3 Year Old DDs Behavior - UPDATED POST #19
, Feb 22 2012 11:15 AM
23 replies to this topic
Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:15 AM
I'm at my wits end with my 3 year old DD's behavior.
Up until this year, she's generally been quite good and a pleasure to be around. She's always been really active and likes to be kept busy. She's got very advanced language skills, and an incredible memory. She's always been fairly good with trying new food and eating well, but we've also never really put too many restrictions on things either - she's allowed the occasional ice cream, or Happy Meal etc. We've never really made a big deal about food, just continually let her explore different things.
The biggest issue we're having at the moment starts with dinner time. As soon as her plate hits the table, she goes into battle mode, and is wearing DH and I down. Firstly it started just with her playing around with her food, and just generally being difficult - saying she doesn't like things, when she ate them perfectly happy the day before, or crying about being given the wrong color plate or cup. Our general rule is, you don't have to eat everything, just try 1 bite of each different thing on the plate. We tend not to plate up anything we know she genuinely doesn't like - off the top of my head roast pumpkin is one of them, so we just don't serve it to her. Last night we had roast beef, potatoes, peas and corn - she likes all of these things, but shoved the plate across the table when it was put in front of her. She started screaming about it, and when we ignored that, she went and banged on the babies bouncer, then started slamming cupboard doors.
It continues until bed time - sitting on the toilet for over half an hour to stall bed time, screaming for ages if we say one less bed time book if it's getting really late. DH has always done her night time routine with her - bed, books, and lay down with her for a short while for a chat as she's falling to sleep. Now when he gets up to go out of her room, she screams and cries that she doesn't want him to leave. Some nights he's in there for a couple of hours until she falls asleep in exhaustion.
Toileting is another issue. I initially started TTing when she was about 2.5, and while she "got it", she completely refused to use the toilet, as she was scared of wearing underpants and wanted to keep wearing nappies. I let the matter drop for a while, to give her more time. Just after her 3rd birthday, she changed her mind, and wanted to start wearing them, and TT-ed relatively quickly, with no accidents for a few months. In the last few weeks, she's started weeing on the floor nearly every time. Some time it's for a reaction - twice this week she's purposely weed in front of me when I'm bf-ing the baby and couldn't get to her. The rest of the time, she just don't want to stop doing what she's doing to go to the toilet. She's unfazed by feeling wet. As the initial toilet training was such as issue, I've tried to ignore this behavior, but it's also been escalating.
With regards to dinner time, we've tried a few things - rewarding good behavior - stickers, getting a fancy dersert, or an extra story at night - it worked for a short while, then stopped. We've tried punishing - bath toys taken away (as dinner is taking too long to have a play in the bath), one less story at night - this causes hours of screaming, as does getting put in time out. We've tried ignoring it, saying if she doesn't feel like eating, she doesn't have to - and then she gets up to even worse things, like hitting her sister, scaling the kitchen bench, to get attention. We just have no idea what else to try.
During the day, apart from the new toilet issue, she's generally not too bad, particularly if we're busy. She goes to sports lessons one day a week, day care twice a week, and usually a play date most weeks. On the weekend we're busy shopping, visiting relatives, or having a family day going to markets, down the coast, to the museum, or out to lunch, etc. I also try and spend one or two days at home a week just relaxing - this is when her behavior is usually the worst. She does enjoy doing craft activities, watching a little bit of TV, she'll spend some time playing with toys, and has recently started enjoying simple board/card games.
We do have a new baby (3 months old). Most of last year I was pregnant, quite sick, and with serious back pain - in the last couple of months of pregnancy, DD was left to amuse herself a fair bit, becuase I just couldn't get around - lots of TV, and quiet play in the play room. Since the babies arrival, I've actually spent a lot more "quality" time with her, doing craft, playing games, etc. However most of the bad behavior does seem attention seeking.
