and error.

If they feel that you are addressing them in ways that don’t seem to have any direct effect on them, they will typically demonstrate defiance.

To figure out which methods of communication work and which don’t, you’ll need to experiment with a few different ways.

Your youngster will be more responsive to you if they can see that you empathize with their problems, recognize their feelings, and are fair in your demands.

The greatest approach to do this is for you to establish yourself as a parent first, but also be available to assist and support your child with their everyday issues.

Remember, children who are displaying defiance and don’t listen to their parents may be going through a stage or exhibiting developmental wrinkles.

How To Get A 4-Year-Old To listen?

There are several advanced 4-year-old behavior management methods.

Your child is 4 years old when she or he develops a strong sense of self-reliance, both mentally and physically, as well as an understanding of the fundamental behavioral framework.

Sometimes, however, they start to seek greater independence and discover methods to do so that are smarter than what they had previously tried. They may run into a brick wall if they try anything more clever.

They feel the desire to explore more and more, but they must be closely watched to ensure that it is safe for them to do so.

Independence, self-control, and learning may cause friction that spills over into disruptive conduct. Many four-year-olds have difficulties following simple instructions since they are unwilling to do so.

They may both physically and vocally harm others while fighting to be heard above the cacophony.

Other normal behaviors are:

  • The desire to make others happy.
  • Excessively demanding and picky (“I want it this way”).
  • More individuality and self-exploration through physical activity.

If you’re looking for strategies on how to deal with a difficult child, here’s what you can do.

How To Deal With A Problem Child?

1. Stay Calm

Your first line of defense is to stay calm. Children follow in their parent’s footsteps on both verbal and non-verbal levels.

When you remain calm, you’re demonstrating to your kid that throwing tantrums is not the best method to address issues and that being peaceful might aid in the resolution of the difficulty.

2. Create Rules

A house that is well-built and enables flexible rules will be simple to manage. Children desire structure and thrive when they are aware of what is forthcoming.

This program encourages impulsiveness by allowing your kid to see when it’s appropriate to do what and where.

3. Promote Positive Behaviour

Reiterate the excellent things your children do and minimize (as much as feasible) their misbehaviors. Children are clever and will attempt to get your attention by whatever means possible.

If they receive more negative attention, they will try to repeat the action. Give them more attention when they follow your instructions and overdo it for the times that they do.

4. Motivation is Key

At this time, your youngster is learning about what it means to be appreciated and disciplined. If you go too hard on the punitive side, though, this may stifle development.

However, excessive emphasis on benefits may lead to unrealistic greed. A rewards chart with stickers and stars to encourage good conduct is another approach to accomplish this.

5. Time Outs Work

If you deal with a problematic toddler, then use the Time Out technique. A time-out is a wonderful technique to discipline children and is especially effective in older kids. Time-outs are extremely successful when it comes to correcting children.

The 8-year-old would be sent to an eight-minute time out, while the 4-year-old would be sentenced to a four-minute solitude.

6. Take Away Toys!

If you believe that your kid still activates your buttons and that other approaches aren’t working, you may begin to suspend privileges to encourage good conduct.

Taking away toys, limiting TV time, and having shorter bath times are all effective punishments.

Further help

When is it time to get medical advice from a professional pediatrician?

  • If you’ve used many techniques but haven’t seen any results after several months, your situation may be more complicated.
  • If your kid shows signs of extreme seclusion from you and his friends.

Remember, you know your youngster better than anybody else, so try to handle the situation first rather than turning to additional help.

Your youngster is going through developmental milestones, so make sure this behavior isn’t part of his learning curve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How to discipline a four-year-old?

Ans: Some general tips on how to discipline a four-year-old include staying consistent with rules and expectations, using positive reinforcement strategies such as praise and rewards, and avoiding physical punishment.

It is also important to provide clear and concise explanations to a four-year-old about why certain behaviors are not acceptable.

Q2: How do you deal with a three-year-old who won’t listen?

Ans:  There are a few things you can do if you have a three-year-old who won’t listen. It is important to provide visual cues along with verbal instructions.

For example, if you want your child to pick up his toys, show him what you want him to do. You can also try using a timer to give your child a specific amount of time to complete a task.

If he still doesn’t listen, you may need to provide consequences such as taking away a privilege. Finally, make sure to praise your child when he does listen to you.

Q3: How can you get your kindergarteners to listen?

Ans: Set clear rules and expectations, and enforce consequences in a firm but friendly manner. It is also critical to remember that youngsters at this age are still developing and learning, so patience and compassion are required.


There’s no magic solution when it comes to getting your kids to listen. You just have to be creative, consistent, and patient.

Children tend to imitate their parents, so staying calm is important when communicating with your kids. Creating rules and structure will also help children learn and feel comfortable. And finally, positive reinforcement instead of harsh punishment is key! It is exactly the opposite of negative consequences.

Time-outs can be effective discipline tools to help the child to listen, but make sure you use them correctly. If all else fails, take away privileges like TV time or toys. But always keep in mind that every child is different, so what works for one may not work for another. Just be creative and consistent, and you’ll eventually find what works best for your family!

My name is Mark Joseph, and I’m on a mission to help new parents navigate the world of parenting. With over 5 years of experience as a parenting coach, I’m here to provide you with insight into all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and raising your newborn baby. Instagram Linkedln Facebook

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