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Gently curbing repetition and endless rituals with 2.5 year old?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

Hi there,

 

My 2.5 year old girl has got me wrapped around her little finger! (kind of).

 

I am wondering if anyone can give me specific advice on how to handle a problem we're developing to do with endless repetition of things, rituals if you like. It comes in a specific form (see example below) - but seems to be affecting lots of other things too.

 

Here's a specific example. Bedtime (oh the dreaded bedtime) and nap time. Let me preface by saying that the below takes place after dinner, bath, milk, and bedtime stories (stories last about 20 minutes).

 

 

 

Finish bedtime stories (in a chair by her cot).

Carry LO to bed (cot/crib).

Goodnight cuddles/kisses.

 

Then the fun begins....

 

'Touch the backs and the fronts of the books!'

(Don't ask me how this weird thing started, but I have to go and get the bedtime stories and she has to touch them before I leave. Something I'd like to stop completely, but can't figure out how to without a tantrum!)

 

Me: Lie down now and give caterpillar a cuddle.

Lies down.

'Sit bear up!'

 

And this is where we have our real problem. She has a bear (well, obviously) - and I have to sit it up multiple, multiple, MULTIPLE times at the end of her bed in a certain way, not too fast or too slow etc.

 

THEN....

 

'Do it again!'

'Sit bear up again!'

'Do it again!'

'Again!'

Springs up onto feet.

'Again! Again! Again!'

And on and on...

All the while, she's smiling, laughing, having a good old time. 

 

Sigh. I'm so tired at the end of the day especially, that I get quite close to losing it. But the odd time I've gotten cross, ends in tears...and bedtime becomes completely out of whack...so I resist with all my might being visibly irritated. Sometimes I find myself threatening that I'm going to GET cross (Mummy's going to get cross soon...) - which, in some ways is just as bad. She still smiles through that though, she's not getting the concept of a cross Mummy (which is good) - unless I actually get angry of course.

 

Having said all that, the only way I have managed to even slightly control this is by pretending to leave the room, which sets her off in a minor tizzy, but after the minor whinge/tizzy, she relents and asks me to sit bear up 'the last time'. Which nearly works each time. There must be a better way?

 

I've tried talking to her during the day about how we will only do it X (3?) times or whatever. She understands this perfectly well when not in bed, and IN bed, even COUNTS with me. I've tried this tactic over and over again, but I still get 'again! again! again!'. Limits be damned!

 

Firstly, it's not a massive problem...I'm usually out of her room within ten minutes of actually putting her in bed...so it's not the end of the world. However, this same behaviour is spilling over into other things. If we make the mistake of doing something just ONE time (like letting her watch a small video after her nap) - then it seems we are now doomed into having it repeat daily! She now gets more screen time daily than I'd like (about an hour in total?) because what was a once-a-day video, is now x3.

Our day is SO rigid and seemingly unchangeable, it's a little bit scary. She even gets up in the morning sometimes and announces: 'First change 'undies', then breakfast, then videos...' etc.

 

Maybe I'm being gutless in not laying down some firmer 'rules' - but the truth is...it seems so much easier to grit my teeth, and give in - just for some peace. I also have an understanding that in toddler world it is quite important for their growing autonomy to feel some sense of control. I also know that at bedtimes, she'd rather I stayed - but I have never done that...and don't want to relinquish my 'independent sleeper' anytime soon.

 

 

 

 

So hear I am....and I guess the question is:

 

How can I work on limiting repetitive rituals like this - whilst still being gentle and kind?

Any help or pointers to some advice would be MOST appreciated. 

 

I feel like I'm missing something really obvious about how to handle it?

 

 

Thanks.


Edited by Grover - 4/9/13 at 6:20pm
post #2 of 35

If it makes you feel any better, I think it might be a developmental thing.  My 2.5 year old is pretty obsessed with rituals as well.  For example, he will want to be let in from the yard and one of his siblings opens the door for him.  He starts freaking out and having a tantrum because I'm the only one who he wants to open the door for him.  So usually I go back, close the door like he wants and then open it again.  Like you said, it's just easier that way.  But I can see such an issue becoming a much larger problem if it had to do with bedtime or screen time.....

 

Usually I find that if I set a boundary with my toddler, he will be very upset and cry a lot the first time, but then he understands that it is set in stone, and he doesn't ask again.  For awhile, he would ask for sips of his dad's diet soda, (something I didn't think was a very good idea).  I finally put my foot down because he started to want more and more sips throughout the meal and I set a boundary around the issue.  You may not have a sip.  That's a grownup drink.  It is not for kids.  He was pretty upset for one or two meals, but then he accepted it, and he doesn't ask at all anymore. 