She tries to think of things to get upset about - earlier I said she had a great memory:- last year we went on holiday, and gave her a magnet activity board - one of the little pieces (out of probably about 30) went missing after the first time she used it, and each time she looks at the thing, she has a cry over the missing magnet. When she'd just turned two, she was given a drawing board, which got broken (not by her), and had to be thrown out - she wasn't overly attached to the thing, but still regularly says "I can't believe you threw my toy out". We did by her a replacement, but couldn't get an identical one, and over a year later still complains that it's not the same.
She's also recently had a couple of genuine upsets - she moved up to the 'big kids' room at day care, and for a while was a little scared by one of the carers - quite a nice guy, but big and loud, and he scared her by playing a chasing game with some older boys. She now cries every morning at drop off, which I think has more turned into habit than genuine upset - she stops crying as soon as we leave, and runs around happily all day. I've actually seen her playing with the guy she didn't like in the last week.
The other (which is more of an issue), was using the toilet in a parents room, and accidentally setting off the hand dryer - it was super loud, and absolutely terrified her. She now refuses to use the toilet anywhere other than home, day care, or her grandparents. Even if we walk past a toilet block, she starts crying.
So, in summary, I feel like I really don't know how to cope with her. I'm started to constantly yell, which I hate, but I'm just exhausted from the constant battles with her.
So, apologies for this turning into quite an essay, but there's just lots going on, and I'm really struggling to cope at the moment. I'm not entirely sure what I'm hoping to achieve by posting here, maybe reassurance this is typical 3 year old behavior (or not), or advice on discipline, or tackling any of the issues.
It's even started causing issues between me and DH - we're both just so exhausted by her behavior at night, we start getting snippy at each other over little things. And he's the most patient, relaxed person I've ever met. I typically am too. Everyone keeps asking me how I'm coping with the new baby - and she's a breeze - good feeder, good sleeper, happy disposition. But I don't think I'm coping with my older DD at the moment, I'm spending nights crying, and then feeling relief on the days she goes off to day care, and then feeling guilty about feeling that way.
Edited by SlinkyMalinki, 01 March 2012 - 05:57 PM.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:37 AM
My son turned 3 last week and i thought we missed the terrible 2's. But its started and its horrible.
Almost everything you said we are having issues with to.
Breakfast / Dinner fights
Wetting pants (Toilet Trained since 22 months)
Crying at Swimming
I just don't know what to do.
DS has always eaten EVERYTHING (for example he eats curries that are too hot for me saying its his favorite), breakfast is 2 weatbix, Cup Milk, Piece of Toast & Banana.
He stuffs around and says he is full without touching anything - it was a fight today to eat 1/4 piece of toast.
Spills it on purpose so he doesn't have to eat it.
He often gets a head start on dinner and is near finished when we sit down
Now he complains it yucky, too hot, don't like it etc etc
Havent had the wrong plate though
Bedtime, was always a wash of the face, clean teeth and into bed, light off, door closed, kiss & see you in the morning - fast asleep in 10 mins. Now he cries for the light on, door open, mucks around with covers & pillows for 2-3 hours. 2 nights ago we said light on for 5 minutes and then it goes off. We followed through and had crying for maybe 10 mins and eventually settled and went to sleep. Last night did the same thing and he whimpered by rolled over and went to sleep - hopefully we are over this hurdle. He is generally asleep by 7pm and woken on kindy days at 7am, weekends it can be 9 or later. Still does 3hour sleeps at home and 2 hours at kindy during the day so i don't think we have overtired issues - maybe too much sleep.
Wetting pants we know is about attention - he is only doing it at kindy and its because the other kids were just toilet training and getting stickers for success, a $2 sticker book at kindy has solved this.
DS has been doing swimming for 2 years and LOVED it, excited to get there, didn't want to get out. Head in swimming across the pool. And now this month with 2 new kids in his class who both cried the first week he has been crying for mummy and not listening to the teacher. He could float on his back and just wont do it. Not sure what we can do about this - but i dont honestly think he is scared, just part of this 3 year old 'thing'.
And the Whinging is sending me and DH mental. It is sooo draining!
