Gentle ways to get my 7-year-old to simmer down - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 03-24-2013, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have 4 kids and a small house. We don't have a basement or separate playroom, and bedrooms are too small to play in much, so the whole family is usually sharing the same space in our smallish, adjoining living and dining rooms. Our large, strong 3-year-old has serious anger and violence issues due to pre-birth brain damage and birth trauma (we adopted him through foster care). He is very susceptible to other people's levels of activity. If another person is ramped up at the wrong time, he spins out of control — really out of control.

 

I need gentle ways to help my 7-year-old daughter understand and comply with this. She is actually quite mature for her age and she is not overly active. It's just that there are times when she wants to talk loud, or dance, or kiss her little brother, and it's not a good time for him. I can't send him to another space at these times because he gets into dangerous situations. I end up sending her out of the room, and it's so hard to help her understand that she's not in trouble, but the family needs it to be quiet and calm so everyone can have peace.

 

Sometimes I try to explain this, yet it's hard for a 7-year-old not to act like a 7-year-old. Then her little brother gets revved up and bites her hard, and I end up angry with her for not quieting down and ramping him up.

 

How do I help her understand and get us on the same team? (Meanwhile, we are working hard on improving little brother's behaviors using a variety of methods.) Maybe a cue system, red light means we must be silent and sitting, yellow light it's time for calm play, green light play at will?


Raising and educating free-range kids in our farmhouse at the maple woods. In March, find us in the sugarbush making pure maple syrup.

1 me + 1 hubby + 4 kids + 5 goats + 3 pigs + 3 dozen chickens + 6 ducks = 1 crazy place
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#2 of 7 Old 03-24-2013, 07:06 PM
 
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As I read your post I was thinking of the red/yellow/ green system as well.  We also live in a pretty small house.  Is there anywhere she can do those things when she feels the need?  Outside, a porch?  We used to send my active one outside to run laps when he was about that same age; differrent reasona, as he was the one that was amped up and would have melt downs but it kept the peace with his siblings.

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#3 of 7 Old 03-24-2013, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good point about sending her somewhere else. The problem there is that she is exactly like I was at her age. She wants to be right in the middle of the action no matter what. Maybe once the weather warms up that would get easier (we still have snow on the ground). Right now the only way she wants to go somewhere else is with the family iPad in hand, which she could play with all day.

Raising and educating free-range kids in our farmhouse at the maple woods. In March, find us in the sugarbush making pure maple syrup.

1 me + 1 hubby + 4 kids + 5 goats + 3 pigs + 3 dozen chickens + 6 ducks = 1 crazy place
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#4 of 7 Old 03-24-2013, 08:41 PM
 
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Yup. We have the snow to. That 7 year old is now 16 and lives in a shed in the back yard so he can have his own space.
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#5 of 7 Old 03-30-2013, 08:41 PM
 
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Maybe hang rings or swing (think Ikea) or put up a small exercise trampoline in her room and have a secret signal just between the two of you that she needs to go expend that energy in whatever special place/ way you can set up for her?

mom to a 7 year old lego fanatic and a 5 year old cross dresser
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#6 of 7 Old 03-30-2013, 11:50 PM
 
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I'm just going to suggest working on the connection with her. It's hard for them to learn how seriously to take our cues, and sometimes they just aren't going to be able to settle when we want.  If we can easily mend any hurt from an annoyed "go somewhere else!" it is better than nothing! My oldest is a 7 year old dd too and she is needing a lot more focused discussion about stuff these days. 


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#7 of 7 Old 03-31-2013, 10:38 AM
 
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Could you reorg her bedroom so there was a few feet of space that you could christen "The Activity Zone" or something similar and do something to make it fun? Like, if she likes to dance put in a mirror (not expensive) or some of those puffy floor tiles that you can get at target? That way, it's a special fun place for her, not a punishment?
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