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-   -   Ideas for handling a spirited 3 yr old? (http://www.mothering.com/forum/36-gentle-discipline/1369571-ideas-handling-spirited-3-yr-old.html)

Blt178 12-05-2012 06:09 PM

I am becoming very disheartened.... My 3 yr old daughter is one battle after another. I really really want to be more successful at using gentle discipline techniques but am finding it really hard to know how to navigate certain scenarios in the heat of the moment. (And unfortunately tonight I boiled over instead... I am so disappointed in myself.)

I am hoping I can pose a couple of scenarios to you all and you can share what YOU would do in these situations? I just need some inspiration I think to help get me through some moments as my usual tried and true tactics aren't working as often anymore...

Situation #1: DD will not get in her car seat. It is just before supper and it is dark and very cold out - I live in Canada and so the car seat thing does seem to have some urgency attached as I am freezing my butt off. I first tell her we have to get home to see daddy, she is usually excited do go home and see him. No go. Then I give her a breakdown of what we will do when we get home; have a yummy supper, applesauce for dessert, and a little iPad time just before bed. Usually knowing what is next and where we are off to will get her in her seat, especially a reminder of iPad time! No go. So finally I tell her that we really need to get going and she can either get in her seat by herself or I will help her. Usually she wants the independence and will finally pop into her seat. Not tonight. So I picked her up and put her into the seat, naturally she resisted and planked and started shouting which set off her baby brother crying and we are all in complete meltdown in the parking lot.

Situation #2: Supper time. She has asked for peanut butter and jelly. She eats one bite and says she isn't hungry. I checked in twice more warning her that she needs to eat now or she will be hungry at bedtime. But she swears she is done. The moment I announce bedtime, she runs to the table and begs for food claiming she is VERY hungry. I remind her that I warned her this would happen and tell her she has 5 mins to eat that peanut butter and then we are going to bed. She proceeds to lick the front of the bread a couple times, take one bite and then spits the chewed bread back onto the front of the slice. While smiling. I told her she can't be very hungry if she is spitting it out and picked her up to go start bedtime, which she fussed and resisted the whole way through.

What would you do in these scenarios? Please, ideas would really help me....

penguintattoo 12-05-2012 06:26 PM

Our 3 year olds should be friends. Im interested to see what people say!

gitanamama 12-05-2012 08:01 PM

I wish I could offer some advice, but I'm in the same boat-- disheartened and unsure of how to gently handle my 2.5 year old DS's temper. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and taught preschool before having DS so I always thought I was an expert in gentle discipline for toddlers. Ha! I think the universe sent me DS to kick me in the ass for being so "confident." :) 

 

I honestly don't know what to do when all my GD tools don't work. Often I go through a whole repertoire, like you described with the car situation, of explaining what we're doing, explaining why it's important that DS cooperate, and then giving him choices--- and sometimes it does absolutely no good. 

 

Hopefully some other mamas will chime in with helpful suggestions!


The4OfUs 12-05-2012 10:26 PM

Honestly, I think you did fine.  You got done what needed to get done, you didn't shame or punish.  Some kids are just....MORE.  I have one of those.  I validate, sympathize, make suggestions for alternatives, and give a little time for them to come around or figure something out on their own, but whatever needs to get done still needs to get done and it gets done.  It's not consensual, but with an extremely strong willed very small child that is developmentally  incapable of really seeing beyond NOW, sometimes you just take the path of least resistance (which still has resistance). 

 

FWIW, my kiddo like this is now 6, and things are MUCH easier than they were at 3 and 4.  She will never be an easygoing, laid back kid, but that's OK. GD, to me at least, doesn't mean that your kid is never unhappy.  It just means that *if and when* they're unhappy, you don't blame/punish/shame them for it. 

 

Hang in there!

 

 

PS - and this may sound counterintuitive, sometimes talking more and giving more chances winds her up more than just saying (kindly but firmly), "you can do X, or you can do Y, but Z has to happen.  If you aren't going to choose one I'm going to choose. ".  Sometimes letting the situation spiral/escalate more (it will always escalate because of her personality) is less gentle than just doing whatever it is we need to get done.

 

And I know that some will debate the word "need", and the inherent power I have as a parent.  But I just don't have the patience or emotional wherewithal to spend more than a couple minutes trying to negotiate mutual solutions with a child that's unable/unwilling to do so. That leads to me being a much less kind, overall, mama.  