The best thing we have come up with so far is 'Rules', i guess we have always had them, but we have had to take it to a new level. Telling him that what we are saying is the RULE. We had a chat about the house being a family house with Mummy & Daddies rules. If you be good you can stay in the house, if you don't listen to the rules you will have to go outside. Very extreme for a 3 year old but he just would not listen. He got put outside the front door for a minute the other night. Timeout generally works but it wasn't this time and we didn't know what else to do. I feel terrible about it, but its really worked, he has told me a few times that not doing the rules means you have to go outside in the 'cold' (We are in brisbane its been 32degrees).
Edited by Working_Mummy, 22 February 2012 - 11:40 AM.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:38 AM
Is she overtired? Does she still have a day sleep? My DD2 gave up her day sleep at 2.5, but I made her lie down with all the toys and have a rest.. Sometimes she fell asleep, but a quiet rest made her bearable. She used to fall asleep in the car, so if I was driving far in the day I would make it when she would have normally napped. My parents live about 30 minutes away, so we visited them a bit.
I got around tea issues by serving her tea at 5pm - a healthy snack plate, with a mixture of veges, fruit, protein. She would then sit with us at tea time, might eat something, might not. She might then have dessert - again something healthy.
She also might be a bit bored when you are home, and need a bit more exercise/stimulation. We used to have adventures, where we would just go and walk around the neighbourhood a bit, see what we could find. My DD just goes crazy if she is inside for most of the day.
I don't really have many ideas about the TT. Maybe a chart and reward system?
Sorry you are having a hard time - hope something in here helps!
Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:49 AM
My only advice is "this too shall pass". Definitely been there, done that with ds. Giving him the wrong coloured cup at dinner could cause the sky to fall in. And the exact same thing happened to us with the hand dryer, it went off accidently one time and I couldn't get ds to come into the public toilet for over a year I think. He's nearly 5 now and still sometimes asks if I am sure the "noisy dryer" won't go off.
My experience with a fussy eater is just ignore it. If she doesn't want to eat, she can go into her room and quietly play. PP's suggestion of being tired is a good one though - I feed both my kids around 4.30-5 or they get too tired to eat well.
I think the new baby is definitely compounding the problem but some of it is age too. It sounds like you are doing all the right things, it just takes time. Hang in there.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:50 AM
We had a few of the same issues with our DS.
What worked for the dinner time battle was we changed dinner time to 5-5:30pm . He was just too tired to be rational about it. Is that something you could try?
As soon as we did an earlier dinner he was so much better behaved and bedtime was easier too.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:54 AM
Another one saying me too. The 3 yrs old has become a bit of a handful. We have some good days, but most evenings are rather challenging. Even down to the food. Normally a great eater, but has become a little fussy. Eating earlier seems to help, but it is not always possible.
I put it down to tiredness. However we just can't get him to sleep during the day.
So I am just hoping we all weather the storm and this phase will pass like the others.
Edited by wallofdodo, 22 February 2012 - 11:54 AM.
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Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:05 PM
The thing that really jumps out to me is the hand dryer incident. It sounds through most of the stories that you're telling that she identifies with fear and feels trapped (like you said by habit) in her responses. Can you attempt to desensitise her in some way to her habits? So perhaps remove them altogether... remove the routines that she reacts to and replace them with new ones. I know it sounds like a radical rethink might be required but it could be as simple as not referring to dinner and feeding her meal earlier in the afternoon, then when the usual dinner time rocks around she's already in the bath playing happily with a full tummy, and without really noticing a large change in routine as one follows the other anyway and there's no fear associated with bathtime. Insert a new routine in at dinner time (such as milk and fruit) which replaces the afternoon tea "snack".
With bed time you might just have to change it altogether and place a strict limit on reading in bed followed by continued reassurance from nearby. You could find a job for yourself to do near her door (like folding laundry) so that she can hear one of you is nearby but not necessarily transitioning from very close to absent iykwim. Allow her to self settle within reason, knowing that you're very close but otherwise occupied.
