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Unreasonable? Alternatives?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Is it unreasonable of me to lock my son out of the family bedroom as a consequence of frequently refusing to respect nap time for his younger sister? I lay down to nurse her, and he is always welcome to join if he's willing to be still and quiet. Sometimes- not always- he is just firmly unwilling to respect our need for calm and quiet. I ask nicely- like a broken record, I start getting frustrated and explain that some of his fun time/privileges will not be possible if those who need rest aren't able to, and finally I start feeling super mad. At this point I need to be able to not hurt him or yell while he is actively invading our personal space and Quiet. I can take away toys/privileges til I'm blue in the face, but I don't like that and it doesn't help anything. What else is there? I offer to let him play quietly in another room, but he refuses to be left alone. Usually, the times he puts up the worst "fight" is when he passes out hard and long after, so he obviously needs it.

SO... I have learned to do all I can to keep that fine balance of not letting him get too overtired to wind down and keeping him properly active. We almost always do something active before lunch/nap time so he'll be ready to relax. But in those occasional instances that nothing else works, I either threaten to lock him out, or physically do so, in order to shorten the ordeal and make it very clear how unacceptable it is to rob others of their needed sleep. I feel okay with it, and he seems to get it. But there's still something off about locking a child into isolation. By the way, I try to do this in a calm way, not out of anger. I always say I will unlock it and join him as soon as she's asleep.
post #2 of 13

How old is he?  Do you feel pretty confident that he is safe on his own and won't get into anything dangerous?  If so, I think this is okay.  Of course it isn't ideal, but it sounds like you have tried just about everything else and you are explaining clearly why you are locking him out and when you will come back to him.


I find that the "broken record" feeling that leads to my being super mad is a really bad thing for me and accomplishes nothing good for my son.  Even since he was a toddler, it's always worked better when I tell him nicely, then tell him quite firmly, then go ahead with the consequence without any more warnings.  If I do it this way he'll generally cooperate with the discipline more readily and seems to understand it better, than if I gave a lot of warnings that seemed to lead nowhere and then I got so mad that my tone hurt his feelings.


One other thing you might try is giving a positive consequence for the times when he IS still and quiet.  When my son was 7, we were fed up with his toys being strewn around, so we picked them up into a Treasure Chest (just a labeled box) and explained that when he had a whole day with good behavior, he could choose a Treasure.  His difficult behaviors at the time were being defiant and nasty practically every time his dad or I spoke to him.  Trying to earn a reward really helped him to be more aware of how he sounded and to work on doing better.  We only had to keep it up for about two months--and it solved the problem of scattered toys, too!

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
He is almost 5, and I do feel pretty ok about safety. Sometimes he'll go look at books, and others he will throw a bigger fit. So, yeah, not ideal. Luckily, I pretty much never have to actually lock the door. I do the same if he is being wildly violent. Again, very rare, but that is a safety issue.

I know "time ins" would help, but they aren't always a feasible option with a 1.5 year old on me, kwim.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
And yes to the positive consequences! I'll try to verbally highlight some of the things that he can do since nap went smoothly and we're all well rested. Lots of his favorite things- drumming, skating and swimming all hinge on everyone being rested and alert for safety of our bodies and equipment. I will definitely point that out more often. smile.gif
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm back at this issue again. More help? Today I put kids down to nap (nursing dd with DS lying down with us) and DS went on being loud and thrashing about the bed, despite my requests for him to leave and go play quietly if he won't nap. He still refuses to go off on his own. After 30 minutes of trying to get dd to sleep, I tookhimfrom the room and told him to leave us alone so I could get her to sleep. He kept coming in, so I said to please stay out, then locked him out of bedroom. OF COURSE this resulted in him screaming and trying to kick down the door. I let him in after 5 minutes with his promise to be still and quiet. He did not. I told him I was going to pack away his favorite toy set, since DD couldn't sleep. I told him he could earn it back after 3 successful naptime routines.

I still don't feel good about the locking out, since it makes things worse. I'm okay with taking the toy to reinforce this message of needing to let dd sleep.

Any suggestions for how to do things differently? I'm stumped.
post #6 of 13
Im thinking that you did just fine. You followed through on natural consequences, but you're right, it's not working. Seems your guy is a bit persistent like my DS who just turned 5 as well. I usually don't let my boys have much screen time. We have no cable in our home, but we occasionally use Netflix for situations like this. Is there any way you could let him watch a 20 minute episode while you put the baby down? Sometimes its the only thing that works (for us) and it removes the power struggle from the equation. Not saying that this is a good approach all the time, but for this particular issue it might do the trick. Totally worth it in my opinion because your little girl doesn't deserve to have a stressful naptime.
post #7 of 13

What was he doing before you took the youngest off for a nap?