Blt178 12-06-2012 07:09 AM

I should be more clear on the above scenarios... They both ended in me being openly angry and trying to force her into the car seat and with her crying about being hungry at bedtime while I am fuming.... I guess what I am hoping for is, is there anything else I could be doing? I hate being in that place of forcing her physically into the car seat... Doesn't feel right. I realize that I have a part in this that needs work... My anger isn't helping and I am actively taking steps to better manage it. But say my temper hadn't entered the picture, was that just the necessary next step? To 'help' her into her car seat? (Or more accurately wrangle her arms into the car seat straps)

GirlBoyGirl 12-06-2012 07:31 AM

She sounds a lot like my little 3 year old girl! Maybe we should introduce them! smile.gif

I think you handled those situations very well. But since you asked, this is what I think I would have done.

In scenario #1, DD has often refused to get in the carseat. Everything with her is that she wants to do it herself. If I have already given her several chances to get in her seat by herself, I'll just calmly pick her up and put her in her seat while saying that she had several chances and since she didn't do it, mommy will help her. Sometimes I cave if she is really crying and after a few moments of her freaking out, I'll let her get out and do it herself. You asked how I do it and that sometimes includes caving in to her demands! Figured I may as well be honest here lol! If its a bratty cry, I don't cave but if she is genuinely sad then sometimes I cave because it just isn't worth it and I am picking my battles, plus I am just trying to figure all this out too and I have no idea what I am doing most of the time! Usually she will be pretty good for awhile after that about getting in her seat when told.

In scenario #2, I don't force food. I never get angry about it or frustrated because I don't want meal time to be stressful for anybody. DD is pretty picky and has a very small apetite so I have just learned to not expect much from her. I do a lot of coaxing, sometimes we play a game where I take a bite the same time as she does, we all applaud her if she finishes something (sometimes, not always), she gets chewy vitamins if she finishes her dinner but ONLY if she finishes. She has never done what your DD did where she said she wasn't hungry and then right before bed said she was, but it sounds like your DD is just playing games and/or tryign to prolong going to bed. I would have told her that meal time is over and its too late. Unless I knew she was starving or something (like she didnt eat lunch either, etc) but I'm betting she wasn't or she would have eaten her PB&J! If I did end up letting her have it again, I would have given her 5 minutes like you did. If she spit it out, I dunno, I may have given her a time out for fibbing!


I think you are doing a great job with her, being patient and calm, explaining whats coming up and your expectations. 3 year olds are going to be spirited because they are testing the waters and becoming more independent! I try to let my 3 year olds (and my 2 year old who thinks she is 3 also) have as much independence and responsibility as possible because they LOVE doing stuff for themselves and for me!

GirlBoyGirl 12-06-2012 07:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blt178 View Post

I should be more clear on the above scenarios... They both ended in me being openly angry and trying to force her into the car seat and with her crying about being hungry at bedtime while I am fuming.... I guess what I am hoping for is, is there anything else I could be doing? I hate being in that place of forcing her physically into the car seat... Doesn't feel right. I realize that I have a part in this that needs work... My anger isn't helping and I am actively taking steps to better manage it. But say my temper hadn't entered the picture, was that just the necessary next step? To 'help' her into her car seat? (Or more accurately wrangle her arms into the car seat straps)

Well being openly angry doesn't help anyone and it will only make you feel worse (as you well know!). I have "forced" DD into the carseat before but I did it while being calm and explaining why I was doing it.

MountainMamaGC 12-06-2012 08:02 AM

Dont say something if you dont plan on following through with it. I give my daughter 5 opportunities to eat during the day. (Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, snack) If she doesnt eat, she has to wait till the next meal time. She gets whatever I make, unless its really spicy, and then she can have a PB&J. I dont make an issue. I may suggest a couple more bites, and she gets 30 min to finish her food. 

 

Can I just add that 3 was horrible. I was pretty much afraid to leave the house, and it didnt matter what I did.  I just stayed consistent, followed through with whatever I said, ("I dont know yet" is an acceptable answer to anything) She just needed time to grow up a bit. She has been an awesome 4 year old and she know when I say something I mean it. 


salr 12-06-2012 08:29 AM

I think you did great.

 

I think it's OK to force your kid into a carseat or clothes or whatever you deem as something that needs to happen.  You gave options and chances and explanations before and during the struggle.

