I don't know how to parent my 3yo. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Or at least, that's how I feel.  I'm looking to various approaches to these issues.  I'm also very interested in the Radical Unschooling approach to these issues, so I'm probably going to cross post over in the Unschooling subforum.  I usually adopt a natural consequences approach to things.

 

My DD can be really sweet.  I have for a long time attempted to convince myself that she was a typical 1yo/2yo/3yo.  I however am confident that she has some sensory issues.  She's currently eating like four teenage boys, and we're getting that looked into as well.  I'm just really at a loss about how to deal with some of her isses.  Here they are:

 

-Cleaning up her messes.  I think I model pretty good housekeeping for her.  Our living space is open and she has a little "nook" behind the couch (well, really a 6x6ish area) and a rug for her toys.  Everything is easily organized.  She has baskets for her stuff, hooks to hang things, shelves on her kitchen for the play kitchen stuff.  Although she usually centers her play around her play area, it somehow spaces out and there are blocks and cars and play tomatoes everywhere.  I don't really care about this while she's playing, but once she's done, wants to go to bed, wants to eat, go out, etc, the mess remains.  I don't care about the unsighltiness of it, I really am concerned about tripping over it, my DH tripping over it, and more importantly, my 1yo tripping over it.  We all have.  We have stone floors placed over a concrete slab, so falling is no picnic here.  My 3yo trips less frequently (and she's the most clumsy out of all of us) so it's hard to make that "click" in her head.  She really doesn't get that toys all over the floor=someone could trip and fall.  Any advice?  She just refuses to pick up her stuff and actually tells me "you do it".  I guess I should, since I'm the one taking issue with it.  I do help her if she asks, but it doesn't sit well with me when she demands that I clean up the mess that she made.  Idk.  Maybe it's really petty.  I clean up her food messes, etc.  I really don't know.

 

-Chewing with her mouth closed.  She will refuse to do it, and actually chew LOUDER.  It's a huge pet peeve of mine, and this morning while she was eating and I was nursing the baby I got the words creepy crawly feeling.  It took everything I had not to scream and run down the block.  When can I expect her to do this?

 

-Inside/outside voice.  I cannot concentrate on whatever when she's SCREAMING in my ear, just having a normal conversation.  Nothing gets done when I can't concentrate- it's my own flaw, but I'd like for her to work with me on it.  I think that's fair.  Any ideas?

 

-Running inside of the house.  As I mentioned, we have stone floors.  She's very clumsy.  She does trip on her stuff when she runs.  She just runs back and forth, she could do it all day.  She always falls and gets hurt and it ends up being a huge deal and then she gets back up and keeps running.  I guess I shouldn't mind if she doesn't mind getting hurt, but she trips over her sister, runs over her sister and hurts her, breaks things when she falls on top of them, etc. 

 

-Allowing her sister to play.  She just won't and I feel so bad.  I often have to separate them and take a toy for my 1yo to play with because my 3yo refuses to let her play with "her toys".  My 3yo snatches toys from her sister and pushes her out of the way (often hurting and scaring my 1yo).  All of the toys we have are age appropriate for both of them (most of our toys are "waldorf" toys and could really be anything and everything.  Nothing chokeable either).  She has toys that are "hers" and those I'm fine with her not sharing, after all, I'd like her to have ownership over some stuff, kwim?  But if she's playing with blocks and her sister wants to sit in front of the play kitchen and open and close the cabinets, her sister should be free to do that, kwim?  The only time she will "play" with her sister is when she wants to involve her in her play (because she NEEDS someone to be involved).  This is usually when she makes a big pot of "soup".  She gives us each a bowl of soup.  Other than that, she plays very independently and just doesn't want to be bothered.

 

I think there are some more issues but for right now that's all I can think of.  I have my 1yo on the couch with me and when I was typing this up, about halfway through, my 3yo came and snatched a toy that my 1yo was playing with over here and the 1yo got upset and headbutted me in the ribs.  OUCH.

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#2 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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That sounds just like a three year old I know too. I have no personal advice.. just thought you'd appreciate knowing you're not alone.

