My DD is 3 1/2 and DH and I are trying to work on giving her logical consequences but I'm finding it hard to come up with consequences that "fit." For example, the other night she was brushing her teeth and instead of spitting into the sink, she spit below her onto her little brother (weird, and first time she's done this). She did it a 2nd time after being told it was wrong. But after that 2nd time, I honestly couldn't think of a consequence that was logical! Suggestions?
We have a lot of situations like this where I feel like I'm stuck and can't find a consequence that is connected to her behavior.
Spit toothpaste anywhere but the sink - you can help clean up the mess.
A 3-yr-old is still learning impulse control, and there's not much you can do to hasten the process. Be consistent, and keep your expectations realistic and age-appropriate. Concentrate on recognizing appropriate actions (such "Thanks for spitting in the sink").
Can you think of other examples where you feel you should be doing something, but aren't sure what to do?
If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
Logical consequences can definitely be tricky to come up with in the moment. So it helps to think back on situations and come up w/what the logical consequence would have been so if it happens again you have it in your mind. It helps to kind of practice like that so it comes more easily in the future. Basically whatever you as the mama have to do to rectify the situation is what you have the child do instead of you doing it or have them help if they're not old enough/big enough/capable etc. And personally I think it's ok if they end up "enjoying" the task. It's not about punishment per se, but more about them learning to be responsible for their actions and sometimes that ends up being fun.
Thanks for the replies.
So I don't know why as soon as I posted I had trouble coming up with examples. I do have another that took place last night (actually happens pretty often in the evenings). So DD gets really close to DS, like in his face repeatedly in a playful way but it turns into a squabble. DS doesn't want her in his face, says "no" (he is only 18 mo) and she continues and continues, then starts putting her feet on him, etc. etc. She knows she's being instigative and she knows it's not okay but she keeps on.
We talk to her about how he is wanting space. We talk about how it's not okay to put your feet on somebody's face. We basically try calmly asking her stop and ask her to give her brother space but she tunes us out. We get so frustrated, yet I don't know of a logical consequence in this situation. Remove her from the room? Take a sticker off her incentive chart? Those don't seem truly fitting, but we've tried both.
I totally get consequences like, "you throw food, you help clean it up." Or "if you don't pick up your toys then you won't be able to play with them tomorrow" etc. but I am stumped in many other situations. Can anybody share examples that they've dealt with recently? 3 1/2 year olds are tricky!
Just wondering, if these kinds of behaviors are happening mostly in the evenings is your dd tired?
I find that once our 5yo dd reaches a certain point in the evening, all bets are off and I have to be very diligent to prevent things getting out of control.
Yep, almost exclusively in the evening. And I know she's tired, and I (we) do try to "prevent" these situations but it's not always possible. Any suggestions? Casha'sMommy, how do you try and keep things from getting out of hand in the evenings?
We have to talk a lot about giving other people space around here too.
For my ds (also 3.5) I find I have to be right in there distracting him, engaging with him, to get him to stop those kinds of behaviours. He usually gets all up in dd's face when he's bored and it's worse if he's also cranky/hungry/tired. When the kids are acting like that (even dd who is almost 7) I usually have to redirect them, suggest a new activity, engage in the activity with them, etc. And yes, sometimes it does reach the point where someone needs to leave the room.
Things also go more smoothly the sooner I intervene. In other words if possible I try to jump in at the v. first sign that things are going over the edge. I also try to be aware of "problem" times (say in the evening when everyone's tired) and instead of leaving the kids to "free play" I might suggest an activity we could do together (play a game, read a book, etc).
BTW we talk a lot about respecting people's space when we're *not* in the moment. When we *are* in the moment I'll just say something like "dd needs her space. Why don't we go over here and fill in the blank".
Another thought: if it's mostly in the evenings would it be possible for you and dh to divide and conquer? Maybe that could be special "daddy and dd time" when they take a walk (or whatever) while you do something with ds (read a book, etc).
Keep in mind that although your dd knows that this behaviour isn't ok, she still has seriously limited impulse control, so it's hard for her to stop herself. The more you can actively engage her the easier it will be for her to switch her focus.
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
3's are still so young...redirection is still a crucial strategy.
If the first request to stop by the other child doesn't yield results I usually ask the child to look at me and I say I want you to hear your brother's words. Please stop (whatever xyz). Then if the child is still not cooperating I walk over and say ok you'll need to come sit by me or help me do xyz so you're creating the space your LO needs. Or...pick the baby up and have him with you...either way, but if you can get your dh to help like the pp said that will help too.