 

Maybe you can do something similar with the bedtimes and videos.  Set a simple boundary at bedtime - No touching books or bears.  It's bedtime now.  And then stick to it, even if your child gets mad.  Then once she knows that you mean it, maybe she won't ask anymore. 

 

I'll be watching this thread, hoping for more ideas!

post #3 of 35
I think that you are mistaking you being gentle and kind with her being happy all the time. They are different things. You can gently and kindly say no. That's the part that you are responsible for. Her reaction is a different deal altogether. Whether she is happy or not doesn't have anything to do with whether or not you are gentle.

It's ok to say no about videos or arranging the bear or whatever. You can set boundaries. Although it will make her unhappy at first, this is a lesson you will have to teach her at some point. The longer you put it off the worse it will get. The sooner you do it, the more you get to enjoy your dd and - honestly - the happier she will be.
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for those posts and thoughts. I definitely think the problem is something to do with me not wanting her to get upset. She's a very feisty young thing (aren't they all? I don't honestly know!) - but mostly a fairly happy kiddie. But when there are tears, bedtime....in particular becomes a long protracted miserable affair. Perhaps I have to accept this happening a few times though, in order to break some cycles? I'm just so scared of it. shy.gif A bit pathetic of me...but just my honest feelings. Perhaps it's because, mostly, we don't really have to discipline her much at all (thus far). And I just have no clue.

 

One of the reasons I'm so paranoid about bedtime, is my own sleep is very bad (see chronic insomnia thread in mental health forum). Whilst I know it's perfectly normal to have these ups and downs and challenges, on the whole, she is a good sleeper...and life is not too bad - but when something goes 'wrong', I'm not very good at coping with how it might affect MY nights sleep. E.g. Today she got upset at nap time, so I got her up. No nap. On no nap days, we try for an early bedtime, but this backfires spectacularly, as every time we try an early bedtime she wakes up distressed in the middle of the night (which doesn't normally happen). So...I guess I do everything within my power to try and keep her 'happy' at both naptime and bedtime...more for my own sake. Hmm.

 

I'm rambling. Sorry.

I guess there is just a weird thing for me about bedtimes (and her getting to sleep happily, and getting the right amount) - it's a shame little kids don't just choose all other times of the day to play around, and save their best behaviour and sweetness for night time!

 

Video's are different, sort of - as sometimes I have said no - she has thrown a wobbly, then gotten over it fairly fast....

Again, I think I'm being a bit timid about it, for fear of rocking the boat. But during the day, handling the 'wobbly' that occurs just seems a lot more manageable...for one, there is distraction. No distraction possible at bedtime though. We are trying to cut down on the x3, and the last couple of days have managed to get it down to x2....but I still feel like I'm not in control of any of it really. 

 

I think you're both right - I do need to stop these things escalating. And they do escalate. First it was sit bear up once or twice - now....? Well, all the fingers and the toes in the room doesn't cover it.

Also - setting boundaries is good for all of us. I know this...I just need to get over my own feelings I guess? Though I'm trying to imagine myself being firm...and eeek! I can see how difficult it's going to be.

I'm struggling (maybe because I'm so exhausted) - to think of how to even simply SAY no in an effective way. At the moment, I whisper to her...but it's mostly waffle...like: 'Mummy has to go downstairs now....mummy doesn't want to sit bear up...we've already done bear ten times....lie down and cuddle caterpillar (argh!)....one LAST time...okay just one last time...' Waffle. Waffle. Waffle!

 

Does anyone want to pop around and do it for me?? 2whistle.gif


Edited by Grover - 4/9/13 at 9:32pm
post #5 of 35

It sounds to me like she is pushing the limits. She doesn't want you to leave and is trying to get you to stay by insisting you keep sitting the bear up and touch the books, etc. You probably will have a couple of hard nights once you set the limit, but it'll just get worse if you don't. 

post #6 of 35

I agree with the others.  I had some repeated-ritual-and-specific-bossing-around going on when my ds1 was that age too (he even tends toward this now at age 8!)  It was driving me crazy and I had to learn to just stop the cycle and lie silent at bedtime instead.  The only thing that works is just not negotiating - when I give in and think keeping him happy will end up with him happy, it never works!  This is the right time/age to set the absolute limit on the bedtime rituals. And an absolute limit on the video-  if you agree to one video, then after the one, the tv goes off (unplugged, put the remote up out of reach, whatever), in a friendly, "that was the one video, now let's do something else!" kind of way, if that works best.  Like others said, the first time will be the worst, but she will learn that you're serious and probably won't continue to test these rules as much over time.

post #7 of 35

I do think this is a developmental thing.  DS was never much into routines, but has needed them lately, so we have set them up, and having a routine has helped a ton.  But now that we have a routine, he has boundaries to test.  And it's not that he's being evil, and it's not that participating in his requests aren't helping him.  But I can see how it can easily spin out of control and those little extras will need to be incorporated into the routine.  That hasn't happened for us yet, but reading your post set of an alarm in my head that it's probably heading that way. 

