Toddler problem - tell me how you deal with the running away game! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 02-20-2009, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is a few months away from turning three. I've not been the parent I wanted to be or was for several months, as my current pregnancy made me very sick for very long (just now at 20 weeks, starting to be able to eat, not puke). I need help, I'm not a good mother of a two year old apparently. So this is my scenario that I'm having the most trouble with, and I'm reading and waiting on more books from the library, but in the meantime, I'd love to get people's input.

Let's use bedtime as an example. We actually have a fairly set schedule, just b/c DD does tend to get tired more or less at the same time every night. So at about 8, we tell her it's almost time for bedtime, and remind her/talk with her about the things we do (brush teeth, potty, get in pjs, read stories). Then 815 (or so) rolls around, we all go to the bathroom, and she'll go in with us, but then once I get out the toothbrush, she runs... anywhere in the house and if you walk after her to find her she'll giggle and run somewhere else. So I just go tell her that we all need to get ready for bed, and we need to do these 3 things before we can read stories, etc... Letting her know (hopefully) what part of the routine we're in.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we mention those things we need to do while DH and I are getting ready. But she just runs. In the end, I've ended up saying, "well it's taking so long to help you get ready for bed, that we probably will only have time for x stories instead of x+1 stories. Let me help you with getting your teeth brushed." It's still ends up to be a battle that takes a long long time. On the worst days DH and I have resorted to holding her and more forceably than we'd like, do a little (rough) teeth brushing, help her on the potty (which always goes fine, we EC'd so that's not part of the battle thankfully), then yank on some PJs or just let her sleep in undies (or whatever we manage to get on).

There are other times when I need to get her dressed (she's a nudist ), to go somewhere she WANTS to go, and still she'll run. I can't chase her, and I don't know why she's running from me! So I just wait until she comes and helps me get dressed and if we're late or miss storytime at the library, then that's what happens. But that sucks for both of us. Any suggestions? Is there something obviously cruel or causative that we're doing that I'm just too spacey to see myself?

Amy, mama to "Pumpkin" (DD1, 5/16/06) and "Squashy" (DD2, 7/10/09)
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance"- Confucius
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#2 of 13 Old 02-20-2009, 08:33 PM
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is it possible she is already tired by this point? can you try an earlier bedtime? or starting the routine earlier and letting it take more time? If you can find a way not to make it a battle then it wont be. I know that sounds like a "duh" statement but it took me a while to figure it out.

Why not just let her run? 'Oh no! we lost DD! I'll never find her, how am I going to brush her teeth before bed? Ah hah! Found you!" then brush teeth. If you can't chase her can DH chase her? My kids love to be chased, I allow it at home, and they don't do it in public. Kids like to be chased, its fun and it tells them that we care enough to come look for them when they are "missing". Try to make it more fun. Try to make it more of an adventure. You can approach it like "We are headed to the Bathroom of Mystery! Open Sesame! (to the door) get in the bathroom. make creeking sound and close door (locking yourself in) OH NO! we are locked in! there must be some magical way to get out of here? Hmmm, Maybe if we brush our teeth they will let us out. You brush my teeth, and I'll brush yours!" Check Door. It's loose, but still stuck! Hurry use the potty!... ah ha! at last we can go read out stories! we escaped! then put the pajamas on in her bed
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#3 of 13 Old 02-20-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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it sounds like your DD has some ya-yas to burn before bedtime. my DD often plays the same game, and i handle it differently depending on the situation. i can definitely understand the frustration though! i will often use logical conquences too ("well, if we don't get ready for bed now, we won't have enough time for xyz."). in general, i pick my battles. if we need to get going out of the house, i will ignore her game, say something like "we need to leave soon, and i need for you to help and get ready," and then i'll do something else i need to do before we leave. when she's not getting my attention, she will usually stop playing/hiding and come get ready to go. but if there is no particular rush or whatever, i will play with her like the PP suggested. i'm very clear as not to confuse our DD as to what kind of situation it is. but if you're feeling some resentment about this at bedtime, i think playing along may only encourage it. ignoring and clearing stating that you do not want to play right now is ok if that is how you feel. you can always say that we will play tomorrow morning or whatever, but now it's time to get ready for bed. i also want to recommend the book the secret to parenting. it is mucho helpful. good luck!

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#4 of 13 Old 02-20-2009, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've thought about the earlier thing, but honestly, 8 IS earlier, and it did solve the problem of overtired toddler, but now I think she still has plenty of energy to resist bedtime, and it takes her a long time to calm down once we do get in bed.

But it happens all the time, not just bedtime. And we do let her run, but I'm hesitant to make it into a game, b/c I cannot always play that game (she does this at least 3-4 times a day anyway, if I played along every time I'd pass out at about noon). Also, she'll do it near dangerous places too, and if I chase her then she just runs further.

