Almost 3 Year Old says she does not want to go to swim, dance, school, etc.

My daughter used to love going to swim and dance and for the most part school. Lately, before these events she says she does not want to go to them. It is a struggle to get dressed and in the car to go to them. For the most part, once she gets there she is fine and participates, but not as well as she used to. She doesn't always want to listen to her teachers or instructors. We obviously don't want to force her to do swim and dance if she doesn't want to, but I am not sure if it is the activity she doesn't want to do or if is just normal to not want to do what you are told but in reality she actually likes the events. Thoughts?

  • Laura
    Sep 03

    I think it's normal for them to say no to any transition during the day. My daughter will say she doesn't want to go to the playground, and then if I say I'm going to the playground and she can stay home with whoever else is around she changes her mind and says she wants to come.

  • Anonymous
    Sep 03

    Omg we are going through the same thing!!! It really is a struggle.I hope it’s a phase.

  • Vicki
    Sep 03

    We went thru this phase too. I started bribing him with a dollar store toy after class if he did a “good job”. So that meant not giving a hard time getting ready, paying attention, doing what he was asked, doing it correctly, generally behaving etc. This went on for a couple months but it worked! I slowly phased it out by saying we don’t have time to stop at the store today, we’ll go after next class, and kept stretching out the time between trips to the dollar store. Now he doesn’t ask about getting a toy and he’s doing great in class and we don’t have motivation issues. I wouldn’t generally advise bribery but in this case it was important to me that he kept going to swim especially, for safety reasons. Also at this age, more than two classes might be burning her out. Maybe pick two that you think are important or she will benefit from long term.

  • Myrtle
    Sep 04

    I think it’s normal for a almost 3-year-old to not want to be listening to instructors and pushing back on wanting to do activities. But do you think she’s enjoying it overall? What about at other times when you ask her about if she likes the activity? Is she more positive about it? If you have a more introverted child maybe it’s just too overwhelming for her to be around people that much.I definitely don’t think it’s necessary to force a child that age to do activities if they aren’t enjoying them plus it just adds extra stress to your life!

  • Aften
    Sep 04

    This is so normal! Your LO is just asserting her new power and control since she hasn’t had much say in things until this point. When my LO started this, we told her that some things are negotiable and some are not. Whenever possible, I’d give her two or three options (which book to read, what clothes to wear, a side dish) so she could practice her decision making skills and feel heard. When something came up that was not her decision to make (going to a pre determined activity) I’d let her know it was not negotiable. The first few times there was still pushback, but she learned and will still ask if a choice is ‘goshable’ (negotiable).

  • Winnie User
    Sep 05

    I would be very careful with bribes! Your child is smart and this can cause them to always expect it and won’t even eat a meal without the promise of a “reward”. There are positive ways to motivate your child like letting them make choices. “If you don’t like swimming anymore, would you like to try soccer?” Etc. But the option of bribing a child to do every task is not recommended.

  • Beverly Vantine
    Sep 05

    We bribe a little, but not with every task; and usually things that we would have done anyway. So "if you're good and go to practice all week, then we will get ice cream this weekend" as an example. I'm sure you do this, but just in case, my kid NEEDS a timer. If he's fully engrossed in whatever activity is going on, then I suddenly say "alright, time to go to karate", he gets upset cause he didn't have time to finish what he wanted to do. So I give a 15 minute notice, 5 minute notice, and then 1 minute. He does much better that way. There's been a few times he didn't want to go karate (he's four), but I still take him and tell him he doesn't need to participate if he doens't want to, but he can still watch and learn. Once he's there for three minutes, he realizes it's much more fun to participate and then enjoys being there. I would also try to figure out if there's a reason for the sudden change. Talk to her and the coach. Is someone suddenly being mean to her that shifted the personality (no likely, but worth exploring). Also giving her the opportunity to change what she's involved with. Ok, cool, you don't want to swim, but we have to finsih this month since we paid, but what do want to do next cause you have to do something, I just want it to be what YOU want to do. Kids no matter the age like having a say in what they do.

  • Fred
    Sep 05

    we had the same experience at the same age. It did seem to be a phase. In the interim, I actually showed up to her place 15 minutes ahead of pick up and video-taped her having the greatest time. i showed it to her but i presented it not as court room evidence but in such a way that we both had a great laugh. it worked like magic. good luck!

  • Beth
    Thursday

    She could just want to rest and hang out at home instead? Might be wanting to test if she gets a choice in these matters. When my three year old and I are out everyday doing something she starts to ask to stay home when we get ready to go. If it's something like the library or museum then I'll let it be a stay at home day and she plays with her toys and we snuggle on the couch and read.