 

I have been looking at the Aha Parenting website a lot lately, and realized that I have been a totally permissive parent (it just kind of suited our lifestyle and quite honestly, like you describe with your DD, I never had to discipline much because he always just went a long with things).  What makes a HUGE difference is the inflection you use in your voice.  If I don't have confidence in my voice that this IS the last time, then he will totally ask for more.  It's not about being rough or demanding, it's about having confidence that he will follow.  If it sounds like I don't think he will follow, or if the inflection in my voice indicates that it's a choice or a question, he will treat it like it's a choice.  And then I've set myself up for failure because I've indicated that there is a choice when their isn't, and that's not really good for either of us.

 

I like what a PP said about not being able to control their reaction.  Sometimes it makes him upset, and I am empathetic to those emotions, but that doesn't change the fact that it still is the last time.  Once I acknowledge his emotions, (and for him point out that it's not that we can't EVER do this again, but for tonight we are all done - he thinks that last time means last time EVER, so if I say we can do it again tomorrow, he feels better), he will usually say "okay" and go along with bedtime, or whatever else we need to accomplish.  I do think that kids need to have those boundaries set and to know that we are in control so that they feel safe.  But that doesn't mean that we have to be crazy disciplinarians to accomplish it.

 

I would try not to change too many things at once, maybe pick one thing to eliminate per week or something.  That way it's not too many changes all at once.  And I would describe what is going to happen beforehand, like you are, but with more confidence and finality in your voice, then matter of factly stick to it, while being empathetic to her feelings.  I wouldn't make a big deal/use big emotions about of it being the "last time" or whatever, but I would definitely make sure that you empathize with how it makes her feel, that way you aren't setting up an expectation that it will or should be upsetting, but you can understand if she does find it to be that way.  Which she probably will, at least the first couple of times.  but once that boundary has been set, then she won't need to test it anymore.

 

I hope that makes sense?

post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the further thoughts. For something seemingly simple - I'm doing a great job of complicating it for myself enormously, I know. I did try yesterday being more firm - but, I just find it impossible to keep my talking (waffling...explaining...reasoning) to a minimum. I somehow feel compelled to EXPLAIN to her why it's not okay...but then find I don't have any good 'reasons'.

 

That, and I'm also deeply afraid...(I'm chuckling to myself, but it is actually true)...of the tantrum. I just didn't realise how much until I posted this thread.

 

We have 'minimised' the number of bear-sit-ups a little...and we've got her down to x2 video sessions a day (total of 30-40 mins max screen time, which I'm a lot more comfortable with) - but we are still touching books...and although slightly less, are still having the 'again! again! again!' business.

 

When I say: We're only going to sit bear up once. I just get: I want to sit bear up again! Then it becomes a silly back and forth...'no, once.' 'no, again', etc. According to above wisdom (no sarcasm, I think all the advice has been great, thanks)...I should just leave the room....?? I just don't dare! huh.gif

 

She is very verbal and communicative, and I know she understands 99% of what we talk about, and can negotiate. I have been drumming home the message during the day - but am weirdly not sure what to say: 'We will only sit bear up three times tonight...'??? Sounds kind of ridiculous doesn't it? I've tried a small compromise, where I tell her I will only sit him up ONE LAST TIME, if it IS the LAST time -- and this has worked....when she's in a good mood.

 

Babysmurf: I do like your idea of doing things slowly and one at a time. I think she would respond MUCH much better to a slower kind of withdrawal, or change in habits, definitely. In terms of inflection and voice - I try to whisper most of the time...to stop her getting all jumpy and excited. It kind of works. If I whisper: 'Lie down'. She will, every time. But then will pop up again. Ha ha. Just curious - what would you say instead of 'this is the last time'? I'm sure there are a myriad of things I could be saying during these minutes, but I seem to only be capable of one's that turn into a giant ping-pong of wits with her!

