Grrrr. I'm so frustrated. I need help. I have a 4 year old ds and a 1 year old dd. Twice a week a 4 year old girl comes to be looked after for a total of 10 hours. She's a sweet girl and no trouble really. The thing is, my DS turns in to a PITA. He gets really wild, spoils her games, starts poking and throwing stuff at her. I'm trying to see the issue from his point of view and I think he's frustrated that she doesn't play with him the way he would like. She's still more into parallel play and is a little on the younger side. He's very social and wants to get into all sorts of pretend games but she's not quite there. He doesn't have the leadership skills to bring her along so he starts acting out. I try to get them set up with a good game but then I have to keep the toddler out of their hair. If I leave them to it within 5 minutes the little girl is complaining to me about him. I end up get really frustrated after multiple warning and just send him to his room. It's got to the point where I dread the days she comes. I spend all day intervening. It's exhausting. The last child that I looked after it was a dream and they played nicely for hours. Any tips?
Maybe it would help to set up more organized activities for them as opposed to free-play. I'm thinking crafts or activities such as playdough, painting, threading beads to make necklaces, gluing feathers, buttons, etc on paper, cutting pictures out of toy catalogues and making collages, etc, etc.
Or, if the little girl is good at entertaining herself, maybe bring your ds along to help you fold laundry, do dishes, sweep, etc (stuff that is actually fun at that age!), or simply get him involved in his own activity separate from her.
If he has an issue with her using "his" stuff (sharing can be so hard at this age!) maybe put away the hot-button items, and make a point of having doubles of everything, and/or partitioning out some to each (say legos, toy animals, whatever) so that they have "equal".
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010