2 1/4 year old not listening.

I feel like my son is becoming impossible to deal with. He simply cannot listen, and will not do what he is told. Getting him to preschool in the morning just exhausts me. He eats when food is presented, but getting him to come and get dressed, get a diaper changed, get ready to get into the car is always a huge battle. I did an experiment and spent 30 minutes asking him to get out of the bath, with no effect on what he was doing (playing with toys), before I had to just physically take the toys from him and pull him out (at which point he cries and protests). Its not like he’s absorbed in one thing when this happens, and he seems to hear and understand me, he just doesn’t have any sense that he should be doing what I ask. I don’t (or didn’t) have concerns about autism before this, aside from a little bit of hand flapping he does not seem to have symptoms and is very social and emotionally warm. But the non listening thing is driving my stress levels through the roof and making me lose my cool. I’ve tried doing things like giving him choices on what to wear but he has no interest. 

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Around that age I would ask my daughter to brush her teeth about 50 times, for as long as 20 minutes.  She would say "I don't want to."  The pediatrician told me it's because she liked the attention.  I would maybe check with your pediatrician as they can be very helpful.

I highly recommend the book How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen. It will definitely help.

I would try slowing down, patting him on the shoulder, looking Into his eyes and saying only once “it is time to get out of the bath. Either you can get out or I will take you out, which do you prefer?” He will perhaps ignore you or say he wants to stay or whatever, then tell him calmly and gently, “ok I am going to pick you up now” and take him out. Let him cry, tell him you know he didn’t want to get out. Just empathize with him but follow through and take him out. 
 

he is only little and I don’t think he is old enough to listen in the way you expect.  When you ask him twenty times he tunes it out. You have to find a way to gently get his attention and ask him just once then follow through. He will get used to the idea that you mean what you are saying. 

I don't have an answer, I just want to let you know that I have a similar aged son and he does the exact same thing. Some days are better than others, but every day it's a struggle to get dressed/undressed, go to bed, etc. Maybe it's a typical age thing? 

I have become quite an evangelist of Janet Lansbury's lately. She's big on giving kids choices, and then quickly follow through. As in, "Do you want to get out of the bath yourself, or do you want me to help you?". Give him about 10-15 seconds to respond and do it himself, and if he doesn't, you could say, "I can see you need help getting out of the bath. I am going to help you" and take him out. 

As you mentioned, you think he hears/understands you, but is continuing to do his own thing, which sounds like normal 2 year old behavior. :) My son definitely protests when I "help" him do things, but I let him express his frustration and hold the line on the boundary. 

I highly recommend "No Bad Kids" by Janet Lansbury. It's really helped me reframe why my son is acting how he does, and also made me calmer in dealing with this boundary pushing. Good luck!

I recommend checking out some Janet Lansbury podcasts/blog posts, or books. Her blog posts and podcasts are searchable by topic. She's a RIE practitioner, which is not for everyone, but I find her coaching on dealing with toddlers SO helpful. Her approach is to recognize that 2 year olds are biologically programmed to assert their independence and don't have the executive brain function to listen or follow directions the way we want them to. Repeating the same request doesn't help. Her recommendation would probably be something like, ask him once and then gently but firmly tell him "it seems like you're having a hard time doing _____, so I'm going to help you." A lot of it is about changing your mindset as a parent - don't see it as your child not listening or defying you, see it as needing to help them transition from one activity from the next. She talks a lot about how transitions are tough for toddlers and you have to help them prepare for it and go through it because they usually won't do it on their own. It really has helped me a lot and although I still lose my cool from time to time, I always try to come back and remind myself my child is 2 and needs my help!