 

Last night, when I was failing to be firm, I realised that she is a huge creature of habit/routine. That may or may not be our doing, as she is a very 'scheduled' child (not activities, just eating/sleeping/bathing etc) - I've always been immensely strict on all that, so she may be picking it up off me, or maybe by nature she is quite orderly, regimented, and habitual. Either way, last night, when she instantly went into: 'Sit bear up again!' - it occurred to me that she's just doing it on total autopilot. She's done this every night for a few weeks (?) now, so from HER point of view, it is a part of her bedtime routine. It kind of just POPS out of her mouth, without too much thought involved. So, I can see why (even if I don't like it) - that she freaks out when I don't participate, and play my role in the ritual.

 

This makes me wonder about some kind of substitution instead of outright denial, on my part? Some way to just break the cycle - i.e. a distraction that won't throw the whole of bedtime into chaos.

Having said that, I did offer her a final kiss and a cuddle last night instead of 'sitting bear up' - but that didn't get accepted. Maybe it's worth pursuing though? (Can imagine scenario's where I'm KISSING bear goodnight three million times instead. Oh dear.) **

 

I'm thinking about it too much I'm sure. And I do know that all the advice I've received is spot on. I do find it an interesting thing though, as on one level I can't help thinking it's not a big deal - so what if she gets her own way for ten minutes every bedtime. On the other hand....well, have already mentioned how I think it's going to not do anyone any favours as she gets bigger and even more demanding.

 

Also I can see into the future, that we're going to have problems getting rid of her bottle...(boy is she attached to that before bedtime and in the morning!) and, well, lots of other things - if I can't get a handle on how to do this now. 

I wish I was a lot less exhausted, and therefore able to better contemplate a couple of nights/days of disruption. Hmmm.

 

 

** Just as an aside. She has a book called Russell The Sheep. Russell can't sleep and does various things to help him sleep, include counting the stars. 'Six billion million....and ten'.

Occasional nights when an ordinary number won't do I get asked to sit bear up.....you guessed it....six billion million and ten times. Ha!

Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

post #9 of 35
I just wanted to add that another benefit to learning how to set a firm boundary is that you avoid future battles. Your child knows in each new situation that when you set a boundary, that is what will happen. They may test it a bit to make sure, but if you have history of being consistent, it just becomes normal not to fight about these things.

Also, I have a chronic negotiator, too, and I definitely find myself talking way too much about discipline stuff sometimes. Sometimes I just have to say "i am all done talking about this," and then refuse to engage any more. One other thing that helps me is having silent time, where I don't talk at all to my DD, but still focus my attention in her. It helps us both get out of that back and forth cycle, out of the verbal rut. When talking is out of the picture, new tools present themselves. IDK, it's just something I've found helpful.
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post

I just wanted to add that another benefit to learning how to set a firm boundary is that you avoid future battles. Your child knows in each new situation that when you set a boundary, that is what will happen. They may test it a bit to make sure, but if you have history of being consistent, it just becomes normal not to fight about these things.

Also, I have a chronic negotiator, too, and I definitely find myself talking way too much about discipline stuff sometimes. Sometimes I just have to say "i am all done talking about this," and then refuse to engage any more. One other thing that helps me is having silent time, where I don't talk at all to my DD, but still focus my attention in her. It helps us both get out of that back and forth cycle, out of the verbal rut. When talking is out of the picture, new tools present themselves. IDK, it's just something I've found helpful.

 

I don't want to stress myself (I'm already a stress machine) too much about how it could get worse...or how I'm not being a good enough parent (eek) - though obviously those things cross my mind all the time anyway. But I agree with what you (and the others) have said about setting up a precedent. It totally makes sense.

 

Also - just rereading through the replies I've had, I see that being silent IS something of a useful tool. There have been nights after I've asked her to lie down...that I just shut up for as long as I can - and perhaps this has diffused things a little, and made the next bit quicker/easier?

 

Maybe I need to be a whole lot less talky....hmm. I will dwell on this alternative way of handling it, or at least an adjunct tool. Thank you.

post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post

Also, I have a chronic negotiator, too, and I definitely find myself talking way too much about discipline stuff sometimes. Sometimes I just have to say "i am all done talking about this," and then refuse to engage any more. 

I think that refusing to continue to engage on a subject can be helpful--I've not gotten to this point with my kid, but I've read some stuff advocating it. After you've explained the boundaries a couple of times, if they keep asking, you could say something like "We already discussed this and the answer is no. Asking again won't get a different answer, it'll just irritate Mommy." That might help get you out of the "no, once"/"no, again" game. 

post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grover View Post

 

When I say: We're only going to sit bear up once. I just get: I want to sit bear up again! Then it becomes a silly back and forth...'no, once.' 'no, again', etc. According to above wisdom (no sarcasm, I think all the advice has been great, thanks)...I should just leave the room....?? I just don't dare! huh.gif

 

 

" want to sit bear up again!"