 

You are human and you got angry.  What I like to do is to talk about that kind of thing...Like saying, "I'm really angry right now."  It tends to diffuse things for me.  Or afterwards I might say, "I was really angry when you wouldn't help me by getting into the carseat.  I shouldn't have yelled at you.  I was really angry because we were almost late.  It's important that you help me.  Can we try that next time?"

 

Or if you really blow up, making the apology the focus.

 

For the food thing specifically I give food unless I know my kid has had something really recently, or there will be food at an upcoming location very soon. I sincerely believe that we cannot tell if someone else is hungry or thirsty or not.  I might have a pretty good guess but I've been wrong plenty of times and people have been wrong about me.  It's OK with me if my kid has a small snack in bed and we keep water by the bed.  If my kid just looked at me and smiled while spitting out food I would also say, "It looks like you're not really that hungry.  Here's a (whatever non-messy food) to take with you to bed.  You can have that and a drink."  Then I would insist on bedtime.  Most struggles, for us, that happen around bedtime can be solved with sleep.

 

I think you're rockin' it, mama.  If you find yourself becoming too angry often, then I would just spend some time and energy working on that for yourself but I see it as a separate issue.  Maybe it's just that you were having a bad moment this time, and that's OK.


The4OfUs 12-06-2012 09:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blt178 View Post
 But say my temper hadn't entered the picture, was that just the necessary next step? To 'help' her into her car seat? (Or more accurately wrangle her arms into the car seat straps)

 

IME, with this brand of kiddo, yes - it sucks - believe me I KNOW it sucks.  I was a very compliant child by nature, and my firstborn was also (until he turned 4 ;)  ) so that's what I was used to.  Then my second born came along and it was as if she was born to make me realize I was not nearly as awesome as I thought I was.  lol.  Were I you, I would work on maybe giving less chances so that YOU are calmer when you have to compel her to do what needs to be done.   As I said above, sometimes being firmer/less consensual/playful in certain situations that I know are problematic winds up being much kinder to both of us, from my experience.  She is not being punished, or shamed...she is just being made to do something that she doesn't want to RIGHT THEN, because she's at a stage developmentally where RIGHT THEN is all she can see.  And that's OK.  But I'm not making the rest of us wait for dinner for 45 minutes because she doesn't want to get in the car seat at this particular moment. Other people are OK with that, during this developmental stage.  I think it's a matter of finding what works for YOU and your family to make you the least stressed, because happier mama = happier family.

 

Intense kids throw fits and get mad more than nonintense kids, over things that may or may not make sense to us as adults shrug.gif.  You can either:  1) punish them for it and make them stuff all those feelings so they're like a pressure cooker (yuck!), 2) let them blow their steam (within appropriate safety and respect limits) but keep on doing what needs to be done, or 3) Try to negotiate mutual solutions on situations, which may be quick, or may be excruciating.  Obviously the first option is icky.  lol.  The choice between 2 and 3 I think depends on the personality/temperament of the parent as much as anything.   I am patient and calm and kind, up to a certain point.  And I know when I'm reaching that point, that it's time to lay out a couple choices that are acceptable and get moving forward.  I am not out to wield my power over my kids...I'm just out to have our family run as smoothly as possible, *together*.   And in my experience with my intense kiddo, that meant that sometimes she was unhappy because she was developmentally unable to see the bigger picture and understand why we were doing things (despite explanations, etc.)  -  she is MUCH, MUCH better now at that at 6 years old.  


Blt178 12-06-2012 11:05 AM

Thank you for the responses! It is nice to know I am on an ok track by other mama's standards too (sans the anger of course... I am a work in progress *insert sheepish look here*). And I am encouraged by your reports of happy kids on the other side of three! I am looking forward to enjoying my daughter's company more thoroughly in the future...

The4OfUs 12-06-2012 11:39 AM

IMO, anyone who says they've *never* been angry with their kids either has a kid like I was lol.gif, is putting benadryl in their kids' food to sedate them bigeyes.gif,   or is lying  2whistle.gif .   And anyone who says they're never let their kids see they're angry with them....well, is a better person than I am.  lol.gif

 

 

And I mean really, I don't think there's anything wrong with your kiddo seeing you getting upset about them acting completely unreasonably.  I mean, you obviously don't want to rage at them, but I don't think you should stuff your feelings, either.  That's why I think it's vital to figure out *your* limit, and make the decision to give the options/make it happen before you get there...even if it isn't using one of the more consensual ideals.  Believe me, I have had MANY unattractive moments with my daughter.  I'm human.  But I love her fiercely, love her fire and passion, and wouldn't change a thing about her despite the challenges.   3 and 4 were ROUGH with my daughter.  I found 5 to be the age where things started getting better..and it gets incrementally better as time continues to march on.  She's 6-1/2 now, and while she still has a fiery, quick temper, she is much more reasonable and able to talk things through now.