Mine still (at 8 & 6) find "go and play" to be a difficult thing to do, they are a lot better if I get them set up doing something first, then I go off to do what I need to do. Maybe thinking of a couple of quiet toys which are just out when you need to be with the youngest might help. As a PP mentioned I have often put on a DVD in this sort of situation, audio books work well with my kids too.


I have to admit my youngest spent most of his naps in the pram, I'd take both kids out for a walk and he'd usually nod off while DD was happy wandering round the neighbour hood.

post #8 of 13

Giving out consequences is all about consistency, and firmness. I agree that one comment, then a warning should be all you do before doling out consequences. If the toy consequence isn't enough, then up the ante a little bit. Also, it's important to remember when giving the warning/consequence that they WILL likely disobey you, and that's OK. In the long term if the consequence is appropriate to the child they will learn to do as you ask for the most part, but it may take a few tries before things really sink in.


Also, I find focusing on what I want my kids to do, rather than telling them what not to do, helps. I don't know specifically how you are speaking to him, so this may be irrelevant to you. However, I find "Please be quiet." or "Please stop kicking and banging." to help. The please is only important because I use it all the time, so don't use it if it's not a regular part of your vocabulary. You could also try, "I'd like you to be quiet." Next comes "If you don't quiet down, X will be the result." Sometimes I have to follow up calmly with "Are you listening to me?" or "Did you hear what I said?" so I can be sure they are present, and paying attention to me.


I also agree that TV time might not be a bad idea if all else fails. I know some disagree with it, and I respect that.


Alternately, you could offer a fun activity to do with him once the little one is down and asleep. That means if he makes too much noise and commotion for her to sleep you won't be able to do that activity with him. It puts some of the responsibility on him helping you get her down to sleep. It doesn't help for when you feel he needs the sleep, but will at least get your youngest the sleep she needs.

post #9 of 13

I like the suggestion above - getting him involved in something before you start with the younger kid or having the younger kid take a nap in a pram while you walk

Out of the moment when you have a connection , you could try and problem solve starting with understanding his concerns, then sharing yours and then trying to brainstorm a mutually satisfying solution that is realistic, and doable . Consistency with consequences does not solve underlying problems, just makes a kid more angry and defiant. It is not easy 

post #10 of 13

I have experienced many of your frustrations having a 4 yer old and a 1 year old. What works for us, is Sparkle Stories. My daughter loves them and I save them for the time I am putting my son down for a nap. The stories are about 20 minutes long and are the most amazing stories out there. She now looks forward to this time when I get him down for a nap. I pay $7 a month to get one new story each week. You can also find many free stories on their blog. We don't have televison so this is what works for us. I would say it works 85% of the time. Good luck to you.

post #11 of 13

I have a thought...


By 5 he should be able to understand that this is a problem and deep down really dislike it himself. I may consider embracing the door locking thing but remove the punishment aspect. When you and he are in a good space (one nice evening), maybe try to talk about it. Tell him that you noticed that locking the door sometimes helps him "get it".  


Ask him if he thinks it would help him if you found him an activity and then you and the baby go in the bedroom and lock the door until the baby is asleep. Tell him this is to help remind him not to come in and make a lot of noise.


Maybe use this experience to teach him some self-protection skills. Maybe teach him how to use the phone if he needs to call someone while you're locked in the room. Teach him about opening the door to strangers. These are good skills and the new sense of responsibility may help him take ownership of this plan. 


Or, give him a fun chore, or teach him make a sandwich. Maybe even teach him to tell time and develop a cool code where he slips a red square under the door if it's been a half hour and you still aren't out yet. Or a green card is if there is a loud noise but everything is OK. Something that makes him feel like the door locking is a symbol of his being a bit older, trustworthy, and independent. Because, if you can lock the door - he is those things! 


I see a lot of opportunities for this age in this situation where locking the door seems a good plan. 

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
IdentityCriaisMama- that advice was perfect. I barely changed a thing about our routine leading up to nap, except the wording when going to bed. Now I say "dd and I are going to bed for a nap and need to make sure we aren't interrupted. I am locking the door while I get her to sleep. Would you like to join us? It has been100% effective and not at all tense.

I notice the nap issues also tend to coincide with my monthly cycle, so I plan to keep that in mind each day to avoid lots of negative interactions and reactions around that time.

Thank you!!!
post #13 of 13
Brilliant idea, identitycrisismama! Just another thought. . .if you are feeling uncomfortable actually locking the door, maybe you can have him make a special "baby napping" sign to hang on the door as a reminder.
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