" You want bear to sit up a lot!  I'm just doing it the one more time, and then we can (hug, kiss, sing, whatever) and then I have to go (brief activity like laundry or whatever).  Then I'll check back on you."  (this is just hwo things went in my house, you say whatever it is you need to here).

(tantrum)

"You're really upset that I won't keep sitting bear up.  I'm sorry you're so sad about it.  I'm happy to {hug, sing, etc.} but I'm done playing with bear right now." (wait to see if she wants any of the other options, and only do those once).  

(continued tantrum)

"I'll sit her with you while you get that sad out." (hug or comfort however you do).  

 

If she keeps saying, "Again!" or "I want bear to sit up again!"  I'd just reply, "I know you do.  We can do it again tomorrow, but I'm done playing that for tonight."  Like a kind, but unwavering broken record.  lol.  You can be empathetic, and gentle, and kind, but firm.  You don't have to keep explaining it to her, or arguing with her.  Just be with her while she processes it (if that's what soothes her.  Some kids hate being comforted and want to just get it out).

post #13 of 35
We had a similar thing where 2 year old DD wanted to read and read and read and wanted me to do all the reading at bedtime. She wasn't talking as well at the time so it was "more! MOOOOORE!!!!!! " then cue the screaming, thrashing tantrum (while on the potty - FUN!!!) We compromised on two long books and decided to take turns and had a couple of rough bedtimes but it all blew over and we have a new routine we're all happy with. I don't have chronic insomnia but I am pretty pregnant and my emotions are all out of whack so I'd like to think I can relate in a small way. I'm not trying to minimize things but if you get it over with then you'll have a few rough evenings. If you don't put your foot down then not only will you have stressful evenings but it'll weigh on you and you will likely stress over it which certainly won't help you get the rest you need. hug.gif I read your insomnia thread and my heart goes out to you. I have intermittent problems going back to sleep and am an absolute wreck after a bad night so I can't even imagine what you feel like most days. I just think the more you wait and debate, the harder it will be because you're exhausting yourself in the process. Try to turn off your mouth/brain and prepare a script.
"last time we sit up bear today"
"again!!"
"we are all done for tonight. We will sit bear up again tomorrow."
"AGAIN!!!!!!"
"all done for tonight. More tomorrow"
"AGAAAAAAAIN!!!!!! Aaaargh!!!!!!" etc
"all done for tonight. More tomorrow. You can have a hug if you like"
And repeat or simply say "good night." and follow the next step whether that's staying or leaving

Good luck!
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grover View Post

Thank you for the further thoughts. For something seemingly simple - I'm doing a great job of complicating it for myself enormously, I know. I did try yesterday being more firm - but, I just find it impossible to keep my talking (waffling...explaining...reasoning) to a minimum. I somehow feel compelled to EXPLAIN to her why it's not okay...but then find I don't have any good 'reasons'.

 

That, and I'm also deeply afraid...(I'm chuckling to myself, but it is actually true)...of the tantrum. I just didn't realise how much until I posted this thread.

 

We have 'minimised' the number of bear-sit-ups a little...and we've got her down to x2 video sessions a day (total of 30-40 mins max screen time, which I'm a lot more comfortable with) - but we are still touching books...and although slightly less, are still having the 'again! again! again!' business.

 

When I say: We're only going to sit bear up once. I just get: I want to sit bear up again! Then it becomes a silly back and forth...'no, once.' 'no, again', etc. According to above wisdom (no sarcasm, I think all the advice has been great, thanks)...I should just leave the room....?? I just don't dare! huh.gif

 

She is very verbal and communicative, and I know she understands 99% of what we talk about, and can negotiate. I have been drumming home the message during the day - but am weirdly not sure what to say: 'We will only sit bear up three times tonight...'??? Sounds kind of ridiculous doesn't it? I've tried a small compromise, where I tell her I will only sit him up ONE LAST TIME, if it IS the LAST time -- and this has worked....when she's in a good mood.

 

Babysmurf: I do like your idea of doing things slowly and one at a time. I think she would respond MUCH much better to a slower kind of withdrawal, or change in habits, definitely. In terms of inflection and voice - I try to whisper most of the time...to stop her getting all jumpy and excited. It kind of works. If I whisper: 'Lie down'. She will, every time. But then will pop up again. Ha ha. Just curious - what would you say instead of 'this is the last time'? I'm sure there are a myriad of things I could be saying during these minutes, but I seem to only be capable of one's that turn into a giant ping-pong of wits with her!