We've already had a "parking lot incident" with this and she could've gotten hit by a car (but didn't) - and I lost it on her and picked her up and brought her back to the car and held her on my lap (against her will since she wanted to keep running) and told her about how not safe it is to run from me in a parking lot. She still remembers this conversation, and is now VERY careful to hold my hand or leg when we're in parking lots. Meanwhile, I still remember the afternoon of contractions that was from the running after her and picking her up (I have an irritable uterus and shouldn't be picking her up/running). I just can't risk getting once step closer to preterm labor every time she wants to play and DH isn't always around. Also, DH doesn't have any patience with her, so I can't just send DH to play with her when she wants to run. He's not as into wanting to use GD as I am.

Amy, mama to "Pumpkin" (DD1, 5/16/06) and "Squashy" (DD2, 7/10/09)
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance"- Confucius
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#5 of 13 Old 02-20-2009, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by redsfree View Post
it sounds like your DD has some ya-yas to burn before bedtime. my DD often plays the same game, and i handle it differently depending on the situation. i can definitely understand the frustration though! i will often use logical conquences too ("well, if we don't get ready for bed now, we won't have enough time for xyz."). in general, i pick my battles. if we need to get going out of the house, i will ignore her game, say something like "we need to leave soon, and i need for you to help and get ready," and then i'll do something else i need to do before we leave. when she's not getting my attention, she will usually stop playing/hiding and come get ready to go. !
This is exactly what I do - I go make some snacks or something, and try to get the process started early so we won't be late (if there's a time constraint), otherwise I just let it go and when she's ready to help me help her, then I do.

I sometimes wonder if the goal is to get my attention, since maybe she feels like she's not getting as much of me as she was (say, before I got pregnant). If that is what is up, then I agree with her, she isn't get as much mama as she used to have. BUT, 1) I can't fix the past few months (of dealing with nearly-HG), 2) she's going to have to share me with another kid in a few months, adn 3) I've been trying to get down with her more, cuddle more (I now sleep in with her so we can cuddle together when she wakes up), we have her back in our bed, rather than a bed next to ours, etc. I could use some other suggestions on that front though.

Amy, mama to "Pumpkin" (DD1, 5/16/06) and "Squashy" (DD2, 7/10/09)
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance"- Confucius
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#6 of 13 Old 02-20-2009, 09:19 PM
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we use the chase game as a teaching opportunity.

I chase them and catch them and say "I missed you, so I came after you! but this would be a dangerous game to play away from home. we can play here though"

I understand your hesitation to get playful. When I first read playful parenting I was hesitant to try some of the techniques - but they have been SO helpful. I find when I dont make it a power struggle, its not a power struggle. and not because I am "letting" them do something, but because they loose the feeling of needing to do it.

Example: you cant run when I try to get you dressed. (DC runs every morning)
ME saying Jokingly: you better not run!! or I'll get you!!
I chase him ONCE the need is met we are able to get fully dressed without him fighting to get away from me.
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#7 of 13 Old 02-20-2009, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah ha. Yes, Playful Parenting is on hold at the library. DH and I do tend to be the goofy, playful parents when we have the time and energy. Though that used to be the great majority of the time, since I've gotten pregnant, it's probably the minority of the time. Hopefully Playful Parenting will inspire us again to pick it back up and start really using it well to teach her, since that sorta goofy stuff often tends to be our default. I think this is why all of her 18mths-24 mths time and 24 mths until last fall (say, about 29 mths) was really pleasant. Sure there were tantrums and the like, but honestly, we seemed to be having more fun then than we do now, and I think it's likely just the way we are approaching the situations.

Amy, mama to "Pumpkin" (DD1, 5/16/06) and "Squashy" (DD2, 7/10/09)
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance"- Confucius
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#8 of 13 Old 02-20-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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I also try to be playful with DS about it. I've recently been feeling like DS HAD to learn yada yada yada...but honestly when I approach the situation not caring what the behaviouralist consequence ought to be and just do what we can to comprimise the situations are often difused (and much more energy is saved!)

I just started reading Unconditional Parenting again and I really like one of the very first ideas presented in the book (it's inspiring already!) which is to consider long term goals and wishes for your child and who you want them to be as a person. Don't worry about compliance, if things don't get done exactly as asked or planned, let the world continue to spin. Think of what the experience is like from the child's perspective and have lots of discussion and brainstorming with them before or after the fact (not in the heat of the moment).

Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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#9 of 13 Old 02-21-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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DD does the chase game at times and Ill play right back as long as we are at home. One of the best ways to get her to do what I want her too is to act like I want her to chase me. Ill tell her to come find me then hide in whatever room I want her in. She gets a giggle out of chasing me and I get her to do what I need her to do at that moment.

