I have 4 year old twins. They seem to be bent on doing things that I don't want them to do....over and over again. In a positive light, if guided properly one could see this as developing into being resourceful or inventive. However, I'm not really feeling that positive about it.....rather, I'm feeling at wits end about it! They are ok as long as I'm in the room with them. As soon as I'm not, they are guaranteed to do something such as draw on the wall, color on/cut my important papers, etc. No matter how much attention I give them (doing crafts together, reading to them, them helping me bake, etc.) its the same story day after day. I have finally put locks on things like my desk and our pantry closet. But they've just moved onto other things. (This morning they moved a small table to the bookshelf and got all of our cameras off of the top shelf.) They are almost 4 1/2! Will this ever end? Have you had a similar experience? Any suggestions?
Just keep working on preventing. Scissors/crayons/markers out of reach(or with you;)), locks and lots of watching. Perhaps they need some more outside time to run off energy or a place that they can climb on.
Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS
DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).
4-year-olds times two! 4 is such a hard age I think. It seems they should know so much better and they definitely understand the rules, but still don't have the maturity to hold themselves back and always follow the rule (flashback to my ds1 running into the street at 4.5yo....among other things.). My younger ds is 4 now and if/when he draws on the wall, the crayons & pencils get put away. For long enough to make a point, whether that's in an hour or a day or two, depending on the kid - like long enough for someone to ask for them back and to say "oh, remember, we put them away since they were being used on the wall instead of paper. We'll try again another time/tomorrow/later".
Climbing on things - as pp said, maybe they need some things they are allowed to climb on. And - do they have access to enough of their toys to be able to get themselves what they need? Maybe they were looking to do something independently and just like the feeling of finding stuff on their own (or as a team as the case may be!). Just a thought, don't know how you have things already set up. Sounds tough over there, hopefully by 6 they'll mellow out!!
I have 4- and 2- year old boys. A few months back, everything went under lock and key. I also strapped every chair to the thing it goes by and I'm not even kidding. Computer chair is strapped to the desk, all the dining chairs are strung together by with one of those rubberized dog tie-outs and padlocked to the table, and I chucked every single chair that had nothing it would strap to. They don't get drawing utensils or scissors unless I'm ready to sit with them throughout their project.
Things have finally calmed down some. I don't even keep a lock on the knife drawer anymore and they never go in there. They did raid my baking cabinet two weeks ago which has been unlocked for about a month. They sampled some turbinado but didn't make a huge mess of things.
I also have provided them with some different toys. They have a tea set that they can take out and use water in. We do lots of paper airplanes, block towers, the occasional lego project. Nothing that involves scissors... because I can't afford to keep buying new curtains or slip covers for the furniture.
I think it's great that you used the words inventive and resourceful. I know it's a little tongue in cheek, but it is of course true. And they can keep being that way without unsupervised art projects. I know for my guys it came to a head during a time when I had a lot on my plate and they were probably bored or lacked direction so check for that. And now things have relaxed so there's hope- good luck!
Maybe you can put the good cameras & all that under lock and key and leave out some that you're fine with them taking apart....I mean things you get for free from Freecycle or the local recycle/swap center. Just leave lots of these things out that you don't particularly care about and let the kids take them apart and try to put them back together again.
This isn't to say that you don't also need to work on the discipline side of it in an age-appropriate way, but by providing these clever kids with some things that really challenge them and feed their need to explore and experiment, that could help release some of that pressure.
And I'd leave out tons and tons of things that are ok for them to experiment with, like toys and art supplies (free ones from the recycle center or Freecycle or from the 25-cent bin at yard sales) or even your own recycled stuff (you'd be amazed at what you can make out of half-gallon milk cartons once you start cutting them up! Really! The bottoms can be used like blocks to stack or store things; the tops can be used for little houses, just cut out some windows and doors); you can turn them longways and cut the sides out and they can be modified to be "flying devices" for beanie babies.....add tinker toy wheels and they are a car....you get my drift). Also I used to just leave out a roasting pan full of rice and construction vehicles on one of the tables. I'd throw in some sparkly beads and other treasures....the imagination goes wild. When he got a little older I switched to Moon Sand (it never dries). I'd just leave it out and whenever he needed to push and squish something, there it was.
The key at this stage is not to get too worked up about messes. Because anything they find interesting is bound to be a mess. Oh, I just remembered, a basin full of dish-soapy water, then you put in some drops of olive oil and let them have fun with the blobs and shapes. add in some food coloring and things get really nuts. But again, messes. It's a tradeoff. :-)
It does get better. My son is 8 now and he's a real peach about cleaning up his own messes and/or using the supplies in such a way that he doesn't make too many of them in the first place. But when he was the age your kids are now....forget it. He had me ripping my hair out more often than not. Not with the misbehavior so much--by some miracle my artist son was never seized with the desire to write on walls. Once in a while he doodled on the bathroom door while on the pot, and I explained that he knows better....and if he really wants to do art on the walls I will show him how to do a proper mural....LOL), but with his general tendency to make more messes out of things than I was happy with. At the time I remember thinking it will never end, but it does. :-)
My kids are 5,3 and 1, we had the pleasure of having a midwife catch all of our babies at home. She is an amazing person who is brilliant with kids! During our pre-natal visits at my house she would take note of the kids behaviors and give us suggestions. One of her favorites is a chore chart. On the "Daily Chore Chart" we have things listed like; take out the bathroom garbage, clean the kitchen table, play nice with the siblings, be respectful of others, etc. On a second chart the "prize chart" we have a list of 7-10 boxes. Each time they get 5 starts within their first "Daily chore chart" they then get one start in the "prize chart". It also helps to give them their stars on the "Daily chore chart" as soon as possible, with tons of praise.
This works really great when we go to the store, they are bound to see something that they want and I say "Great!" when you have earned enough stars on your "prize chart" we will come back right away and get it! We also will take a photo of the items with my cell phone (sometime to send to Santa too!) and I usually draw or paste a picture of the prize they are working toward onto their chart, the kids love it!
Hope this gives you some ideas, best wishes!
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