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#3 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 09:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

 

-Chewing with her mouth closed.  She will refuse to do it, and actually chew LOUDER.  It's a huge pet peeve of mine, and this morning while she was eating and I was nursing the baby I got the words creepy crawly feeling.  It took everything I had not to scream and run down the block.  When can I expect her to do this?

 

That is also a huge pet peeve of mine too.  I KNOW that a three year old can learn this.  It drives me batty.  Fortunately, I don't run across it too often with my daycare kids.  It's one of those things I literally can't handle.  That, and gum chewing... and gum snapping (why would anybody do that in public??) And, loud shoes...... Seriously.. I could go on.  I have no ideas, but I SO understand that emotion.
 

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#4 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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Well, I think most of this stuff is pretty normal. My DS is almost 4 and talks SO loudly, makes messes with toys, runs all over & jumps on the couch. I also have a hard time accomplishing things then he is being really loud. I'm sorry you're having a hard time. As for tripping over the toys, you could limit the number available at any given time. I keep blocks & other stuff on a shelf in the closet. DS can have them only when his other things are put away. Then we don't have *everything* all over at once. (he still manages to make some pretty huge messes though)

 

I think it's good to have toys that are exclusively hers, but taking shared toys and shoving are not something that I'd be ok with. Maybe you could put toys on "time out" if she can't share them and tell her that she can have them back when she is ready to play nicely. Probably when little sister is a little bigger and can interact more in the play she'll enjoy sharing more. I hope this helps & good luck!


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#5 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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All of that is typical 3 year old behavior.  Even the increased appetite - kids eat a lot when they are growing.

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#6 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lasciate View Post

All of that is typical 3 year old behavior.  Even the increased appetite - kids eat a lot when they are growing.



 

 Thanks.  What can we do it make it easier on us?  

 

I disagree with the appetite... please read the thread. 


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#7 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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I'm on my 4th 3 year old, and I agree that this all sounds pretty typical.  Even more so if she may have SPD (I have one who is pretty sensory seeking - it's a bit better now that he's 5, but not by much). 

 

I'm not sure about the food thing - I've read your other thread, and part of me thinks it's normal for a growth spurt (kids can, at times, eat like 3 times an average adult - and it really does feel like they eat all. day. long. w/o being satisfied), but part of me isn't sure if there's more to it, and I think it's great that you are going to talk to a ped about your concerns.

 

Otherwise, welcome to the wonderful world of a 3-year-old.  It is tons more challenging than age 2... and it doesn't seem to get much easier until age 5, IME.   

 

 I realize I didn't offer you any suggestions on how to parent a 3-yr-old.  I hope you get some helpful advice.  I would just say consistency and clear limits helps - but still, at 3, there's often no reasoning or way to reach them... like if they are having a fit b/c you served their oatmeal in the 'wrong' bowl and can't be calmed.  It will pass, eventually (and then there are plenty of other challenges to stress you out).  Parenting is hard.  That's all I've got.


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#8 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 02:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

Or at least, that's how I feel.  I'm looking to various approaches to these issues.  I'm also very interested in the Radical Unschooling approach to these issues, so I'm probably going to cross post over in the Unschooling subforum.  I usually adopt a natural consequences approach to things.

 

My DD can be really sweet.  I have for a long time attempted to convince myself that she was a typical 1yo/2yo/3yo.  I however am confident that she has some sensory issues.  She's currently eating like four teenage boys, and we're getting that looked into as well.  I'm just really at a loss about how to deal with some of her isses.  Here they are:

 

