2.5 And 3 Year Olds Arguing on Every Topic at Daycare

Updated on June 18, 2008
K.K. asks from Eugene, OR
5 answers

My 2.5 year old son goes to a home daycare where he has two 3 year old buddies. Just recently they argue about EVERY topic. One of them could be talking about their shoes that have Nemo on them and another one will say "no it's not". My daycare provider and I are wondering if anyone has any techniques to address this.Thanks for the help!

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answers from Portland on

Hey K.,

It's definitely normal - although it's definitely annoying!!!

My nephews (cousins of almost the same age) once argued over who would get to eat some make-believe cookies - these cookies were NOT toy cookies - they were imaginary cookies. It ended in a complete meltdown for both of them.

Some ideas for your daycare provider would be:

1. role play with puppets - have two puppets get into arguments and then ask the children what the puppets should do

2. put up a reward chart for whenever one of them helps another or says something nice to one of the others. This could get competitive - especially with boys. If they start arguing and fighting over who was "nicest," she'll want to try something else!

3. Ask the children for advice - this depends on how old the three year olds are - are they closer to age 4? If so, this might work. Have the daycare provider tell them that she loves them and enjoys spending time with them, but that she gets tired or sad or frustrated when they fight so much. Then ask them, "what should I do?" or "how can we stop arguing so much? Do you have any ideas?"

4. And provide LOTS of physical activities!

And God bless all of you daycare providers!! Your job is not easy : ) M.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

It is part of the age. They don't know how to have a conversation yet, but they have learned how to tell each other no, and get a reaction out of each other.
Look into the LOVE AND LOGIC books for preschoolers. They have a lot of great tools to help children learn to be loving and respectful to each other. My 4 year old daughter has the same problem with her 3 year old cousin, they tend to try to one up each other. We try to change the topic to something else. Some times it works and some times it doesn't.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

They are learning to socialize, bargain, interact, discuss, argue, etc. It may not be hurting anything. It may be a great learning experience for them... just a different perspective. We often run interference rather then let them figure things out on their own and learn their own life lessons.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I agree with Jenna and her recommendation for Love and Logic. Also to use distraction.

For my grandchildren, who got into arguments at this age, ignoring worked some of the time. The tricky part was knowing when to intervene so that the argument doesn't escalate into physical acts like pushing, hitting, scratching etc. I did have the advantage of his sister being 3 years older and she sometimes responded to clues from me. Such as remember, Monet, to use your words. I don't know if that would work with a 3 year old. I do think that changing their activity or making a comment, to which they'll respond, away from their argument sometimes works. "Look, there's an airplane!" My grandson loves airplanes.

This, too, will pass especially if they're able to stop when you intervene. This teaches them a new social skill.



answers from Portland on

Have been there and done that! This is not a fun stage! It almost sounds like the three kids I've been taking care of for the past 2 years. They do grow out of it, but move on to different power struggles. I'd suggest to your day care provider to take a teaching moment after such an argument and talk with the kids about talking positively with each other. I'd talk with them about the power of a compliment and how it makes people happy. Instead of saying, "No, it isn't!" I'd ask them to respond with, "Wow! Those are cool shoes!" I imagine that this would need to be a conversation that would happen many many times, even in a day, and your day care provider would need to be very conscience of overly complimenting the kids so they see it exhibited. This is a tough one! Best wishes!

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