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managing 2 specific toddler behaviors

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I realize these behaviors are developmentally appropriate, but what I've tried to do lately hasn't been working too well, and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice for me.

 

1) the concept of NOW:

Everything for DS (who will be 2.5 in July) is NOW. He demands things all day, and if I say just a minute, or yes, we can do that after this, his response is "No...NOW".  He is quite persistant with it too. I don't try to bargain or reason with him, so what I usually do is repeat, consistently, what the parameters are, and when he continues with his NOW and tantrums, I ultimately stop responding to him and eventually he'll sort of give up. Just wondering if there's a better alternative?  I have a newborn so of course this could be an adjustment as well, since I'm less able to get to him when he wants to. It's a very annoying behavior, but the next one I'm more concerned about:

 

2) running away from me/tantruming/refusing/fighting me when an activity is over

When time is up, or we have to leave an area like the playground, I usually give DS a countdown- 5 more minutes, 2 more minutes, 1 more minute. No matter what, 99% of the time he fights me, or runs away, when it's time to go. Yesterday, he ran from me at the park and I was wearing my newborn in the wrap.  I tried to make it a game of "chase" in the moment so it would be less of a power-struggle.  But, when I caught up to him and picked him up, he kicked and screamed and fought me for a few seconds and ended up headbutting the baby (shes OK). Clearly I don't want that repeated.

 

Currently, he's been in the bathtub for 1.5 hours because he refuses to get out. I've given up.  Talking him out of the tub isn't working and I refuse to try to physically lift him out because I'm wearing the baby and don't need any more potential head injuries in my future. I've just been running hot water every half hour or so so he doesn't freeze, and I'm trying to enjoy a little peace.

post #2 of 11

So with the demands, at that age and for a while longer I help them parrot how I wished they had asked for something. It puts us both in a better place, even if it takes the kid a bit to ask nicely. And it gives me a chance to finish what I was doing when the decided it was a 911 that I retied their shoes, while I was changing a baby. This will be a long process, and I honestly still don't always ask for things nicely as an adult.

 

Perhaps there is too much going on with the new baby, and you may need to do less with the big kid? Keeping things close to home and normal for a bit may help you reset.

 

Honestly, with the bath issue...I've been unscrewing the plug when I am about 15 minutes away from being ready for bath time to be done. This has worked in three houses with four children and it's not something that they fight about.  If I refilled the tub, or even just let the water stay I would have to manually pull kids from the tub. This is a fight I choose not to have, once the water is gone--they are pretty ready to get out ;-) And even the one year old is smart enough to push the plug back down if it's still in the tub.

 

So maybe rethink some of the common things you are struggling with your kiddo over. Think about anyway you could avoid the situation, or avoid the trigger. I hope this helps, toddlers are so much fun--but also so hard to juggle when new babies are in the mix!

post #3 of 11

Not too much to offer here, except to try to make your transition warnings more concrete?  Instead of saying 1 more minute, say after you go down the slide one more time we will go.  The "minute" thing may be meaningless enough to him that he's tuning it out.  The other thing that helped a bit with transitions at that age was to change up my language.  Like, if I said, lets scurry on over to the car!  Or let's scramble into your pajamas! Somehow this subtle change of language made things more acceptable.  Also, the promise of something fun always helps:  Okay, you went down the slide!  Now let's go get that snack of yours (in the car).  You must be hungry!  Not a foolproof method, but sometimes it helps. 
 

post #4 of 11
Like newmamalizzy mentioned, I think counting down the minutes may be meaningless to a toddler. My DS is almost 3 and I don't know that he knows what the word minute means in terms of 60 seconds of time having passed. The suggestion to allow 3 more slides or whatever at the park may work. With the tub I would not refill with warm water. Either leave it as is and he may realize cold water is no fun to play in or drain the tub.

To answer your first point, when DS asks me for something that he wants me to do for him/ give to him at that moment but I'm too busy, the answer always begins with "yes" followed by "as soon as I finish the dishes" or "after I nurse your sister". So he's hearing that yes, he can have or do what he's asking for but he'll have to wait for something specific to happen before. This almost always works unless he's overtired.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your suggestions!

 

I do agree that the timing wording is meaningless to a young toddler but didn't know of a better alternative...I like your concrete wording, which I've tried to a lesser extent (one more time on the slide and we go)...I'll try to use that full-time from now on.  I also like the concept of making the wording different and "fun". I think that no matter what, DS gets to the point of no return at the playground because he LOVES to be outside, so I truly feel that not much is going to work unfortunately other than coming up with a more fun alternative that will be attractive to him in the moment.

 

I'm using the "yes...after I do this" more often and he still responds "no...NOW!" a good amount but not nearly as much as before. I think he's just accepting things. To be honest, his behavior has improved as time has gone on and we've all started adjusting to our new routine a family of 4.

post #6 of 11

I used the "first-then" answer. "First, I'll change this diaper, then I'll get your toy" or "First, we'll finish this puzzle, then we'll take a nap". Calm and matter-of-fact. Not as simple and fool-proof as that makes it sound, but we did survive the stage you are in.hug2.gif

post #7 of 11

Oh no :( That sounds similar to tantrums my son was having, too. I think best thing to do is to either calmly keep explaining and setting time limits like you have, or ignoring the behavior. I noticed that once I calmly explained that helped a lot. Good luck!
 

post #8 of 11

When my son asks for something and I can't do it right then, I use "first - then." "First I'm going to wash my hands and then I'll get you a banana." It doesn't always work. but I do see him getting more patient. As soon as I'm don with the first activity, I let him know "Now I'll get you a banana." so he knows that I haven't forgotten.