-Cleaning up her messes.  I think I model pretty good housekeeping for her.  Our living space is open and she has a little "nook" behind the couch (well, really a 6x6ish area) and a rug for her toys.  Everything is easily organized.  She has baskets for her stuff, hooks to hang things, shelves on her kitchen for the play kitchen stuff.  Although she usually centers her play around her play area, it somehow spaces out and there are blocks and cars and play tomatoes everywhere.  I don't really care about this while she's playing, but once she's done, wants to go to bed, wants to eat, go out, etc, the mess remains.  I don't care about the unsighltiness of it, I really am concerned about tripping over it, my DH tripping over it, and more importantly, my 1yo tripping over it.  We all have.  We have stone floors placed over a concrete slab, so falling is no picnic here.  My 3yo trips less frequently (and she's the most clumsy out of all of us) so it's hard to make that "click" in her head.  She really doesn't get that toys all over the floor=someone could trip and fall.  Any advice?  She just refuses to pick up her stuff and actually tells me "you do it".  I guess I should, since I'm the one taking issue with it.  I do help her if she asks, but it doesn't sit well with me when she demands that I clean up the mess that she made.  Idk.  Maybe it's really petty.  I clean up her food messes, etc.  I really don't know.

 

If she refuses to clean up, we usually just take the child by the hand from one item to the next and say, "this needs to go in the toy bin, this needs to go in the block bin etc etc"  until the mess is all cleaned up.  We do NOT clean up after our children.  At 7, the age our dd is, we will clean up after her, but we put all her toys into a bin that we keep, she has to earn them back.  Same with the older boys, but it's not really an issue with them.  We are trying to build ds 2 into that as well, but he's only 4 and it is a bit too much for him to understand right now.

 

-Chewing with her mouth closed.  She will refuse to do it, and actually chew LOUDER.  It's a huge pet peeve of mine, and this morning while she was eating and I was nursing the baby I got the words creepy crawly feeling.  It took everything I had not to scream and run down the block.  When can I expect her to do this?

 

This is normal.  You can try to remind them, but honestly, how can you stop them from doing it.  You can't, they know you can't so don't fight it, just ignore it for now and try again when she's older.  Alot depends on the child, I have 2 that could at 3, and 2 that couldn't.  Just depends.

 

-Inside/outside voice.  I cannot concentrate on whatever when she's SCREAMING in my ear, just having a normal conversation.  Nothing gets done when I can't concentrate- it's my own flaw, but I'd like for her to work with me on it.  I think that's fair.  Any ideas?

 

Repetition, repeitition, repetition.  Just keep reminding her that inside we use an inside voice.  This is normal for the age and not something to really be concerned about.  DD is 7 and still has to be reminded regularly.

 

-Running inside of the house.  As I mentioned, we have stone floors.  She's very clumsy.  She does trip on her stuff when she runs.  She just runs back and forth, she could do it all day.  She always falls and gets hurt and it ends up being a huge deal and then she gets back up and keeps running.  I guess I shouldn't mind if she doesn't mind getting hurt, but she trips over her sister, runs over her sister and hurts her, breaks things when she falls on top of them, etc. 

 

A couple things here, she doesn't "always" fall, and I point that out for a reason, if you have it in your mind that you address her as, "you always fall" or "you're going to fall" then every time she doesn't fall, she is proving you wrong, undermining your own efforts.  So, basically, when she is running, just go up to her, take her arm and say, "no running in the house, if you want to run you may go into the yard".

 

-Allowing her sister to play.  She just won't and I feel so bad.  I often have to separate them and take a toy for my 1yo to play with because my 3yo refuses to let her play with "her toys".  My 3yo snatches toys from her sister and pushes her out of the way (often hurting and scaring my 1yo).  All of the toys we have are age appropriate for both of them (most of our toys are "waldorf" toys and could really be anything and everything.  Nothing chokeable either).  She has toys that are "hers" and those I'm fine with her not sharing, after all, I'd like her to have ownership over some stuff, kwim?  But if she's playing with blocks and her sister wants to sit in front of the play kitchen and open and close the cabinets, her sister should be free to do that, kwim?  The only time she will "play" with her sister is when she wants to involve her in her play (because she NEEDS someone to be involved).  This is usually when she makes a big pot of "soup".  She gives us each a bowl of soup.  Other than that, she plays very independently and just doesn't want to be bothered.