With the hand dryer incident she might just need a really simple explanation along the lines of "it's like a big hairdryer". Show her your hairdryer and dry her hands with it whenever you can think to, then when you think she might be ready for it, take her on an excursion to explore a local public hand dryer without the baby and hold her close to give her reassurance and that feeling of safety. It might sound OTT but if you turn it from a fearful experience into a fun one then she could change her reaction. Remember that when we're on the toilet with our pants down is a time when most of us would feel most vulnerable and she's taken a big fright (relative to her experience) that she associates with public toilets. So simply turn public toilets into places that have hand driers rather than a purely functional experience. Don't attempt to use the public toilet until you're sure she's confident and happy about the hand drier thing and start with a hand wash and dry before the toilet (which is good hygiene practice anyway). Also be aware that a child's perception of a hand drier is different to our own as they're generally up high and blasting air downward so from the child's perspective it's a large loud, "bigger than they are" experience. You can use the hairdryer to replicated that for her and give her a playful blast of cooler air from overhead, all the time explaining to her that you're with her having fun with it too and being careful to not scare her with it. Start gently and build it up. I'd watch though that she's not got any sensory issues prior to doing this sort of stuff as some kids are just overwhelmed by their senses and can't cope at all with these situations, so "encouraging" them in this way can easily lead to overload. If it's a sensory issue then you'll need professional support with it.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:05 PM
My DD has been doing exactly the same things!! and we had the exact same thing with the hand dryer! ha! she will use the public toilets now but makes me promise i wont put the" scary noise on" Our battles revolve around Dinner time, going to the toilet, getting dressed in the morning.
Her challenging behaviour absoultely escalated during my pregnancy, including public melt downs and hitting etc. i had a baby 2 months ago. since bubs arrival things have been better actually. I think the anxiety about what was going to change and also me not being able to do much caused her to act out. DH and I were at our wits end!!
One thing i introduced that i still use now if she is carrying on is counting to ten, and then confiscating something..no mucking around no yelling and fighting .
For example, i ask her nicely 2-3 times to do something eg.. get dressed or whatever and if she still hasnt i say , "ok, ive asked you nicely now im going to count to 10 and if you havent done x , im taking your play dough and putting it inmy room so you cant use it today" ..i followed through with this threat a few times and now i barely get to 2 and she is doing what she should be.
Dinner is still a battle. Same thing as your DD. For this we have realised that the more worked up you get and the more tension around dinner time the worse it gets.
Things i find help are:
Limit afternoon snacks so they are genuinly hungry at dinner time,
If she starts getting up and down and throwing the food around i say "Ok Violet you dont seem hungry but if you dont eat any dinner you dont get anything else tonight ..(she usually has yogurt and fruit for dessert and glass of milk before bed) so..im going to count to ten and if you havnt started eating ill take it away"
These things have helped for us enourmously. We tried time out but she would get so worked up and upset we would end up having to comfort her for aaaaages and the whole thing was blown out of proportion. The counting to ten works better for us
Good luck! i think any anxieties or changes in their little lives will have an affect on their behaviour. Plus, they are trying to assert themselves and things like eating and toileting are some of the few things THEY can control.
Edited by bettymm, 22 February 2012 - 12:06 PM.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:12 PM
My DS is a little younger but we had some of these issues arise when our DD was about 3 months old too - when discussing it with the Health Nurse, she suggested it was because babies tend to wake up a bit more at this age and get/need more attention than a newborn. So while DS initially was quite blasÃ© about the new baby, he reacted with refusing to eat etc when DD got to this age. could this be a possible reason for your DD's behavior? He didn't show any negative feelings towards the baby, just acted out for attention, mostly with me rather than DH. I don't really have any answers though - much of the behaviour improved with time but the food issues got worse before starting to get better, nearly one year later. Hope you find a solution soon, I really sympathise with you...know all about the crankiness with DH and crying at night. Take care OP.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:17 PM
my son started this recently.. he;s 3.5. my punishments-time out, no tv, a smack if he's being destructive/ throwing thinmgs/ kicks or bites, didnt do squat.
now i say 'you dont want dinner? thats ok. BED'
you wet on the floor? (after being toilet trained for 18 months?!) BED.
you bite me?BED.