Dear parent of the 2 1/4 year-old boy:
While your toddler has so many new abilities, he is still a baby. At 2 1/4 he isn't capable of acting independently, and lacks impulse control (which only really begins at 3 years old). Small children aren't yet ready to respond to voice commands, and this will last for a few more years. Infant/toddler expert, Magda Gerber said, "if they could do it, they would." Your child wants to please you, but simply isn't capable of acting independently yet. Toddlers are still entirely dependent on their parents and body care is a really important part of developing a child's self-concept. If you can take the time to be there and be present, it will pay off in many ways. You'll save more time and frustration and tears if you can understand that your child needs you during this time. You're investing time now so that they can be more independent later. Practically, I'm not sure safety-wise that I would leave a toddler in the tub by themself. Then, when it's time to get out of the tub you can say, "it's going to be time to get out of the bath soon. I'll let you play with x another minute or two and then I'll pick you up and we'll dry off." They need you to let them know what is going to happen and be a gentle guide. If you find yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and remember you are the one who needs to take care of them. Try quieting any inner voice that is frustrated and just observe your son in the tub. "You love the water! Maybe you aren't ready to get out yet but we'll have a bath again soon." They are dependent on us for a few years, and how well we meet that dependence enables their independence. You can involve them in the process by saying things like, "It's time to get out of the bath, do you want to give me the boat, or do you want to put it in the basket yourself?" Involve them in the process of washing their body and then make the whole process pleasurable. "It's time to pull the plug. Let's do it together. I have your cozy towel here and I'll dry you off and then we'll get in your pajamas." Those minutes you'll invest will bring you closer, ease your frustration, and build the relationship and cooperation that will carry you into the future.  I recommend reading Janet Lansbury's blog if you have time: https://www.janetlansbury.com/2018/05/getting-dressed-daily-struggle/

Wishing you well

Sounds pretty typical for 2 years old to me :) One thought - if what you want him to do is always phrased as a request, then he (rightly?) is assuming one possible response or outcome is "no". How about more directives? "In 5 minutes we're getting out of the bath. I'm setting a timer!" Timers were HUGE for us at this age - they're great because when time is up, it's up! It's the timers fault, not the parent's! You just need to follow through. I would also try to shift away from frustration with him not listening or saying 'no' to lavish praise when he DOES listen and engage! Even make a darn sticker chart for coming to the table or whatever you want. Focus on positive reinforcement. This too shall pass. Except maybe the bath thing - my experience with little kids and baths is that it takes forever to get them in... but then you can't get them out!

This is so tough! As a parent of a three-year-old, I will say it does get better (maybe not much).  Also want to say that this is (in my limited experience) typical of that age.  Parenting advice around boundaries and the appropriateness of physical intervention (just picking the kid up) varies so much, and I'm *not* a psychologist or early childhood educator.  What I have heard from those who are that I have found helpful are: (1) There's a tendency among parents to feel unease about our own power over our kids and to try to minimize or avoid it, but this can create anxiety in our kids.  It's ok to assert power and insist on boundaries.  Obviously striking or punishing a kid physically is not OK, but picking a kid out of the bathtub or other ways of gently but physically directing the kid, etc., is actually reassuring, because it lets the kid know that you aren't going to give them too much control over what happens -- which is unnerving when you're that small. (2) I make the mistake of asking my kid to do things all the time.  ("Can you put on your shoes, please?")  Unless they genuinely have the option, don't phrase it as one.  "Put on your shoes, please," similarly lets them know that you're in control (not them), which is reassuring.  (3) As my daughter has gotten older I've had a lot of success with "1, 2, 3" magic.  Create a (small) consequence, then say that if they don't come to the door, sit down, etc. by the count of three, that consequence will be imposed.  (And it has to be a consequence you'll actually impose and, ideally, one that is proximate in time.) I do a lot of fractions, but I've very rarely had to actually impose the consequence, which is great.  Not sure if you've already tried these, but hopefully of some help -- and if nothing else, sending reassurance that 2-year-olds are hard in exactly this way and you and your kiddo are almost certainly doing great.