 

If you try to force siblings to play it just causes more problems, so don't fight this one.  now, as for taking toys, just go to her, take her by the hand and say, "you need to give that toy back to Sissy".  Make sure she knows which toys are hers and which toys are her sister's (sister deserves her own toys that she doesn't have to share too) and which are joint toys.  This way when she says that a toy is "hers" when it is actually a joint toy, you can tell her, "nope that one is everyone's toy, Sissy can play with that toy too."  and if she takes one of Sissy's toys, "oops, that is one of Sissy's toys please put it back".  She will learn to respect that her sister has belongings as well that need to be respected. 

 

I think there are some more issues but for right now that's all I can think of.  I have my 1yo on the couch with me and when I was typing this up, about halfway through, my 3yo came and snatched a toy that my 1yo was playing with over here and the 1yo got upset and headbutted me in the ribs.  OUCH.

 

I hope some of these suggestions help.  Most everything you mentioned is normal for her age, but you do need to set some boundaries.  Good luck.

-




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#9 of 11 Old 01-17-2011, 08:14 PM
 
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I haven't read the eating thread so I'm not commenting on that, but everything else just sounds like 3yo stuff.  In fact I honestly thought that ALL 3yos exhibited those behaviours (maybe minus the chewing with the mouth open - I'm lucky my 2 don't do that). 

 

1. Cleaning up:  I know some kids this age go along with "clean up time".  Mine NEVER have.  I've heard (and followed) advice to sing a fun clean up song, make cleaning up into a game, always clean up at the same time so it's just part of the routine (like before bath time or whatever), make a rule that you clean up the toys you just finished using before bringing out new ones (like clean up the blocks before we bring out the dress-up clothes).  Anyway, none of that worked for me... but maybe it will for you! (fingers crossed).  What I do is a) do a lot of the tidying up myself (I know... I know...), and b) never try to get them to tackle huge messes, but always either have them pick up stuff BEFORE the mess gets out of hand or have them just pick up specific things (ex. in a floor strewn with toys I'll get dc to find all the blocks and put them all away, when those are done I'll either pat myself on the back for at least managing that much, lol, or maybe even try to get them to tackle something else!).  The good news is, while it was next to impossible to get 3yo dd to do any tidying up, now that she is 6yo it has gotten a lot better.  I can actually send her into her (albeit small) room and say "clean your room" and she'll do a half-way decent job.

 

2. Chewing.  If that behaviour bothered me that much I'd be tempted to put it in the "this behaviour is not ok to do around other people" category.  A comparable behaviour in our house might be yelling and screaming.  If one of the dc wants to scream and yell they need to go do it in their room.  If they want to stay downstairs with the rest of us then they have to act in a way that is appropriate when around other people (ie. quietening down!).  So dd is chewing with mouth wide open... horrible noises... I'd give a reminder "please chew with your mouth closed dd".  No change.  "Dd, it is not ok to make that noise around us, if you don't choose to stop you'll have to go to your room/excuse yourself from the table/<insert whatever works for you> until you're ready to try again".

 

3. Running inside.  If she's running where you don't want her to run then send her to someplace where she is allowed to run (outside, different part of the house, decide to take a walk outside, etc), and/or try to set up some other physical outlets in the house for when it's not practical for her (or you all) to go outside.  I'm thinking mini trampoline, maybe jumping on the bed if that's ok in your house, somersaulting on a yoga mat, dancing to crazy music, whatever you can think of.  You also might want to make sure that she always wears slippers with a grippy sole or socks with that grippy stuff on the bottom to help prevent slipping for those times that the impulse control isn't there and she does end up running on that floor.

