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5yo crying in frustration while playing with legos

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My oldest used to cry whenever he played with transformers so we blocked those from our house for a number of years.  I can't block legos, nor would I want to.  But when he cries while playing it can upset other people in the house when he is howling or screaming and if the 2yo or anyone approaches him he lashes out.  I don't accept the lashing out, so I want him to stay calm when he is playing and not escalate to that level.  So if he starts to cry while playing I tell him that if he doesn't stop crying and settle down he can't play legos.  This is not really a discipline thing, but more behavioral, in my mind, curbing or extinguishing behavior that causes him stress.  Helping him see that there *is* an alternative task he could do that would be less frustrating and then he can return to his lego project after he calms down.  
What are your thoughts to children crying while playing?

post #2 of 6

I can relate.  My daughter has never been one to tolerate frustration.  Not many things are difficult for her, so when something is hard or she's just not there yet developmentally...oh, the tears!  All I can tell you is that she's now seven and things have improved tremendously.


When she was younger, I'd try to get her attention, coach her to take some deep breaths, and if necessary insist she walk away and do something else till she could calm down and come back to whatever she was working on.  I don't know that it helped her, but it made me feel better :o

post #3 of 6

He might be a little young to do them properly? I find some bit hard to get apart, etc, so how would a 5-year-old feel who doesn't have the fine motorics yet? 


Is it possible to stick to Duplo right now?

post #4 of 6
I second the idea that he might not be ready. I gave my son his first lego set at age 7, and he was not able to complete it without help. It took practice for him to get to where he could follow the pictoral directions, and some pieces really require a certain level of motor control to be able to connect them without them breaking apart.

He used to scream in frustration when he couldn't make his piece look like the picture. But he has a determined personality that makes him not want to give up once he has started something. Now legos are his favorite toy and he's quite good at it. smile.gif But like everything else, they have to be developmentally ready for it.
post #5 of 6

I don't see why you can't put them away and take them out later when he's a bit older. Otherwise your options are to help him whenever he plays legos, or to just let him cry while playing. My 4.5 year old has a more mellow personality- she doesn't cry when frustrated, she just gives up. My 2.5 year old is the one who cries though- she is better at doing these things than her older sister, but when she can't do something she does have a little breakdown. I usually wait it out though, because she often calms herself down and eventually figures out whatever was eluding her. If she doesn't, she will come and ask for help (she never gives up completely). If it gets to the point where eardrums are shattering I do step in and ask if she would like some help, or maybe offer another toy. She has played with legos occasionally at other people's houses but I won't buy them yet because they are too hard to put together and pull apart for little fingers- we have other building toys that are easier for little hands, and don't come with pre-fab sets (I hate those things- though I recognize some people love doing them).

post #6 of 6

I third or fourth the idea that he doesn't sound quite developmentally ready for little legos. My son needed and wanted help with them from age 4-6. Even after that, he preferred doing legos with someone. So legos were just something we did together, or something Daddy did with him.

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