I sympathize with your dilemma.  Two things come to mind.  Check his hearing to ensure that is not part of the problem.   Secondly, I found it helps to change up the routine and tasks.  My son must have thought I was a broken record as i also repeated myself with the same words, tone, and script. Engage HIM in each task.  Where did I put your clean diaper? Where is a fun place to brush your teeth?  Ask him to look for the spiral when the water goes down the drain when he pulls the plug. What are you looking forward to at school today?  Let him choose what to wear.   Also, I have overhead parents asking their toddlers to do things, ending the sentence with "okay?" leaving the door open for another outcome.  

Hope this will help.

I had the exact same issue with my now over 2 1/2 year old daughter. She would not listen, and never wanted to get out of the bath. I started to prepare her before she got in the bath by explaining that there is a start and an end to bath time. Of course this is obvious to us adults, but she needed me to explain the plan. She loves baths more than anything, so when I say, “it’s time to take a bath” she runs to the bathtub and starts undressing. That’s when I say “if we start taking a bath, that means you will also need to get out of the bath when I say it’s time to dry off.” At the time, she didn’t seem to be listening, but it worked like a charm once it was time to get out. Also, I notice if I ask her to start cleaning up her bath toys and putting them in the basket, and make a game out of it, she enjoys the end process more and is ready to be dried off. 
The idea of explaining processes to her works for all the other stuff too, like getting in the car seat. She seems to do well when I take her through the plan of what will happen before executing xyz... I learned it from RIE parenting writer Janet Lansbury’s book on disciplining toddlers without shame. I highly recommend this book. So far the tools that I have put into practice have worked nicely! 
Good luck! Xo 

Your story sounds so much like ours it's almost eerie. At just over 2 years our kid suddenly lost all interest in following instructions, and lost it completely if we moved his body for him. We started doing two things: incentives & times outs. He loves stickers, so we use them to incentivize good listening during a particularly tough part of our routine (getting from the car to daycare check in smoothly = sticker on your shirt, you get to show your teachers/friends). And we instituted calm, thoughtful time-outs when he wasn't listening at home, and got downright religious about following through from start to finish every single time he wasn't listening, and have seen great results. That said, we winged time-outs at first, and they weren't great. But when we started following these instructions to the letter, results came pretty quick: https://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/timeout/steps.html. Time outs can be such a gift to him, as a time to calm his emotions and body, and be ready to hear us when it's over. It also helps us keep our cool. We add hugs and I-love-yous at the end, after we go over why he was in time out and how to avoid it in the future. Good luck! Hang in there! :)

Omg I having the same problem my son is like this I think they are also flustered because they can’t really grasp the idea it is a pandemic. I’m currently expecting and I just don’t have the energy to deal with it. But we just have to stand our grounds and eventually they will start listening but as of right now I’m still alternating time out taking his toys and going to bed early I know this isn’t advice but I’m Praying SOMETHING sticks  good luck and be strong

Hello, 

First of all, I'm sorry you are having a hard time right now. Take a moment and let yourself know that it's alright this is only a moment in time. It isn't your fault. It will not be forever. 

That being said I do agree that pediatricians can have some great advice. 

I am a nanny and a mother myself. I have worked with typical children and children with special needs as a behavioral aid. There are many things you can try. I know that it may be frustrating so make sure to take time for yourself and give yourself pep talks because you're doing great!

First I would suggest working off his interests. If he likes games make it a game so who can get dressed first. Or put on a fun song before and try to get dressed before it ends.  

Make getting in the car a race or let him take on the persona of his favorite super hero. I never say "its time to get in the car" or "put your shoes on" I say "who can get to the car first" and "who can put their shoes on first". It's all in the presentation for kids. 

I would recommend a sticker chart or prize wheel if the morning goes smoothly. He can choose a sticker to put on the chart if it goes well. He could also use a prize wheel so he could win some extra screen time, a walk around the neighborhood later, whatever his interests are. 

Hope this helps. I know mornings are a struggle for many parents. I am sure you are doing a wonderful job! 