 

Whispering even is okay, so long as you are confident in what you are saying - it may take some practice, but if you really believe in what you are saying, it will sound more firm, even in a whisper.  Changing the volume of the discussion isn't going to change the dynamic, and I can totally understand how you don't want to get her riled up.  That being said, the change is probably get her worked up a bit as she processes it, and I'm not sure that can be avoided entirely.  What makes it easier for her to process is your empathy, helping her identify why she may be upset, and teaching her ways to cope with it.  I agree with the others too about trying not to explain too much, simple is better, less complicated to understand and less room to negotiate.  Because if you really want to get bedtime back to where it was (which is perfectly fine!), then you do need to show her that those boundaries are firm.  Again, that doesn't mean that you can't meet her resistance with empathy, just that arguing about it isn't going to get a different answer. 

I also feel funny discussing the change during the day; I usually just preface when I am going to change something - that just works for us.  So, continuing with the bear example "Tonight when we say goodnight to bear, we are only going to sit him up 3x..okay ready?"  That also allows the focus to change to the counting rather than the ritual itself, which may help distance her from it.  I have no idea if that will work for you or not.

 

 

The last thing I wanted to point out is that you shouldn't over think or blame yourself for her dependence on routines/rituals.  Kids personalities are what they are - when DS was younger I tried *everything* to get him into some kind of routine and he rejected everything.  Now, he all of a sudden relies on them, and I don't even know when exactly it happened, just all of a sudden we realized that there was one, lol!  I wouldn't be entirely surprised if she weans herself back from all of the rituals/demands a bit, especially if the intensity is a a newer thing.  I wouldn't expect it to go away completely though, since it sounds that she is routine oriented anyway, but just that the intensity of things now is a developmental thing.  I still think that learning how to set limits is super important though, because there are going to be things that threaten her safety that you are going to have to negotiate, and this is good practice because you can experiment with the types of things that work best for the two of you. 

 

Last night, when I was failing to be firm, I realised that she is a huge creature of habit/routine. That may or may not be our doing, as she is a very 'scheduled' child (not activities, just eating/sleeping/bathing etc) - I've always been immensely strict on all that, so she may be picking it up off me, or maybe by nature she is quite orderly, regimented, and habitual. Either way, last night, when she instantly went into: 'Sit bear up again!' - it occurred to me that she's just doing it on total autopilot. She's done this every night for a few weeks (?) now, so from HER point of view, it is a part of her bedtime routine. It kind of just POPS out of her mouth, without too much thought involved. So, I can see why (even if I don't like it) - that she freaks out when I don't participate, and play my role in the ritual.

 

This makes me wonder about some kind of substitution instead of outright denial, on my part? Some way to just break the cycle - i.e. a distraction that won't throw the whole of bedtime into chaos.

Having said that, I did offer her a final kiss and a cuddle last night instead of 'sitting bear up' - but that didn't get accepted. Maybe it's worth pursuing though? (Can imagine scenario's where I'm KISSING bear goodnight three million times instead. Oh dear.) **

 

I'm thinking about it too much I'm sure. And I do know that all the advice I've received is spot on. I do find it an interesting thing though, as on one level I can't help thinking it's not a big deal - so what if she gets her own way for ten minutes every bedtime. On the other hand....well, have already mentioned how I think it's going to not do anyone any favours as she gets bigger and even more demanding.

 

Also I can see into the future, that we're going to have problems getting rid of her bottle...(boy is she attached to that before bedtime and in the morning!) and, well, lots of other things - if I can't get a handle on how to do this now. 

I wish I was a lot less exhausted, and therefore able to better contemplate a couple of nights/days of disruption. Hmmm.

 

 

** Just as an aside. She has a book called Russell The Sheep. Russell can't sleep and does various things to help him sleep, include counting the stars. 'Six billion million....and ten'.

Occasional nights when an ordinary number won't do I get asked to sit bear up.....you guessed it....six billion million and ten times. Ha!

Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post

 

" want to sit bear up again!"

" You want bear to sit up a lot!  I'm just doing it the one more time, and then we can (hug, kiss, sing, whatever) and then I have to go (brief activity like laundry or whatever).  Then I'll check back on you."  (this is just hwo things went in my house, you say whatever it is you need to here).