 

There are lots of different flavors of GD/PD....and depending on what stage your kiddo is in, you may have to go further in one direction than you initially imagined, for a time. 


mnj77 12-06-2012 01:33 PM

I think you sound fine too!  My personal philosophy, which it sounds like you're following, is to avoid a power struggle at all costs, but if it's unavoidable, I'm going to win.  Sometimes you just have to force the kid into the carseat and the kid is going to have a fit.  I guess my addition to what you're doing is that I'm not going to lose my cool or yell while I'm winning the power struggle or after.  I tend to just stop talking if I have to "help" DD do something.  She can carry on all the way home, but she's safely strapped in her seat and I'm not standing outside in the cold waiting for her.  I can disengage and not react to any of her noise.


ThreeTwoFive 12-06-2012 01:45 PM

I count to 3 before I pick him up and put him in the seat (if it gets that far).

Sometimes "Let's see if we can get buckled up and get the car moving before that family of 5 over there gets in their car!" will work.  

Or, "Quick!  A fox/bear/wolf/etc is chasing you!  Into the car seat, quick!"


newmamalizzy 12-06-2012 04:02 PM

The only thing I would suggest here that it doesn't sound like you tried was a really playful approach.  My DBF can turn almost any situation for DD around through play.  I absolutely cannot do this, but I've often watched him perform this magic in awe.  He often just starts laughing like this is all a lot of fun, usually brings tickling into the picture somehow....I don't know.  But I know he would have been awesome in the car-seat situation.  I generally just don't have enough play left in me to use this approach. 

 

My other advice, which I use with my 2.5 year old when she's acting like this, is to talk as little as possible.  I find that talking more adds to my frustration, doesn't help the situation move along (and often confuses it because when I'm stuck in this type of situation I always try all of my GD tricks all in a row really fast :), and increases the chances that I'll yell or say something mean.  When I take away the focus on talking, I can focus more on being physically gentle in situation where I know I'm going to have to bit the bullet and physically move things along. 
 


Blt178 12-06-2012 04:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post

IMO, anyone who says they've *never* been angry with their kids either has a kid like I was lol.gif , is putting benadryl in their kids' food to sedate them bigeyes.gif ,   or is lying

Lol... Thank you for that! I tend to be really hard on myself and am coming to realize that maybe my expectations of gentle discipline are off... I keep feeling like if there is conflict, I am failing. I have to remind myself that no conflict is not plausible, but instead to just do my best when it inevitably arises. I can be my own worst enemy...

Man those simple smiles and giggles are some powerful stuff to offset the rest of it... Lol

Swimmyswim 12-07-2012 09:46 AM

Our youngest learnt how to undo his belt and climb out of his seat at just turned 2.  A telling off and a warning of how dangerous what he'd done was didn't have any effect and the second time he did it we were on our way to a play centre.  I stopped the car waited until he was ready to let me do it up again and turned right back round again and we went home.  No seat belt no fun and he didn't do it again.

 

I'd be tempted to plan a fun trip so you can praise and praise for keeping the belt on OR turn right back round again if he won't strap in.  (Pointless doing it if you're going somewhere he doesn't want to go though, or if you just don't have time to wait.)

 

Food?  If they don't eat it, they don't eat it.  They can still help themselves to fruit  and they still have to wait till the next meal to get something substantial.  However, although we've been very consistent about this and they are both quite fussy eaters.  I accept that they genuinely struggle with certain textures and tastes and try not to force the issue.  Because the eldest is a vegetarian, he has to eat things he doesn't want to occasionally to ensure he's getting enough iron, so I did insist that he eat pulses occasionally but otherwise I try not to make food an issue.  We're very lucky to have enough to eat and I don't want food to be a source of distress for any of us.  I'm hoping they will continue to learn that wasting food is bad for the environment but eating when they're not hungry is bad for their bodies so I'm hoping that my approach of letting them make their decisions around food will be healthy for them long term.