I agree with one of the previous posters who recommended checking with your pediatrician. This could be completely normal 2-year-old behavior, or it could be something else - hearing or auditory processing issues, ADHD, etc. He may be just extremely focused on what he wants to do, and transitions are difficult. I have one kid who drove me crazy not listening and turned out to have too much fluid in his ears to hear me well. Another kid was laser focused on what he wanted to do, and nothing else, and turned out to have ADHD. My toughest kid between the ages of 2 and 4 is my most mellow teenager. Hang in there!

You are expecting something that they are not developmentally ready to provide to you at that age. The second you reset expectations that he isn't going to listen, and that is normal, and okay the easier it will be dealing with it (and yea it's super annoying). Kids at that age live in the moment, they can't and don't plan, and are bad at pacing. At this age the particular challenge is that they are figuring out autonomy and control -- the more you impose your will the more they will push back. 

If you take mornings as an example, if he's capable of getting ready himself and that's important to you (which is awesome!), then you should give ample (30+ min) time to make that happen. Given that he's excited about school, you can have a gentle nudge reminding him that he can go to school and have fun, but that requires him to put on pants, and then a shirt, and then shoes. For bath time, you can mention how you will read him a book before going to bed, and if he takes too long than it will be too late to read a book. It sounds a bit like incentives, but they are real consequences of say taking too long in the bath that he doesn't have the capability to reason about.

Hi,

Firstly, I'm sorry that you are going through this. I would point out (and admittedly without knowing your situation at all) that this is a challenging TIME to parent, so reminding ourselves to be a little gentler with ourselves is important (and hard). There are so many stressors in the world at this moment, and we just all feel them in different ways (even the toddlers). And we are all getting generally less support and we just have less to give than we are used to. Secondly, this can be a charming but challenging AGE to parent (says I with an almost-2.5 year old myself). 

Secondly, not listening at this age shouldn't be a big red flag for Autism, as long as you don't have any other concerns. Alison Gopnik in The Scientist in the Crib, has a nice passage about the "terrible two's" in the context of relational development. It's a little bit more about the perverse "doing what you're not supposed to do not just because it's inherently interesting, but BECAUSE it drives your caregiver crazy" rather than the slightly more passive ignoring directions you are talking about, but maybe still relevant. Basically, around age one, babies start to realize the things they want (e.g., the lamp cord) are sometimes thwarted by caregivers. Around 18 months, they are starting to understand how their preferences can be different from someone else's. The work of the second year seems "to involve a systematic exploration of that idea,almost a kind of experimental research program. Toddlers are systemically testing the dimensions on which their desires and the desires of others may be in conflict." So I sometimes remind myself that this is about my daughter developing crucial theory of mind skills and it makes me feel a little better. But what that means is that you are giving your son a library of experiences to understand how these interactions go. He ignores you, gets some extra time with what he wants to do, and then you get stressed and (probably) show him you are exasperated and frustrated.

I really like to listen to Janet Lansbury's Unruffled Podcast (https://www.janetlansbury.com/podcast-audio/) - hearing her voice just calms me down. One of my most consistently successful strategies with my daughter is to just give her the basic choice: you can get out of the bath yourself, or I can help you do it. Because of who she is, usually she wants to do it herself and that is a pretty strong motivator. If I have to "help" her (by pulling toys away and taking her out of the bath) I usually just acknowledge her feelings and set a firm limit; "I know you were having so much fun playing, and you didn't want to get out yet - you are really upset. But it's time to get in jammies and read books now. Bathtime is over." Both acknowledging their feelings, and keeping the boundary firm (and being willing to physically enforce if necessary), seem to be important ingredients in the recipe. If I can remind myself to just pick an appropriate consequence, tell it to her, and then enact it calmly if necessary, it also saves me getting worked up. It is admittedly more work than if she would just do what I told her to, but if I let myself start to resent that, I lose sight of my parental role. So this is what I do in my best, most amazing parenting moments. And then of course, there are the rest, for which I try to have compassion for myself, as well as my littles.

