I have three children, 5, 3(almost four) and 2. I find myself very frustrated lately as they are going into my things, jewlery, etc... without permission and have damaged things. I have gently asked and explained that they need to leave our things alone unless they have been given permission. I have done the obvious and moved most things out of there reach, but there are not many places they cannot get to. I don't leave them unattended for any length of time, this is occuring while I am in the other room or attending to their younger brother. There are also games, etc that are theirs and I would like them to use only when myself or another adult. In the past they have lost pieces and the games become useless. I put these on a high shelf in a closet and explained that they just need to ask and they can use any of their things I put away. They use stools and climb to get the items,even crafting items that get strewn about in a big mess and are not around when we need to use them. This gets me so upset as it creates more messes and they seem to have no respect for their things either. We are very aware of consumerism mentality and try to avoid buying uneccessary things, so I don't think its because they "have too much". The only times they get toys are birthdays or Christmas. I don't understand what I am doing wrong as they really don't seem to want to take care of things. I am not the type of parent to deal out harsh punishments, but I am at a loss. I have tried to think of a logical consequence, but there doesn't seem to be one. Talking and even pleading with them just isn't doing any good. Please any insight or suggestions are welcome. I am at wit's end with this situation.
I think the logical consequence with the games is to put them away (at your parents house? Garage?) some place they can't see for a period of time, with the clear language for why it's being put away.
Maybe you need a lock on your bedroom door?
You're outnumbered here, by a gang of very smart, motivated kids! They're very young, and talking and pleading, and explaining goes over their heads. They're selfish, which is developmentally normal at this age. So I don't think getting them to respect your things is possible yet. They don't care, they forget, it's just not on their radar.
A logical consequence/solution that could end this immediately is to lock it all up. Put a lock on the closet. Get a bin with a padlock for your jewelry and other nice things they've been messing with. You've eliminated the temptation, so you don't need to plead or deal out harsh punishment.
I know it is a hassle to you to have to put your things away like that. It's is definitely understandable to figure that if you tell your kid to do something and even give them an alternative, they'll see the logic and do it your way. Well, that's in the realm of normal, but their behavior is also in the realm of normal, for now. They're going to grow and develop and you can unlock everything and expect them to stay out of it. For the most part.
Is the 5 y.o. in school? How about preschool for the 4 y.o.? they're definitely too old for you to be providing all stimulation for them. Maybe they're bored and that's when they go looking for fun in your jewelry box.
---Greenkri said the same thing much more succinctly. =D
Someone moved my effing cheese.
I would make a shelf of their things for art projects and games then put everything else up and be very firm when they do attempt to get into them. I was very firm about my purse and my dresser, I gave a few gentle reminders then I was no nonsense about not allowing her to be near them. My dresser has adult things and I just have something against anybody touching my purse because it feels like such a violation. I find that with boundaries I am not willing to budge on it helps to use the same body language and tone I use when I am absolutely serious about a safety issue. There are so many things I am not serious about and so many things my dd could/can get into that she didn't push this boundary.
Do they have similar items of their own to play with? Maybe their own jewellery/treasure boxes with some trinkets to play with would keep them out of yours. My kids have a collection of craft gems, plastic medals, bead/macaroni necklaces which they have made and they get played with quite a bit.
For the games I've accepted that they like to have access to them themselves, we have a couple of games in reach which I expect will not be kept in the best condition. Usually ones I've bought used and ideally don't have too many pieces or which I don't like to play . The "nice" ones which I expect us to play for years are kept out of reach and they have to ask for them.
I guess it's just part of being a curious kid. Hide very well that which they must not see, and don't worry much about the rest.
Thanks so much for everyone's response. I appreciate the ideas and feedback. I will have to move/lock my things. It is probably even more frustrating to me than usual because we are in the process of selling our home and relocating. I will also need to remind myself that it is a developmental age they are at right now. The five year old was in a preschool program as was my three year old. Now everyone is off for the summer and this may also be adding to the mischief. I guess I need to plan some more stimulating activities and maybe it will curtail things too.
I can sympathise with that, it's a couple of years since we moved but the pressure to keep the house sorted so we could have people viewing at short notice really got to me. Normally when I have people round I can take stuff and just stick it in my bedroom or some other out of the way place but people coming round every room and checking out built in storage and so on is just another level.
Sounds like a good idea, I know I need to come up with a few ideas for the summer break otherwise my kids come up with their own plans. There is a time and place for messy play but the bathroom sink and various combinations of mouthwash, toothpaste, soap and bubble bath just before the grandparents visit was not one I would have picked!
I've been browsing pintrest for new ideas, home made moon sand (in the old baby bath) with hidden "treasure" kept my 6 year old occupied for ages last week.