One_Girl 12-07-2012 09:18 PM

I calmly followed through with helping my dd do what I was telling her to do. She always had to see if I would really follow through at least once before choosing to do things herself. I was, Ans still am, careful about how many non-optional things I tell her to do, I take my time and really reason through their importance before following through and I think that helped her accept when something wasn't optional after expressing herself once or twice about it. She still is determined to have her way but much easier to reason with now that she is ten.

In the carseat situation a snack once the seatbelt is buckled might help. I typically had crackers, cold.cereal, fruit, etc... for dd to eat in the car.and only had to forcibly buckle dd in once.

In the dinner one I suggest backing off and letting your dd eat at her own pace. My dd would take an hour to eat and it drove me crazy so I stopped sitting with her after I.was done and got a book out. She ate faster without me there pestering her to speed up and I got time to read without being bothered so it was a win-win situation.

Blt178 12-08-2012 03:21 AM

GREAT idea on having a snack ready in the car!! She would TOTALLY buckle up if she knew there was a snack waiting... Thanks!

And as for the supper part, I am definitely letting her choose how much she wants to eat...i think it is healthy to let kids learn to eat to satisfaction. My complaint there was that she would take MAYBE two bites and claim she was all done. Full. But as soon as bedtime is announced, she whines about how hungry she is! Knowing how little she actually did eat, I don't doubt she really is hungry but I detest her doing it as a delay tactic. I grabbed a handful of crackers she can eat as we are getting ready for bed but not letting her sit back down at the table.... I am sure she isn't full after a few crackers and I was just wondering anyone else had a good tactic for getting them to sit and eat. But it sounds like maybe this is a tough spot for a lot of you!

quantumleap 12-08-2012 11:23 AM

A friend of mine told me that her son's kindy teacher told them that 5 year olds can't reliably focus on a homework task for more than 5-10 minutes. I don't know if that's true, but it does sound pretty logical. If a kid can't be expected to sit and do a work sheet for more than 10 minutes, then why would we try to force a younger than 5 year old to sit at a table and "work" (eat) for 30 minutes? That's my take on it, anyway. If your parents were like mine, you sat at the table and ate your food and you sat there until everyone was finished, and then you politely asked to be excused, thanked the cook for the meal and cleared your place/did the dishes. When our kids got to eating age, I found I had to do a bit of work to ease those expectations. They're little, and food is NOT something I want to have power struggles over (says the recovered anorexic). So, we expect our kids to sit at the table, not eat until we sing the blessing, and not to make a ruckus. If they're at the table, they must sit calmly and properly (not standing or lying in the seat, etc), and if they leave, they must not disturb anyone (so, quiet play). That's it. Their food sits on the table until everyone else is done, and then it's gone. They can come back and eat some more if it's still there, but otherwise they're SOL. I do think 3/4 is old enough to understand the whole, if I don't eat I will be hungry concept. Hang in there. 

It sounds like you're doing FINE! This parenting gig is harder than we anticipated, hey? ;)


luckiest 12-13-2012 08:08 PM

I feel you on situation #1; I have to force DS (24mo) into his car seat with some regularity, maybe a few times a month.  He is limitedly verbal and obsessed with playing with the buttons on the dash.  My best (and really only) tactic is to fully engage him with song, play, stickers, look-at-that-bird, as I'm putting him in.  That's probably unhelpful for a 3 yo though.  Like others have said, I've found that if he's in refusal mode and I see that I'm probably going to have to physically hold him in the seat and strap him in, that I stay calm and neutral.  It's so easy to go to the red zone with them, and it's never productive.  

 

With your food situation, she's definitely caught onto the power of food...I wonder if you could starve the power a bit?  That would be my approach, anyway.  Even if she only eats a bite, don't comment on it.  I wonder if your warnings to her that she'll be hungry later is only an invitation for her to try to prove you wrong, or maybe she is needing to reaffirm that she is in control of what she puts in her body, which ultimately, she is.  But then, she DOES end up being hungry later, and double bonus for her, she can use it as a bedtime stalling tactic.  

 

So, if it were me, I would just halt all commentary on food consumption.  If she only eats a bite, I'd clean up the kitchen like usual and just stick her whole plate in the fridge.  Then if she's hungry later, I'd pull it out and set it someplace she can reach it so you don't have to sit right there with her.  What we often do for DS if he doesn't eat much at dinner, is we just transfer his plate from the table to a chair, then he's free to pick from it throughout the evening if he likes.  If/when she does request more food, I wouldn't comment on that either, no "I thought you might still be hungry, you didn't eat much earlier" or anything like that.  


transylvania_mom 12-16-2012 04:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post


PS - and this may sound counterintuitive, sometimes talking more and giving more chances winds her up more than just saying (kindly but firmly), "you can do X, or you can do Y, but Z has to happen.  If you aren't going to choose one I'm going to choose. ".  Sometimes letting the situation spiral/escalate more (it will always escalate because of her personality) is less gentle than just doing whatever it is we need to get done.