My son, now 3, is the same. I think this is normal. Here’s what works for me, in situations where something has to be done (such as washing hands, wearing shoes outside, sunscreen, going to bed). 
1. Prompt. “In 2 minutes we are going upstairs to brush your teeth.” Then, “say goodbye to your toys” (or whatever the current activity is). 
2. Do not ask, make a statement. “Now we are going to brush your teeth.”

3. Give a choice. “Should we skip or jump to the bathroom?”

4. Explain. “I’m going to brush your teeth until the count of 10, then it’s your turn.”

5. Praise. “You did it!”

Consistency and follow-through is key. Making things fun helps. And whatever you do do not ask your child to do some thing, tell them a statement instead. 
I hope this helps!

I feel your pain and hope some of these suggestions might be useful...

Instead of telling kiddo what to do try showing them what you want them to do first yourself or by demonstrating it with a toy. My husband is constantly reminding himself that he has to demonstrate something before my very independent 3 year old will have any idea what to really do...of course we also have to explain or show quickly in a way that a child's mind can grasp.

Make a game up that demonstrates the behavior. For example, if getting out of bath is a struggle you might try taking two figures and play out your nighttime routine including what you'll say when it's time to get out of the bath and how the next thing will also be fun. Then as you go through it during the evening point out excitedly how you all are doing what the toys were doing. I find Daniel Tiger's trolley ride to bed invaluable...we've been referring back to it for a couple years now to continue to reinforce/justify what's coming next.

Simply telling a 2 year old to do something and expecting compliance is just setting yourself up for frustration and anger. Kiddos learn to tune us out early- that's why so many parents add on the middle name when they expect their kid to really listen.
There is an incredible amount of handholding you will have to do through things your kiddo doesn't find appealing. Maybe instead of telling them they need to get out of the bath you let them know the bath will be ending soon and start preparing- pull out the towel, change your position in the room to standing, let the bath water start to drain...give them cues so they can prepare...maybe have a doll that kiddo washes, rinses and "puts to bed" in the soapdish before they get out. When we need my son to stop playing with trucks at night we tell him they need to go to bed to rest and have him park them in the "garage."

I'd also suggest a 5 minute heads up that a transition is coming for any activity, along with a timer set to a special song or bell (I took this lesson from preschool where the kids are excited to transition to an activity because it means they get to ring a special bell when the timer is done).

At one point my son was so into brushing his teeth he'd gladly get out of the tub to do so which was a huge change in attitude. Is there anything youncan do post bath that would make your kiddo excited to.get.out? Maybe your kiddo can watch the sesame street tooth brush song after the bath as something to motivate and distract from the negative feelings around transitioning to the next activity. (We also found that video really helpful as it made mom and dad brushing his teeth at the end expected and matter of fact).

Hang in there! All the best!

So if you think there's a developmental issue, follow your gut and look into it. Otherwise, I'm not sure about your process in what you explained. So children under 8-9 really don't reason well so if that's your main tool, you might want to rethink your expectations and strategy. Setting up for success and natural consequences (praise, prompting, firm voice, whatever) may be helpful as well as consistency on your part. Why would you ask him to get out of the tub for 30 minutes? If nothing happened, he could just stay in the tub and play, and it sounds like he does. Perhaps set a timer and when the time goes off, you have 5 more minutes, then set it for 5 minutes and it's time to get out. Then actually get out and have a cozy robe waiting for him or stuffy waiting for him or something to transition to the next activity, which I assume will be getting into pajamas. So look at what you're setting up, what's realistic, and how you can change the equation. Maybe that would help. 

This is common behavior for toddlers, who are testing their will, and also their boundaries. It can be very challenging for parents.

