If a 4 year old child often does not respond to questions without extra prompting. e.g. please respond the question. Is it a sign of a problem or just a developmental thing that goes on to be guided through

2 Answers 2


In my experience, that is pretty standard for that age. They are often focused intensely on whatever is holding their interest and it apparently takes some effort to switch to you, so they prefer to ignore you. And that is of course when they are not doing little Braveheart imitations and yelling "Freedom!" to see just how much space you will give them.

It seems to be worst when they're playing games or watching TV, so my solution there is to ask once, then pause the TV or game if they don't respond. At first it caused loud protests, but now they magically seem to remember my question and answer it quickly so I will let them get back to what they were doing.

It's not ideal, but I haven't found anything more effective yet.


I would say this is a fairly standard thing.

I would also say that the best way to work on it is to both explain why you need a response - because otherwise you can't do whatever you were waiting for the response on - and to yourself model this behavior.

How often does our child ask a question or otherwise communicate with us, and we don't immediately respond because we're busy with something else or just tired of 'Mommy Mommy Mommy' or 'Daddy Daddy Daddy'?

Figuring out a way to respond consistently and timely to those responses without sacrificing our sanity is helpful in situations like this, because you model good behavior for your child and help them learn tools for dealing with situations like this even if they are busy, as you are. They're busy with what is important to them, after all, even if you don't consider it as important as what you're busy with.

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