(tantrum)

"You're really upset that I won't keep sitting bear up.  I'm sorry you're so sad about it.  I'm happy to {hug, sing, etc.} but I'm done playing with bear right now." (wait to see if she wants any of the other options, and only do those once).  

(continued tantrum)

"I'll sit her with you while you get that sad out." (hug or comfort however you do).  

 

If she keeps saying, "Again!" or "I want bear to sit up again!"  I'd just reply, "I know you do.  We can do it again tomorrow, but I'm done playing that for tonight."  Like a kind, but unwavering broken record.  lol.  You can be empathetic, and gentle, and kind, but firm.  You don't have to keep explaining it to her, or arguing with her.  Just be with her while she processes it (if that's what soothes her.  Some kids hate being comforted and want to just get it out).

yeahthat.gif  that's a great script to start with. 

 OP, I totally understand what you mean about not feeling like this particular thing being a huge deal.  But, it is important that you learn how to set limits with her, and that she learns that you are able to be in control, because it shows her that you are able to keep her safe.  It's not about being mean or depriving her, it's about working with her and teaching her how to have limits and how to cope with emotions. kwim?

post #15 of 35
post #16 of 35

It sounds like you are really tired because of your sleep issues.  But I think being out of her room within 10 minutes of her laying down is amazing.  I, for one, don't think there's a big deal with kids negotiating and learning what's acceptable and not.  They're trying to figure out what makes sense (for them and others).  But as far as a bedtime ritual, what about reading stories in her bed, instead of a chair?  That way, she's all relaxed and that's not being interrupted by being carried to bed.  You could also, break up the habit a little...by asking her how many times bear has to sit up, and when that's done, that's done.  But ask her instead of telling her how many times.  If she comes up with a really big number, tell her it must be less than 15 or something. Or give her a choice of 4 or 6?  And then maybe read one last story after bear is done.  Dunno, my 2.5 year old decides he's hungry sometimes, or asks for water, or whatever, that's just how kids are.  We are not super strict about those things and just expect that he'll grow out of it, just like my 5 year old has.

post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 

Hi folks.

 

Thanks PP's for new thoughts. Thanks lmkl for adding a different perspective too....I do need to step back occasionally and realise that a lot of these kinds of things are a phase. There are other obsessive things that we/she used to do, that are now history - e.g. pushing the buttons on the alarm system keypad before going to bed (it's defunct, she just always saw the keypad on the way up the stairs and wanted to touch it and key in a different number each night - nothing to do with fear or anything).

 

I have been running little experiments the last few nights...and have taken inspiration from this thread. Some things have changed, but not the essential fact that the wee one is somehow in charge - OR - a better way of putting it would be that she seems to need to have the very last word.

 

In the spirit of my first post - this is how we're looking now:

 

Stories end:

In bed.

Touch books (gah! We got rid of this for two nights - but it's back.)

Lie down.

Sit bear up a specified number of times - 1, 2, and 3. (Have given her the choice of number - 3 is her favourite).

Me walk to door.

Her jump up.

'Come back come back! Sit bear up again.' (Nights gone past this happened MULTIPLE times).

Me come back.

'This is the last one.' (<---- DD)

Sit bear up one last time.

Say goodnight.

 

Okay - so I'm still 'giving in' to that last demand. But at least it's not happening over and over and OVER again, like previous. When she says it's the last one now...she means it. So something has changed about the dynamic.

 

I did have a little 'chat' with her a couple of days ago about how I wasn't happy doing multiple bear thing, but I knew she wanted to - could we decide how many times so we can both be happy. Didn't seem to work that night, but maybe it has sunk in a little.

 

In addition to the above, I have lowered my voice...repeated: No, it's bedtime now...lie down - if needed....AND also incorporated some silence in the mix if she seems like she's going to go beyond the above.

So...I'm out of there in five or so minutes - and I can live with that I think?

 

I really appreciate some of the thoughts given to me here. Our little one's and their personalities and habits are obviously so unique to them though, that it makes it difficult to find a magic bullet in other people's great advice.

For example, in the great script above. We can't really do the 'I'm just leaving to do X, Y, Z' thing. We tried this quite a few times with night wakings a few months ago, and then again with bedtime distress a few weeks ago...but the little person does not react well to this method at all. In the middle of the night, she would just sit and wait, and sit and wait....then when you poked your head back in...she fired up big time. Ditto with bedtime a while back - she'd just go banana's until we came back...and then needed a whole other half an hour to resettle. It seemed more mean in the end, than just staying for as long as it took to get her comfortable.