In the bathtub example you gave, I would do some version of the following. 1) State that it will be time to get out of the bathtub in a few minutes (give him a gentle warning of what's coming) 2) After a few minutes, ask if he is ready to get out by himself, or if he needs your help. 3) If he does not indicate he's going to do it himself, gently tell him that you see he needs your help, and then help him do it. Drain the tub, take out the toys, and take him out. The first step, and steps in between, are actually for you to check in with yourself so that you can do what you need to do all of this in a calm and regulated way (maybe take a deep breath, say a mantra like "I am helping him learn to cooperate," or whatever helps you calm yourself.) With your gentle yet firm guidance, he will feel confident and secure knowing that he has a confident parent who creates healthy structure for him, and over time begin to participate more (ie, choosing to get out of the bath himself).

Do what you can to take care of yourself so that you are able to take care of him during this challenging stage (and in this challenging global time!). I know this is hard for most of us to do right now, so I send you gentleness around this. As well, if you can connect with him in a very present way on a regular basis when there is *not a transition that needs to happen, this can build your relationship and help you endure the harder times. I sometimes keep a journal of delightful things (even the smallest things!) I notice about my kid, which helps me stay positive.

This will evolve. <3

I think it can be confusing for a 2 year old to understand when a request is actually a demand. Who wouldn’t prefer fun over responsibilities? Try to make demands more clear. For example, set a timer and say bath time is over in 60 seconds. When the time is up, unplug the water and pick him up. Same with it’s time to change your diaper in 2 minutes. When the time is up, pick him up and take him to be changed. It’s important for him to have some choices such as the red shirt or the blue one. And it’s good to give choices whenever possible. But it’s important to only offer choices when there truly is a choice and be prepared to accept that his decision might not be the one you hoped for. Things like getting ready for school, changing a diaper are not options and it’s important to make that distinction clear to his two year mind. Good luck! 

I think your son is fairly typical. He is doing what he wants to do. When you want him to do something you may need to think a bit from his perspective. What is in it for him? When my son was that age and was taking a bath, I would let him know when bath time was done and then pull the plug and start putting toys away. He would stay in the tub playing with the remaining toys until the water was gone and he would get cold. At that point, he was willing to get out because he was uncomfortable. Sometimes he may be upset. That's okay! He will get over it. When possible try to give him a little reward for complying. "Hey, lets get done with bath time so we can read this cool book!"

For the morning routine, make a chart with pictures of all the things he needs to do to get ready. He gets a sticker on each one that he does after he does it. If he gets ready quickly, what is in it for him? Maybe he gets to play with a special toy when he has done everything on the chart. He is dawdling now because he gets to play more and spend more time at home with you. 

Transitions are tough at this age! Try to see his perspective and find ways to motivate him. Get excited about things that you want him to do. I can't remember how many times at that age I had to make a big deal about how cool public bathrooms are so that I could get my son in it to use the toilet. "Oh hey, is this the place that has the cool sinks. Let's go check it out!"

Hang in there!

This sounds like normal 2 1/2 year old behavior to me.  It's been a while since my son was a toddler, but I clearly remember those days when just getting out of the house took forever. Drop offs at pre-school were always combative.  And he loved baths and resisted getting out of the tub all the time.  It IS exhausting, but maybe if you adjusted your expectations of what a is normal for a 2 1/2 year old developmentally, you may be less stressed out.  But of course, check with your pediatrician, to rule anything out.  Sounds normal to me.  

You might want to read "How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen" by Joanna Faber and Julie King.  A great resource for frustrated parents! 

I really really recommend the book ‘How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen.’ It’s written with warmth, compassion, and most importantly loads of concrete, practical strategies. Get ready to talk like the bathtub! And also for that to totally work.

I think what you’re describing sounds pretty normal from my experience with a 2.5 year old. They are enough to make you pull your hair out for sure! Listening to the “unruffled” parenting podcast by Janet Lansbury has been really helpful for me. She has a lot of insight into toddlers’ brains/actions and how you can use this info to respond differently, which helped me begin (still working on it!) to change this really negative dynamic of getting soooo frustrated with my kid for not listening. ;) I think you can search her podcasts by topic on her website. Good luck!

Hi! That sounds rough. I highly recommend looking up Janet Lansbury if you're not already familiar with her work. It's been really helpful in dealing with toddlerdom over here.