suprisingly this has helped. and if he refused dinner i will not make him second dinner, he eats the first one or nothing! three nights of going hungry and he's eating what he's given...sounds harsh, but i cant have to be making ten different dinners every night til he decides to eat. i think they all try it and as you have new baby DD probably wants to be centre of your world as she always has been...
this isnt anyones fault, she just is unsure-confused why this new person is taking up time-space that used to be entirely hers. no one method is going to work for everyone, but decide on a punishment and get DH to back you up. soon she'll realise you mean it and should settle down
Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:31 PM
For bedtime, you could try audio books (or even music). We introduced them around this age. It makes the fuss over reading more books and leaving the room a bit easier. Try your library, that's where we got most of ours.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:31 PM
A new baby and change in Daycare arrangements require a big adjustment for a 3yo. I know because my DD is going through something similar (4month old DS and started Daycare 1 day a week 3 weeks ago).
I think BMAP is onto something with changing routines a little to help change what, in some cases, has become a new habit. I also think you need to work on one problem at a time. I would start with bedtime because getting a good nights sleep is important for everyone.
Is she having a day sleep? If so, it might be time to cut it out. I also second the suggestions of an earlier dinner for a few weeks.
For bedtime, I think she is old enough to have a chat about what your expectations are at bedtime. Do this at a time when she is happier and ready to talk. Maybe talk about what she has been doing and try to get to the bottom of what is bothering her. Don't be afraid to tell her that it's imporant that she goes to bed on time because YOU also need rest. Then try to come to an agreement about what the new bedtime routine might be and maybe reinforce the new routine by acting it out in games (with dolls, or with her playing Daddy and you playing DD). With her great language skills and good memory I think this approach might work better than a more punitive approach.
Good luck OP, I truly understand what you are going through. I'm working my way through all of this one epsiode at a time. We've had dinner time battles that never happened before and DD has also wet the bed a few times lately when she has been night trained for months. I just try to remind myself that although she seems older sometimes she is still so young.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:35 PM
Another one here who can totally relate! DS is about to turn 4 and I think we have turned a corner on much of the "effing awful 3's" stuff, tho dinner times are still trying we mostly ignore and if he doesn't eat he doesn't eat. Mostly we have just ridden it out so I don't have any great advice sorry.
One thing that definitely helped was taking a holiday - we didn't realise how much we needed one until we did it, time to relax and actually enjoy DS's company again seemed to make the world of difference to our abilities to cope with him and really helped with our relationship too.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:49 PM
Not a lot of advice, but we struggle with dinners too. After trying various strategies unsuccessfully, if he refuse to eat his dinner, he goes to bed without. Simple.
Breakfast - maybe give her a choice of breakfast? Get her to prepare as much of it herself - dish, jug and spoon out of cupboard, or jam in a bowl with knife for her to spread onto her toast.
Bedtime - he only has a daysleep at childcare, and so we put him to bed later on those nights. He just wasn't tired, and we regularly had him still awake at 9-9.30, in and out of his room, with delaying tactics.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:28 PM
A Lot of what your describing is typical 3 year old behavior. 3 was a rough age for us. DD1 turned into a completely different child practically overnight. We also had a new baby then too (who is now 3).
I think you have a few issues going on-
Firstly 3 year olds can really struggle with change. Don't underestimate the effect a new baby in the family can have and the change in the child care room has happened at a time when she has a whole lot going on in her life. She is still only very young and there is a lot for her to cope with right now. She is probably have some security issues and the move in DC wouldn't have helped that.
Regression in TT when there is a new addition the family dose happen. DD went though it. She had been day trained since 2.6 years, never had any accidents but started having them when DD2 arrived. She also started acting more like a baby and wanted to be treated like one. It's something you just have to ride out and they get over it.
My 3 year old is terrified of the hand dryers too. She will use public toilets but we have to make sure that the dryers do not go on or it freaks her out. This as a real fear your DD and you will have to go gently with it. Don't make her use the toilet if she doesn't want too. My DD is also scared of pools and will not even go near one. We are slowly working though it and giving her lots of encouragement. I have talked to her a lot about it and now she is at the point that she is saying she will go swimming if she has a safe cuddle with mummy (me holding her). So we are about to give it a try but it's taken a few months of encouragement to get to this point.