 

 

yeahthat.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blt178 View Post


Situation #1: DD will not get in her car seat. It is just before supper and it is dark and very cold out - I live in Canada and so the car seat thing does seem to have some urgency attached as I am freezing my butt off. I first tell her we have to get home to see daddy, she is usually excited do go home and see him. No go. Then I give her a breakdown of what we will do when we get home; have a yummy supper, applesauce for dessert, and a little iPad time just before bed. Usually knowing what is next and where we are off to will get her in her seat, especially a reminder of iPad time! No go. So finally I tell her that we really need to get going and she can either get in her seat by herself or I will help her. Usually she wants the independence and will finally pop into her seat. Not tonight. So I picked her up and put her into the seat, naturally she resisted and planked and started shouting which set off her baby brother crying and we are all in complete meltdown in the parking lot.
Situation #2: Supper time. She has asked for peanut butter and jelly. She eats one bite and says she isn't hungry. I checked in twice more warning her that she needs to eat now or she will be hungry at bedtime. But she swears she is done. The moment I announce bedtime, she runs to the table and begs for food claiming she is VERY hungry. I remind her that I warned her this would happen and tell her she has 5 mins to eat that peanut butter and then we are going to bed. She proceeds to lick the front of the bread a couple times, take one bite and then spits the chewed bread back onto the front of the slice. While smiling. I told her she can't be very hungry if she is spitting it out and picked her up to go start bedtime, which she fussed and resisted the whole way through.
What would you do in these scenarios? Please, ideas would really help me....

Situation #1: I would open the car door for her and tell her she can get in the carseat by herself while I buckle the baby in... as soon as I'm finished, I will help her get in her carseat. No need to shout or be upset about it. I might also give her a kiss after I finish buckling her seatbelt.

 

Situation #2: I would NOT give her another chance to eat her sandwich; you already gave her plenty of warning that she would get hungry if she doesn't eat supper. She knows you aren't serious about the warnings.

I might offer a glass of milk in case she's really hungry.


Pepper44 01-24-2013 12:51 PM

I had the carseat issue with my first DD around age 1.5-2.5 years old. I finally figured out I was giving her too many chances and it was causing problems.  With my second DD (who is 2.5 now and actually considerably more intense) I don't give any options, no playing around or waiting for her to climb in ever in her life.  When it's time to go we just put her in the seat and if she is protesting for some reason I stay (outwardly) calm and unresponsive and just keep going on with my business. Sometimes if she's calm I will chat with her about her feelings while we're driving.  "You were having fun and didn't want to leave!" Or whatever the situation was that upset her.  But since she knows there's no option to not get in the car we rarely have issues in that area.  (Thank goodness because we sure do have lots of tantrums at home about every other tiny thing!)  

 

As far as eating goes, that's a frustrating one.  My 2.5 year old DD is a super picky eater, gags easily, and would rather nurse than eat and sleep.  She's very sensitive and intense.  I try not to make a big deal of eating, but give her plenty of options.  My main goal is to avoid a battle of wills because she will gladly just refuse to eat. With both my 6 year old and 2.5 year old I give them a last warning for a snack about half an hour before bedtime.  If for some reason they're actually still hungry in bed I'll give them a cheese stick or almonds and say goodnight. (Neither have any cavities, so I try not to worry too much about the fact that they've already brushed...)


Snapdragon 01-24-2013 07:59 PM

for the carseat I would have a good snack to offer- saying- here, get in the car seat and I will give you this snack. or alternatively a toy- anything that is fun and desireable to the three yr old.

 

for the food part I would just accept that they are on a different time line. If they said they were hungry I would offer a bowl of oatmeal or something- if they ate the pb a little and smiled I would just be patient and let them have their few minutes and then smile and give them a hug and then whisk them off to bed when they wrre done- even if they wrre protesting.

 

so in other words taking away the battles where I can, giving in where I can but being firm only if I feel it is important. Adn generally being loving and peaceful because I know three is still practically a baby and they are just learning!



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