 

 

He also loves the playground and hates leaving. So I just try to give him something fun to look forward to. "Daddy will be home soon. We should head back soon so we can see him!" or "It's almost lunch time, are you hungry? We can have some [whatever the favorite food that week is]." or "Do you want to go home and color? I want to draw a tree, what do you want to draw?"

 

The last one works especially well. If I get him interested in another activity, he wants to go do it right away.

post #9 of 11

Ha, I was basically going to say exactly what CMSmommy said.

 

I also do "first, then."  Actually, I think what I usually say is, "Yes, after I finish _____."  That way he hears the "yes" first.  I may have to repeat it a few times, but it works pretty well.

 

The issue of transitions (really, just needing to leave a place when he's having fun) has been our primary source of frustration for the entirety of DS's toddlerhood.  I have found that, paradoxically, warnings make it worse.  I know everyone says to give ample warnings, etc etc, but they don't work for us.  If DS can even sense that we're about to leave the park (or wherever) he instantly resists.  

 

I aim for short, frequent visits to the park rather than long excursions.  I used to think I could let him play until he wore himself out and then we could go home...but if we're there for more than an hour he just gets cranky, so we try to keep visits 30-45 min or so.  But we go often enough that he knows we'll be back soon and he doesn't have to cling to the time he does get at the park.  

 

I don't give warnings...at all.  Not even, "One more slide."  I wait for a moment when he isn't actively engaged in something, when he's in between playmates or activities (if a kid he was playing with leaves, that is usually a great time to bail), and I either simply start walking towards home and hold my hand out for him to walk with me, or I do like what CMS said and get him excited about the next thing we're going to do.  Although I try not to say, "Do you want to ___" because the answer will likely be no, even if what I've offered is ice cream and television.  So I'll say, "Phew, I'm hot.  Are you hot?  I think I'll go make us some big cups of ice to cool off."  Or maybe, "I wonder what Baby and Bear (toys) have been doing while we were away.  Do you think they made a big mess in the kitchen?  Do you think they're reading books?  Let's go see."

 

HTH! 

post #10 of 11

Jumping in without reading responses - sorry if some of this is a repeat...

Quote:
Originally Posted by LHcj2008 View Post

I realize these behaviors are developmentally appropriate, but what I've tried to do lately hasn't been working too well, and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice for me.

 

1) the concept of NOW:

Everything for DS (who will be 2.5 in July) is NOW. He demands things all day, and if I say just a minute, or yes, we can do that after this, his response is "No...NOW".  He is quite persistant with it too. I don't try to bargain or reason with him, so what I usually do is repeat, consistently, what the parameters are, and when he continues with his NOW and tantrums, I ultimately stop responding to him and eventually he'll sort of give up. Just wondering if there's a better alternative?  I have a newborn so of course this could be an adjustment as well, since I'm less able to get to him when he wants to. It's a very annoying behavior, but the next one I'm more concerned about:

 

Yes! I think I have found an alternative for my 2 and 4 month old, which is to emphasize the "Yes" portion of "later".  So if the question is can we go to the park, the answer is, "Yes, we will go to the park."  Of course all toddlers know on some level that we don't teleport to the park,so they have some basic understanding that there are things that need to be done before going. So, if a "when" comes because it's taking longer than they expect, I may just say, "We are going to the park. I am feeding the baby now, will you get your shoes on so we can go to the park?"  

 

2) running away from me/tantruming/refusing/fighting me when an activity is over

When time is up, or we have to leave an area like the playground, I usually give DS a countdown- 5 more minutes, 2 more minutes, 1 more minute. No matter what, 99% of the time he fights me, or runs away, when it's time to go. Yesterday, he ran from me at the park and I was wearing my newborn in the wrap.  I tried to make it a game of "chase" in the moment so it would be less of a power-struggle.  But, when I caught up to him and picked him up, he kicked and screamed and fought me for a few seconds and ended up headbutting the baby (shes OK). Clearly I don't want that repeated.

 

I've never been a fan of making leaving a place a game. It's always made me feel kind of like a sucker. redface.gif  I also don't give a lot of count downs for toddlers. Keeping in mind that they really don't know what 5 minutes is... I usually just say, "Greg, we're leaving soon." And then when it's time to go am pretty direct with that. Now, I don't have an infant so scooping up works every time. Do you use a stroller? Maybe just a scoop up into the stroller, with maybe a snack for the walk is a good solution?  

 

Currently, he's been in the bathtub for 1.5 hours because he refuses to get out. I've given up.  Talking him out of the tub isn't working and I refuse to try to physically lift him out because I'm wearing the baby and don't need any more potential head injuries in my future. I've just been running hot water every half hour or so so he doesn't freeze, and I'm trying to enjoy a little peace.

 

Sounds like a good plan!  When I know I'm low on steam, I try really hard to say "yes". It's something I've tried to explain to my 11 year old who helps with the toddler. If you know you're just going to give in anyway, just go ahead and say yes from the start, yk?  

post #11 of 11

Ok, all the GREAT suggestions and have one more thing to add...

 

I think there is a good case to be made for consistency with toddlers. I also think the flexibility is wonderful for them too. We want them to be able to fall back on consistency but also feel there is room for their moods and desires. So, I would try for some very straightforward, consistent routines and then when the stars align make room for staying at the park when everyone's in a good mood.  And I would lay that on a bit, "You want to stay at the park longer today?  We'll, guess what? I packed a lunch and the baby is sleeping and mama is having fun too, so, 'Yes!' let's stay at the park longer, ok?"  

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