 

4. Sharing toys.  This is a big issue in my house and something we've been working on for years and is still a work in progress.  In our house the "special" toys are kept in that child's room and EVERYTHING in the main room (living room) is for everyone to play with.  Both siblings and any friends who come over.  My dd (older sib) sounds a lot like your dd and has a lot of trouble with sharing with her brother.  Now that she is 6 it is way way better, but definitely during that time when ds entered his toddlerhood (around the age your younger dd is now) and dd was around 4 it was a struggle.  I just remained very firm that the toys were for everyone.  I never let her "get away" with grabbing a toy out of her brothers hand.  I would always ask her to give it back.  I also gave her words to use instead of grabbing.  "May I please take a turn with the xyz".  We always refer to it as "taking a turn" as opposed to sharing ("ds is taking his turn with the whatever.  You'll have your turn when he's done.  Here, would you like to play with the whateverelse?").  We also have doubles or multiples of most kind of toys.  If dd is playing with a toy animal I can probably rustle up one of the same kind of animals for ds.  If ds is playing with a small bouncy ball there's another one in the bin for dd.  That kind of thing.  Mostly it takes repetition, repetition, repetition, and, esp when they're still so young, you need to be pretty watchful of what's going on between them so you can step in and intervene when needed.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about them not playing together.  Both are still very young.  Your dd1 will probably become more interested in playing with dd2 in another 6 months to a year.  At least that's how it played out at our house.  A 1yo is still pretty much a baby, and is not really developmentally able to "play with" another child yet.  You can encourage your dd1 to include dd2 (like when she's making soup), and try to enlist dd1's help in entertaining dd2 if she's amenable, but I wouldn't push it.  It will come with time.


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#10 of 11 Old 01-18-2011, 05:50 AM
 
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For cleaning, at 3 she won't be able to hear "clean up this mess" and figure out how to do it.  First, if it's a big mess you'll probably have to help her.  Second, she'll need very specific instructions, as in "put the toy cars in this box."  And after she does that, "Put the blocks in this bag."  Etc.  How specific and how much help you need to give will depend on her temperament and development level, and whether she's a young 3 or an older 3.  I'd try to keep a positive attitude about cleaning with her as she'll pick up on how awful a task it is by how you approach it, and also I'd try to think of it as getting her in the habit of cleaning up instead of making her clean up, as looking at it from that angle makes it easier.  And if she gets used to her space being clean, eventually (and I mean like it takes a couple of years or more) she'll be more likely to get used to that and want to keep it that way.  But you have to get her used to having it clean.

 

Chewing with her mouth closed - just gently remind her every single time.  It takes repeition, but she will get it eventually if you remind her.  I'd make it gentle and light hearted or it can turn into a power struggle, as 3-year-olds LOVE power struggles, and then she'll always chew with her mouth open just to show she's in control of her mouth.

 

Same with inside-outside voice.  Repetition.  "Please use your inside voice, honey."  Over and over again.  It does take a long time.  Actually, same thing with running.  Once they're in the habit of running or yelling inside, you have to get them into a different habit, which takes very very consistent reminders over a period of time.  You have to break the habit and get a new habit going, and the only way is to get them used to doing something else, which means very consistent reminders.

 

Not wanting to share is common for toddlers.  All you can do is remind her to share and take turns.  She's going to get to an age where she'll get it soon if she's 3.  Is she a young 3?  It seems like she should be within a few months or so of getting out of the "play apart" and getting into the "play together" phase.  This is somewhat a developmental thing and it'll be on you to run interference for a while, but probably not long.  I'd just remind her to share and if she snatches something give it back.  Don't get upset, just be matter of fact.  "This is a sharing house.  We share with each other."  She'll catch on soon.  Also, try to give her plenty of one-on-one attention when you can to limit jealousy as sibling jealousy will greatly complicate this issue.

 

All of these things require consistent reminders, and to some extent for her to continue to get more mature.

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#11 of 11 Old 01-18-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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DS1 is the same age and at one point I had this lovely open shelf, separate bin storage system going on.  Then we got him more involved in the clean-up and that was WAY too overwhelming for him so the things with lots of parts (train set, blocks- he's got a zillion different kinds, puzzles, games) are put away and he can ask for what he wants that way any other big messes get cleaned up before introducing a new mess.  He has some toys out all the time and they live in a toy box so clean up is just, put everything in the giant box where they go.  Which is SO much less visually appealing for me and bugs me on some fundamental level but hey, he does actually do most of the clean-up himself now.

 

I don't have much advice on the rest other than yeah, I think 3 is going to be really hard (he was a super easy 2 year old).


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