2.5 year old destructive when tired or over-stimulated - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 08-10-2010, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
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My 2.5 year old son, when he is tired, he get really hyper and starts throwing stuff around, or will go to a surface and sweep everything off of it, or throw clothes out of a laundry basket, or pick up fragile items, like a glass on a table and throw it. A lot of times, I am not in an ideal situation to get him alone and calm, and when there are others present, saying, "no," and getting stressed about his behavior, it is like they have pushed an accelarator button on him,, and it gets truly crazy. The only thing that helps is total distraction if I can get his attention, or to get alone and calm in a room by ourselves. Any suggestions for dealing with this behavior in public, at someone else's, or even with older siblings etc at home when it is time for bed?

Bonnie, married to David, mother of Loki born 1/12/08, step-mom of Aislinn, Waldorf student born 1998, nanny, student birth doula, working PP doula, still bed-sharing, SAHM.
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#2 of 4 Old 08-10-2010, 11:27 PM
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This is probably not what you want to hear, but there is no discipline oriented response to an over tired hyper toddler. The answer is prevention, pure and simple. Once he gets to the point of hyper-exhaustion you just get him home and to bed, as fast as you possibly can. Tomorrow, try and prevent this from happening again by giving him more time for rest and sleep.

I know you cannot 100% avoid the scenario of an over tired toddler, but if it happens frequently his routine should be changed to include more and longer quiet/sleep time.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#3 of 4 Old 08-10-2010, 11:49 PM
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I highly recommend picking up a copy of Raising Your Spirited Child. My DD is exactly like your son (although her behavior isn't necessarily tied to fatigue) and that particular behavior really seemed to hit its peak at around 2.5 YO. Now at 3 she doesn't do it as much anymore, but I think so much of it was me learning to recognize the signs of impending bonkers before the tornado hits. It still happens, though, especially when I'm on the phone or distracted by DS or a visitor.

A few things I do to help calm her down:
  • Check for hunger. So often DD gets wound up if she needs a meal or a snack. Giving her something healthy to eat will often help calm things down.
  • Redirect to a quiet activity. There are many times when I tell DD it's time to read a story or work on a puzzle - and I must be actively involved in the reading or working on the puzzle. She needs my help to calm her body down. After she's a bit calmer, I sometimes try to take a moment to talk to her gently about her behavior.
  • Go outside. Sometimes, she's just got energy to burn and the only safe place to do so it outside. She can run, shriek and bounce around all she wants.
  • Avoid over-stimulating activities. It's impossible to "wear her out" the way you think you can wear out other kids. Winding her up with a super lively activity with the hope that she'll get tired out only stimulates her more and makes the tornado that much wilder. For us, this also means that DD must always be in a shopping cart when we're out. She can't handle walking through the store... it winds her up and she starts shrieking and running around.
  • Lay down for nap. If all else fails, DD needs a nap. She's in that in between stage right now so most days she doesn't need one. But if nothing else is working, then I usually try to put her down to sleep.
  • Leave. This is, of course, a last resort but we've had plenty of instances where we've had to leave restaurants, people's houses, etc. in a hurry because DD was winding up into bonkers mode.

The book was very helpful in helping me rethink my expectations and gave me some insights on how I should be reacting to my DD. So often, her wild behavior is directly tied to what she needs from me at that moment.

I hope that helps! Many hugs to you!

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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#4 of 4 Old 08-11-2010, 11:06 AM
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OP, my DS is doing the exact same things, mostly around bedtime. We're almost always at home, though, so I just have to focus his energy toward a quiet activity in a darkened room and that usually helps. If that doesn't work, I completely turn off the lights...he isn't as willing to zoom around the room when he can't see.

Originally Posted by spmamma View Post
that particular behavior really seemed to hit its peak at around 2.5 YO.
Oh, nooooooooo!

Mama to DS (7)
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