I think has more turned into habit than genuine upset - she stops crying as soon as we leave, and runs around happily all day. I've actually seen her playing with the guy she didn't like in the last week.
That is separation anxiety, not a habit. Lots of kids do exactly the same thing. And I would expect the tears considering she has been put into another room and the changes at home. Completely normal, not something she is doing out of habit. I think the issues at bed time and not wanting you to leave the room are separation anxiety too.
She tries to think of things to get upset about -
I don't think it's that. She is only 3 and think she is having difficulties handling her emotions. So she remembers something, then remembers how sad she felt and she starts crying... because she cannot handle the feelings related to that memory. Again it's very normal. A lot of undesirable behavior is a born out of children not being able to handle their feelings. When she is crying she is saying 'mummy I can't handle these feelings and I need you to help me'. I would say to her 'yes you are feeling sad that a piece went missing. It's okay to feel sad, lets have a hug' and then move onto something else. As she gets older she will learn to cope with her feelings better.
Dinner issues- how much is she eating during the day? Is she actually hungry at dinner time? Quite often my 3 year old doesn't eat much at dinner but she snacks a lot during the day. Toddlers are quite commonly prefer to graze throughout the day than eat a big meal. She might also be too tired for dinner then.
My DD doesn't eat well if we have dinner too late. Bring dinner forward and look at how much she is eating during the day. Also don't focus on one meal- look at the whole intake for the day. If her overall intake isn't too bad then I wouldn't worry about one meal. And don't turn meal time into a battle! It's your job to cook the meals and it's her job to eat them! If she won't eat just move on.
During the day, apart from the new toilet issue, she's generally not too bad, particularly if we're busy. She goes to sports lessons one day a week, day care twice a week, and usually a play date most weeks. On the weekend we're busy shopping, visiting relatives, or having a family day going to markets, down the coast, to the museum, or out to lunch, etc. I also try and spend one or two days at home a week just relaxing - this is when her behavior is usually the worst.
Daycare and all the activities on top of it is a lot. Dose she have a day sleep? On the few days you are at home is the behavior a result of over tiredness? She might also be so used to going out she doesn't know how to play at home? Has the behavior gotten worse since the new baby? My kids would be exhausted if we were doing all that! I also strongly believe in kids having the space to make their own fun and we deliberately do not go out all the time (we often spend the weekend at home). We never even have play dates.. well apart from the kids in the street. So maybe she might need some more time at home and more rest?
I do sympathise with you.. 3 is a very hard age! DD started to settle down a few months before she turned 4. DD2 hasn't been bad so far. But I live in fear of what Miss 17 months will be like at 3. She is bad enough now!
Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:39 PM
My DD has been like this in some ways, but not in terms of the being scared.
It sounds like she has worked out what areas she has total control in - eg her eating, toileting and going to sleep. Rather than entering into a power struggle with her on these issues, I'd back off a bit. It is not the end of the world if she does not eat her dinner and she is showing you that you cannot force her. She is getting a reaction out of not eating so I'd just let her know that it is fine if she is not hungry, and you will keep her tea aside just in case she is hungry later. I'd also say it is not the end of the world to have her back in nappies for a while.
Bed time is a little trickier, as the more sleep they miss, the more it can worsen behaviour. Can you set up some rules? Eg 3 books and Daddy will sit with her until she falls asleep as long as she stays in bed? Mine used to also demand the opposite parent to put her to bed, which I think was a way of her trying to prolong bedtime and again assert control. We put in place taking it in turns putting her to bed. We did not budge on this, and if she wanted the other parent, we told her tomorrow it would be the other one's turn. Also helped to take to focus of mum not being able to every night as needing to BF the baby.
Can you set up some things that give her some control in areas that are acceptable? So maybe she could set the table or at least choose her plate and fork. So I'd give choice where I could, but also put in strict boundaries over the areas where you were not willing to allow choice.