Toddlers are so hard. Choices don’t work well for my daughter. My new tactics are 1. not to discuss things, just do them 2. Tell her i understand that this is very hard and upsetting for her but i still do need to do xyz ( change her diaper, wipe her face etc) and do it even while she cries and protests 3. Make up silly songs while doing the things she doesn’t enjoy.

there are still lots of tears. I remind myself that it’s hard to be a toddler and have so little choice and it’s hard to be a parent of a toddler and get anything done!

He sounds normal. Spending 30 minutes asking a two year old to do something is nuts. Ask once, give a warning, then take him out of the tub/change his diaper/get him dressed. You are the parent. 

I can empathize and relate. Getting ready to go to school, getting my son into his car seat, and baths are all very difficult when he doesn't want to do it. It is their way to assert their own will and independence. It sounds to me like normal 2-3 year old tantrums. Check out the book "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk".

That sounds similar to my son when he was young and was later diagnosed with ADHD. He has trouble with transitions and listening/ following directions. He is very outgoing and warm. However, your son is still VERY young. They don't diagnose ADHD until the kids are much older since so many of the characteristics are typical in toddlers. 

We have some similar with our daughter when she was around 2. I read the book 1,2,3 Magic. It helps us a lot. We are still using this method untill this day (she is 3.5). And it has proven effective and make me feel in control of the situation.

I'm not sure if it's developmentally appropriate to expect 2 year olds to do what we ask right away. I'm still working on this with my 5 year old! Also if you repeat yourself for a half hour without taking any action then there's no learning or incentive for them to change what they're doing. You can either try to make things into a game or do a 1-2-3 countdown. We do both and they work differently at different times. The 1-2-3 is NOT A PUNISHMENT but you say something like, "I can see you're having fun but it's time to get out of the bath now. I'm going to count to 3 and then fish you out."  This gives the child the chance to do it themself and then if not, no big deal, you'll do it for them - no pressure, no anger, no worries. Sometimes they want that count to just finish up. Sometimes they're tired and just want help and can't/won't ask! 

First let me say that you are a great mom and you are doing an incredible job. Your child is willful and determined and that’s not a bad thing, but it can be challenging and frustrating. There are no easy or quick fix solutions with toddlers. They behave this way for so many different reasons, but mainly because they are constantly learning and trying new things and asserting independence. Definitely contact your pediatrician and I would recommend finding parenting books at your library or online (Pinterest has some great ideas and articles) that can help you find activities and exercises that can be incorporated into your routine so that your child feels challenged and involved and wants to participate. My 13 month old has started displaying that willful independence and I have been taking him to the park where there is a baseball field and I just let him go. He explores everything and climbs the benches and shakes the fences and falls down and gets up and keeps going. I try to go for an hour and really let him burn off his energy. This has really helped us a lot. Maybe there are families at your daycare that you could play date with?

And most importantly, know that this is a hard time in child rearing. Probably the hardest. You are a wonderful mother - never forget that. You are the absolute best thing for your little one and they love you immensely. 

What saved me with 2 year olds is a book that said that they're "imposter humans." They walk, talk, CAN follow instructions (if they desire), CAN display empathy (if they desire). It fools you. They're not humans yet. It doesn't help you get cooperation, but it helped me reset expectations and lowered my frustration when they appeared to be jerks. Sometimes all the strategies that parents use just give them something to do while waiting it out developmentally. Good luck!! They will become more human. 

What you are describing is completely normal for this age. Children are naturally curious so the fact that he is interested in his surroundings is a sign of health. It means he is not scared to engage in the world and not worried about what might happen if he tried new things. We are not born to obey. Responding to a parent's request is a learnt behavior, not a natural one. Children learn this slowly and as a parent, balancing between allowing a child to experience his curiosity and getting him to do things he needs to do is quite a difficult art. A 2 or 3, or even 4 or 5 year old is not able to tell time and is not able to think about next steps like getting out of the bath or coming over to have dinner. At these times it is the parent's responsibility to teach the child by showing him what needs to be done. Sometimes telling a child that it is time to put the toys away, maybe singing a song and including him in the action of putting them away will teach him how to do this transition. You can not expect a child this age to be able to take this kind of responsibility himself. 