 

And in terms of her getting upset - well, I'm still very reluctant at bedtime. The main reason is that there's a whole OTHER ritual that's never-ending, that goes along with crying...which is: 'Wipe my face! Wipe my face! Again! Again! Again!' etc. Sigh. I don't know how she locks on to these things - obviously I wiped tears away a few months ago...now it is another obsession/comfort/ritual thing. Fortunately she doesn't cry too much - once every second day maybe?

 

Some days I count myself lucky she is sleeping at all, as she is definitely of the 'spirited' variety. She gets quite locked into things, and doesn't transition terribly easily at all. Even with all the relaxing stories etc...she tends to yabber and talk all the way through them - seemingly on full steam (or just overtired?)...then once finally left alone, STILL takes nearly half an hour to yabber herself to sleep - (sometimes a lot more for naps...so difficult to figure out her naps at the mo, they're all over the place - sometimes conking out, sometimes no nap at all).

 

Quite quite often she'll fall asleep MID-sentence!

Can't help thinking.....'Sheesh kid - just RELAX would you!?'

Speaking of having the last word. She even says the same thing to me every night as I'm going down the stairs...which is run-together-sentence that goes something like this:

'Where'sDaddyGone?Say'Goodbyeandseeyouinthemorninganddon'tsayitagain!'

Ha.

My response is similar as I'm escaping:

'Daddy'smakingmummyanddaddysdinner.Goodbyeseeyouinthemorning!'

Her: 'Don'tsayitagain!'

 

Ha!

 

But she's always been intense like this. Certainly never just dozed off anywhere, for any reason just because she might be tired. (I have a couple of friends with older kids, that always told me just to pop her on a couch, or when she was small, in a bassinet under a table etc. I myself was carted to movies, and parties right up until the age of...well, it never really stopped! I expected to have a child that would do this, fall asleep on a dime - but no!! Feel a bit ripped off I must say!) And she's always been strong willed. Always talkative (with us anyway).

 

The other lovely idea above was reading stories to her in bed. We aim at that one day - but at the moment it's kind of impossible, physically. Her cot has a rail...I couldn't get her to lie down inside, me holding the books at weird angles and things. We might have to leave stories in bed until she's in a big girl's bed.

 

So there you go - a little bit of improvement. Enough maybe. Until the next thing (she has taken to licking me goodnight - 'a snail kiss mummy!' instead of kissing - yuk! - so hopefully that one doesn't get out of control.)

 

Also, I seem to have much bigger problems on my plate right now unfortunately. Still...I think about this type of issue daily, and have gotten lots of useful things out of this thread that I will try and implement where and when I can.

 

 

 

I think my relatives and friends tried to tell me about this aspect of parenting....but who can tell what it's really going to be like.

My situation with her is much-complicated by the insomnia disaster...and the house-build disaster. There are things that we wanted to be doing with her...playgroup...then followed by a little preschool time - but these are all on hold. It's all very frustrating.

 

We battle on.

Trying to take a breath every now and then.

Things could be worse?

 

Thanks again.


Edited by Grover - 4/17/13 at 7:05pm
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skycheattraffic View Post
. hug.gif I read your insomnia thread and my heart goes out to you. I have intermittent problems going back to sleep and am an absolute wreck after a bad night so I can't even imagine what you feel like most days. I just think the more you wait and debate, the harder it will be because you're exhausting yourself in the process. 

Thanks for this.

I feel so sorry for myself sometimes, it's a little bit pathetic! - but it is genuinely nice to have strangers send virtual hugs, and advice. Thank you.

The insomnia thing is just weird and horrible. It definitely colours everything. But I'm trying to keep my head up...and reserve lots of positivity for the kiddie each day (I hope I'm being the parent to her that I would be if I was well-rested, mostly anyway. My partner gets the brunt of a bad night...but he's supportive too...so life could be much worse) - and I'm trying to have hopeful thoughts about it all for the future. Nothing is forever, right? (unless it's my daughter's weird habits!?)

post #19 of 35

I skimmed this, baby should be up soon. Insomnia is horrible, so sorry.

 

Have you had her sit the bear up on her own? If she doesn't want to initially, could you pretend to not know how she wants the bear sat up? Maybe during the daytime so it's not a hot-button issue. If she could do it herself, while in her bedtime element it might not be such a struggle.

post #20 of 35
Quote:
I've tried talking to her during the day about how we will only do it X (3?) times or whatever. She understands this perfectly well when not in bed, and IN bed, even COUNTS with me. I've tried this tactic over and over again, but I still get 'again! again! again!'. Limits be damned!

 

On those days that you said you'd do it the 3 times and she's saying to do it again, are you doing it again?

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