When you have two kids the same age (or close in age) there's going to be madness in the house occasionally because they feed off one another. Mine are 4 and 6 and they run laps around the house during dinner/bedtime, too. It's the end of the day and they're exhausted and just won't listen to reason. Do you have a dinnertime routine and rules? When dinnertime got out of hand here we did a sticker chart for awhile and that seemed to work. They had to sit down for at least 5 minutes, not complain, not fight, etc. After they were done eating they had to play quietly in their room or else they'd loose their book for the night.
My kids also fight in the car! That energy just gets crazy in there sometimes. What's helped us is having car toys or activities, even for short trips. Sometimes even turning up the radio loudly helps because it distracts them.
It feels awful to be ignored. I think for me it's especially annoying now that they aren't two years old and don't *really* have an excuse. I mean, I know they are still young, but you would think by five they would be able to listen! There's really no way to make your kids listen to you, look you in the eye, etc. if they are feeling nutso. Hope some other mamas have suggestions for you!
Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)
So glad you posted this! I have a 5 year old girl and 4 year old boy. They are 13 months apart and two strong-willed kiddos! We spend a lot of time in the car...traveling to relatives house, but we also live about 20 minutes outside of the nearest town, so anytime we have to go to town, we are in the car. A couple tricks we use...let them "pack a bag" for in the car. We always let them take at least 2 items (one for each hand) if we are just running into town that they can play with. For longer trips, each kids gets a bag or a bucket of stuff that they pack. Then, they can't get mad at us for "being bored." They also can work together to take things that they both enjoy. That seems to help with all of the yelling in the car.
Another thing that my husband and I are constantly doing is what I call "prepping." This means that anytime I have an expectation for them about how I want them to behave, I tell them BEFORE the event, DURING the event, and then super lots of praise AFTER the event. For example, the day before I have to go to a meeting where they have to go with me..."Hey guys, I have a very important meeting I need to go to and you two are coming with me. These kinds of things can be kind of boring so I need you to think of a couple things you can bring along that will keep you busy." Day of meeting, "Hey guys, remember that meeting tonight. I'm so excited that you get to come with me and show everyone how awesome you are. Don't forget to get some fun stuff, maybe a couple books, or some drawing paper and colors." In car on the way, "I'm so proud of you guys. I know you are going to do awesome for me at this meeting. Thanks for working as a team and helping your mom out! When it's all over, I have a huge surprise for you if it all goes well. Let's work together." Then, at the meeting, I give them expectations again, show them where they can sit and spread out if they can, etc. During meeting, I will give high fives, winks, or a quick hug to let them know they are doing great. After the meeting, the big surprise may be going for ice cream or it may just be me giving them a big hug and they can stay up for 10 minutes longer or one more bedtime story. I know that when I am not doing lots of "prep" things always go worse.
My husband and I have also taken to giving the kids "exercise time." When they are super rowdy, will we say, "Ok,on the count of 3, we want you to go outside and run around the house 3 times." The first one back wins. They love doing this and they take the dog with them. Kids need lots of movement for their brains to continue developing in a healthy way. So, provide them movement.
For dinner time, we try to include them in helping out by asking them to set the table or feed the dog. At bedtime, we have a predictable routine where we eat dinner, take a bath, get on jammies, read books, brush teeth, go to bed.
Most nights, things work pretty well. It's not a full proof system, but we try to maintain good connection with the kids and meet their physical demands as much as we can.
Hope there's some good ideas in here for ya!
Good luck...we are in it together girlfriend!
Stacy G. York
Mother of 2 Kiddos, Wife, LCSW
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