I am a parent to two college age kids and currently have a 10 month old foster baby living with me. So I speak from my own experience as well as a professional in child mental health. Even now that my kids are in college, I still need to provide boundaries for them sometimes. It is my responsibility as a parent, not theirs.  

I'm guessing this is pretty normal behavior. My daughter is 2.5 and I still physically pick her up and move her when I give up asking/coaxing/encouraging. To get her to brush her teeth, dad and I let her play around in the bathroom for about 10 minutes (we build this time into the schedule) and then I pick her up and put her on daddy's lap where he holds her for the toothbrushing. It would never happen otherwise. My daughter is a lot happier if I indulge her for a few minutes before I require her to do something. She doesn't like getting out of the crib in the morning so we play a couple of songs she likes on the home pod first and then I pick her up and put her on the changing table to get dressed. 

This is totally normal. The technique with the highest success rate I have found is to be creative - you have to be funny and mix it up a lot - for example, get his attention by having one of his rubber duckies tell him to follow him out of the tub to help him explore a new lake (like the sink) or something  - then you have to ham it up and create the story for long enough to keep him interested and following the duck’s instructions. It’s just one example. Also, with some kids backwards psychology works really well at a certain age. Like “I bet you can’t get out of the tub in 5 seconds!” It’s all super exhausting. The other option is to give choices - like It’s time to get out, do you want to get out of the tub on this end or the other end? But I think being silly tends to work better for some kids. Just know that it’s ok to tell him and then if he doesn’t comply you have to just pick him up. Kids will scream bloody murder but it’s just how it is. Good luck. 

Lots of good advice here, so I won't repeat any, but have one additional tip. Getting my two-year-old dressed for school used to be such a struggle. Now I just dress him for the day at night. Cotton sweatpants, cotton long-sleeve shirt are fine for pajamas and daytime clothes. It has made our mornings sooo much easier. 

My daughter was similar.  To distract her I started telling her stories that I would just make up (often about the same characters so that each story was like a new chapter ..) and she would forget her resistance and get dressed, or take a bite of food, or put on her coat or whatever needed to happen.  It was tiring at times but it was the only thing that seemed to work ...

These are my tricks for getting out the door quickly for school as I am not a morning person and neither is my strong-willed opinionated child:

1. get "dressed" the night before - sleep in clean clothes, we don't distinguish between pajamas, regular clothes

2. diaper change before leaving the bedroom or pee first thing when they get up before going to the kitchen/playroom etc.

3. breakfast in the car- waffle/bagel/english muffin etc and fruit. If I think we will need extra motivation I'll get one of my no sugar "chocolate" muffins out of the freezer to have in the car or something for extra motivation

As far as listening, we after appropriate amount of time/warnings we have had to have a by the count of three approach. And if they don't do it by three they either get "helped" or lose a toy or some consequence. My son has selective hearing. You could also try whispering, that sometimes gets attention. My son gets really focused on what he's doing and himself and is pretty oblivious to the outside world/wants to do what he wants to do. It's tough! Good luck

What are you are describing sounds like a typical two year old going through the terrible two's. Just be aware that reasoning and bargaining and cajoling doesn't work for a 2 year old. My sister always quoted at me, "Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, is the definition of insanity." Insane pretty much described how I felt when my son went through the Terrible Two's. I had to sit back and realize what I was doing was not working, and actually change my behavior. What saved me was the book "1,2,3 Magic", which gave amazing concrete tips for dealing not only with 2 year olds but older kids too. Just stop reasoning and talking "at" your son, and find some different methods that work. As for your developmental concerns, you can talk to your pediatrician about them. Good luck!