A new baby is a big adjustment. If you are concerned about her behaviour or how you are coping, have a chat to your child health nurse.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:07 PM
Thanks everyone for the responses.
I think late dinners might be a bit of an issue - DH doesn't usually get home until 6.30, so dinner usually isn't out until nearly 7pm. I really like the idea of eating together as a family (and only having to cook once), but I'll give early dinners a go for a while and see how it plays out.
I did give it a shot today, we're having ravioli tonight, so easy to cook up her serve - and while she still fussed around a bit - constant changing seats, starting a cutlery band, wanting sauce, and then not, she actually did eat a decent portion, and because it was so early, I didn't need to hurry her along. I told her she could watch Mr Maker when she was done, and she's quite happily doing that now. I'll offer her a snack while DH and I eat later.
A few people asked if she still has a day sleep - no, she's been impossible to get down for about 6 months. The days she did nod off, she was still wide awake at bed time. In her former day sleep time, she usually watches a movie on her beanbag, so she still has quiet time.
We've been very empathetic over the dryer issue and haven't made a deal of it, I think we'll try and tackle it when everything else settles down.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:22 PM
I think a 7pm dinner is far too late for a 3 yr old. I've given up eating together as the kids need feeding earlier. There will be plenty of years in the future to do it. If she's not having a day nap, she probably needs to be in bed by 7.30ish (unless she sleeps in late?). If she's having dinner at 7pm, I can't imagine she would be able to wind down enough for a 7.30pm bed time, which would lead her to being over-tired and crazy. I know it sucks having to put them to bed when dad hasn't been home long, but I think it sucks more having an over-tired, emotional child.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:56 PM
Something of an update:
I've been cooking dinner for DD at 5.30pm, she's greatly improved at eating at this time. We've totally re-arranged our nightly routine to something like
5pm - I cook dinner for DD
5.30 - DD eats dinner
6pm - DD can do what she likes, I feed DD2
6.30pm - DH home from work, he gives DD a bath, I cook dinner for us
7pm - DH and I have dinner, DD gets a small snack - yoghurt, museli bar, custard, ice-cream or just milk if she's not hungry.
7.30pm - I clean up after dinner, DH reads DD1 bedtime stories.
7.45 - Bedtime.
While the worst of the behavior was kicking in from the afternoon, she's been generally well behaved, until lights out. When DH tries to leave the room if she hasn't fallen asleep straight away, she screams and cries for him not to leave. This can go on anywhere from 20 minutes up to a few hours. Last night I found an old lamp at 9.30 and put it on as a night light, and she let him leave without screaming. The days she has a nap at day care are the worst.
She's sleeping through the night in her own bed about 1/4 of the time, the rest she wakes up and tries to come in with us (which I'm not keen on). This is a slight improvement.
During the day, behavior has somewhat improved overall, but she does have her moments. She does a sports lesson on Monday mornings, and was an absolute horror this past week - incredibly rude to the coach, threw a tantrum and refused to join in, screamed, threw her self on the ground, etc. I was absolutely mortified of being the parent of 'that child'.
The last couple of day care drop offs have been slightly better - still tears, but not clinging to DH like she had been. She's been quite happily talking about a few new friends there. She's been going to the centre since she was 15 months old (1 day a week until this year), and is talking about it the most positively she has - though the crying didn't really happen at all last year.
Apart from lights out at night, the biggest challenge at the moment is her weeing everywhere. Some days she's good all day and happily uses the toilet. She rarely has an accident at day care. Some days, like today, she's good about it all morning, then refuses to go in the afternoon. Last week she wet herself nearly all day for a few days straight. I've tried a few strategies - taking away toys for one - I ended up running out of toys to confiscate, and she didn't seem to care. She's started saying she scared of me shouting at her
I rarely shout, but I know in frustration I have a few times over the last few weeks. I've tried ignoring it, that also seems to have no effect, and make her act out in other ways. I've tried rewards - it works only occasionally.