I use to worry that she would run away in the parking lot but shes actually been pretty good. I do find ways to make getting around fun for her. Like lets see who can get to x first and then act like Im running when really Im right beside her just in case she sees something to chase. When DH is home I tell her shes racing her baby sister to her carseat so shes always willing to hold my hand and walk next to me so she can get there. Shes only 25 months though so we will see how she is when she gets older.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#10 of 13 Old 02-21-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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there was a time when my son would run into streets and parking lots and away from the playground. And he was fast. I was never playful about that sort of running away because in my opinion there is nothing funny or fun about life-threatening situations.

I used immediate "natural consequences" to deal with it- we packed up and left immediately, he had to be strapped into the stroller or hold my hand firmly the entire way home. I used to get mad about it though I tried not to, but honestly it was scary. I explained that it was dangerous and that if he couldn't listen to my voice then we couldn't play outside right then.

Usually it was when he was tired or overstimulated, actually, and it WAS time to go home.

When he wasn't in a running away mood we talked a lot about what was safe, where he could run to. Then we got where he would practice his impulse control with planned out runnings-away (you run ahead to that tree, or the fire hydrant, whatever). So, that helped when he was feeling "runny", we would agree on a distance he could run ahead to. When he was with friends, all bets were off though, the joy of breaking the rules was too much to resist with certain friends.

Anyway now he's 4 and I've seen him rush and stop younger kids from stepping off the curb, etc. He takes it all very seriously now and is very conscious of where he can and cannot go on his own. They do grow out of this stuff (to some extent anyway).

The running around at home... I agree you can be honest with your child about how you are feeling and whether its playtime or time to get ready. If I'm tired or out of sorts it can really get on my nerves! Good luck. Seems like parents here have lots of good ideas of things to try.

dissertating mom to three

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#11 of 13 Old 02-21-2009, 04:52 PM
 
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All I can say is I am so thankful to read this post. Your description of your daughter running is SO like my daughter (except my dd is 27 months). She runs and says "NO!" to getting a diaper changed, getting clothes on, ..and often times in parking lots recently which is VERY scary to me. I have had to grab her kicking and screaming in parking lots while I had to force her into her car seat a few times just so that she would be safe- I cannot risk her being hurt by a vehicle- but at the same time I hate to force her and see her meltdown over it. UGH!
At home I have started making a game of it sometimes, but in the end I can only play for so long and when it is time to actually do whatever it is (put on clothes, or pj's , etc..) she still throws a fit.
One thing has helped with teethbrushing for us- singing a song we made up about it. She loves the song so much that she has no problem holding my hand and marching to the beat as we walk to the bathroom to brush our teeth! I am thinking I might do the same for putting on PJ's (and getting dressed in the morning too) Hey, if it works it would be great!

thanks again for posting..i will continue to check back and see what others post for suggestions too
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#12 of 13 Old 02-21-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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This is exactly what I do - I go make some snacks or something, and try to get the process started early so we won't be late (if there's a time constraint), otherwise I just let it go and when she's ready to help me help her, then I do.

I sometimes wonder if the goal is to get my attention, since maybe she feels like she's not getting as much of me as she was (say, before I got pregnant). If that is what is up, then I agree with her, she isn't get as much mama as she used to have. BUT, 1) I can't fix the past few months (of dealing with nearly-HG), 2) she's going to have to share me with another kid in a few months, adn 3) I've been trying to get down with her more, cuddle more (I now sleep in with her so we can cuddle together when she wakes up), we have her back in our bed, rather than a bed next to ours, etc. I could use some other suggestions on that front though.
vortexing, it sounds like you are really trying to give your DD attention. please don't beat yourself up for recent changes. i definitely have my days of low parenting energy, and i'm not even pregnant. i wish i had more suggestions for you concerning attention, but it sounds like you're already trying a lot of different things. i read somewhere (it might be from playful parenting) that if you can give your DD at least 20 minutes daily down of the floor with her leading the play, it can work wonders. maybe if both you and your DH commit to doing this daily, it might help. i know it works for us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post
there was a time when my son would run into streets and parking lots and away from the playground. And he was fast. I was never playful about that sort of running away because in my opinion there is nothing funny or fun about life-threatening situations.

I used immediate "natural consequences" to deal with it- we packed up and left immediately, he had to be strapped into the stroller or hold my hand firmly the entire way home. I used to get mad about it though I tried not to, but honestly it was scary. I explained that it was dangerous and that if he couldn't listen to my voice then we couldn't play outside right then.
: when it comes to safety, we also don't mess around. i hate the times i have to hold DD's hand tightly in a parking lot, but it has to be done. she may be upset with me about it, but i'm very clear and calm about explaining the situation to her.

dd 10.06joy.gif
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#13 of 13 Old 02-22-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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Some kids "wind up" at bedtime while others wind down. My ds was the first, my dd the latter. Just develop a smooth routine and tackle her a team. A little more exercise for her after dinner might help as well.
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