Next week I'm taking DD2 to the child health nurse, I might see if she can refer me to speak to someone about it, I'm still struggling to keep positive at the moment. Because of the saying she's scared of me, I feel like I have to be upbeat and happy all the time, and then feel guilty for 'faking it'. I'm feeling exhausted, and getting a little concerned about my own mental wellbeing at the moment, I constantly feel on the edge of either anger or tears.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:15 PM
OP< no advice here because my 3.5yr old daughter is almost exactly like yours. A highly emotional, spirited little girl. Dinner time is a nightmare, every single night it's a battle, no matter what we serve, she won't eat it. Cries, carries on, mucks around. Dinner time is a time of stress and anxiety for me because it's just so bloody unpleasant! I noticed a PP mentioned 7pm is too late for a 3yr old and I am not sure what I think about that. It has just gone 7pm here and dinner is being served
Our afternoons and evenings with three little ones is hectic and it's normally dinenr time between 6:30-7pm.......I might have to tryand get it done earlier!
Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:22 PM
OP can I ask how old your new baby is?
It sounds as though all of these issues have started with the arrival of the new baby and she is lashing out for some attention.
My advice would be to remove her to a naughty corner EVERY time she does something naughty that she knows better or you have asked her not to do. And make every effort to spend really good quality time with her one on one. Lots of praise for good things and kind of ignore the bad things.
I'm not sure if I'm making sense but it seems like she is acting out more and more as she feels that it's the only way to get lots of attention.
The sleep time dramas - not wanting you to go etc were exactly how my DS was when we brought our new baby girl home.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:24 PM
Baby is now 3 months.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:46 PM
The other (which is more of an issue), was using the toilet in a parents room, and accidentally setting off the hand dryer - it was super loud, and absolutely terrified her. She now refuses to use the toilet anywhere other than home, day care, or her grandparents. Even if we walk past a toilet block, she starts crying.
We went through this exact problem when Owen turned three!! He developed a fear of hand driers when I accidentally set one off when we were in a toilet at a cafe. He then refused to go into public toilets and had a couple of accidents as a result. I refused to let him wear nappies out and eventually he got past the point where he wouldn't go near a public toilet (it took a couple of months??) He will now go in but covers his ears the moment he knows we are going to the toilet (ie could be on the other side of a shopping centre) and we have to give the driers a wide berth in case we set them off.
Sorry, this isn't very helpful to you at all is it... I was just "excited" to hear of another drier phobia.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:26 PM
Firstly I feel your pain, my very spirited, charming and very verbal DS was 2.5 when we had our second son and the things you mention ring a lot bells. The night time routine in particular.
I read a book that suggested a few methods for the night time, you can try the slow withdrawal where you or your DH sit in the room with a book or something to do so you are present but not engaged in any way. Over time you move the chair closer and closer to the door i.e. over several nights or a week or two. Until you are able to sit in the doorway or outside of the room. Personally I found this quite hard and took a long time as my son was always talking to me!
The other option is the 'pop-in' method where you read stories etc etc then say "I'm going now but I'll pop in and check on you in a minute" and then literally stand outside the room and pop in after 30 secs and say "Just popping to check on you, I'll pop back in a minute" then wait a minute, check again etc etc and string it out for longer and then hope that works!
We also did a social story (basically an A3 poster with my stick figures drawn on) showing the steps to bedtime - bath, teeth, kiss goodnight, story, sleep in bed all night, happy Mummy and Daddy in the morning) and a reward chart with a picture of the reward so he could retain focus on the prize. Every night he stayed in his bed all night, got a cars sticker and then after 7 nights he got a reward.
I would go with the night light/lamp as my son used to sleep great in the dark no worries but since turning 3 has developed a fear of the dark and now has the full light on until we go to bed!
As for the deliberate soiling, the only thing I can suggest is staying calm (very hard I know!) and saying "I have a big mess to clean up now, you need to go to your room/time out spot while I clean it up" and then take your time to clean it. Perhaps at another time when your are both calm and happy you could have a talk about how it's not nice to deliberately make a mess for you to clean up and that she needs to try and use the toilet. Do you think a reward chart would work?
Also I think it is a 3 year old thing, my son is now 3.8 years and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This too will pass!
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