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I have a very physically precocious three and a half year old. He can climb anything and unlock doors. He will move laundry baskets and chairs through the house to get up to high shelves and into storage cupboards that are off the ground. He can turn on the taps and the bathtub and plug things into and out of the wall and he can open just about any container in the house.<br><br>
He loves to wrestle and chase his older brother, especially to chase him with sticks, hairbrushes, toys, etc. This is mostly because his older brother screams and runs away yelling "He's going to kill me! He's going to kill me!". And he loves to empty out boxes and cupboards and spread the contents all around the house. And he loves to get food our of the refrigerator, eat a little bit and spread the rest around and mix it with other things and sometimes (if I'm nursing the baby and can't get to him) he'll mix it with things out of the bathroom and water . . . you get the idea.<br><br>
Essentially he's a little whirlwind. And he loves to be chased, so half the fun is getting in trouble and being chased around until you either put him in time out or make him clean up. We have tried making him clean up his messes and it worked for a while, but now he will just start making a bigger mess if you try to make him clean in up. And if you put him in time out he will just start up again unless you leave him for a really long time and that will only stop him until the next time you are distracted or nursing the baby. I've also tried ignoring him, but then he ends up breaking things or hurting himself or his brother. I've tried redirecting him but he is pretty persistent. He will sometimes respond if I engage him in a play scenario (he loves to role play) but only if he's pretty bored with it.<br><br>
More often than not I end up doing the counter-productive "Why are you always making messes! Its driving me crazy!" which just makes it worse because then he self-identifies as "I am the mess maker / the mischeif maker / the rascal" and quite happily takes on the role.<br><br>
So I'm looking for any advice or "this too shall pass" type reminders. I just don't get anything done other than nursing the baby and chasing and cleaning up after my 3 yr old, never mind when my 5 yr old is at home. I always have stacks of dishes and laundry everywhere (folding laundry when he's awake is asking for a big mess and the sound of water wakes him up once he's actually asleep).
 

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I had one of those. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
He's 5 now. He's still like that. It's much better, though, because he can outside and play with his friends. He also goes to Montessori school and they have a great deal of outside time.<br><br>
On days when his friends aren't around and school isn't in session, we make sure he gets plenty of daily exercise. Hour long walks, trips to the playground, trips to Monkey Joe's, swimming, whatever it takes to wear him out.<br><br>
As far as the mess goes... well, you have a baby, a 3 year old and a 5 year old. You're going to have some messes before they get bigger. Can the 3 year old help you clean? Mine followed me around and did small tasks as I worked on stuff. He actually liked it. He could fold towels and put them away and put things in the trash and put things in the room they belong to.
 

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Sounds like DS at that age. We locked many things in cupboards.<br><br>
It sounds like a lot of sensory seeking and an exploratory nature. I would feed that productively as opposed to leaving him to meet his needs destructively. If he's not cooperating through GD techniques, it's reasonable to think that he's compelled to meet his needs and if you want relief the best strategy is to provide him with alternatives.<br><br>
Can you include a 30 minute sensory play time into your day? Shaving cream on a mirror, a sand table etc etc. (this sounds like a substitute for the mixing he gets into).<br><br>
What about getting a basic science kit and do safe, controlled experiments?<br><br>
Do you have space for him to have a crash pad area? If you get an eiderdown cover and fill it with large foam chips, he can crash into that safely. Do you have a trampoline? A swing? Heavy work may also help - ask him to drag the filled laundry basket to his room and other helpful things.<br><br>
If you google sensory diet you'll find plenty of ideas, like:<br><a href="http://sensorysmarts.com/sensory_diet_activities.html" target="_blank">http://sensorysmarts.com/sensory_diet_activities.html</a><br><br>
OH! And Omega Fatty Acids...DS has been very rambunctious lately and we realized we'd been forgetting to give him his EFAs. We find they make a difference.
 

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DS1 was very similar at that age. He is still active and rambunctious at 6, but he is much safer. He was my only child until he was almost 4, so I just kept him very closely supervised. I'm not sure what I would have done with a baby around at the time. The trio are individually less wild, but collectively more so, so we have a lot of locks on things and my expectation of what belongings will survive the next three years has dropped to almost nil.
 

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It's helps having appropriate messy activities. Someone already mentioned shaving cream on a mirror. DD does a lot of painting and playing in the sink with water. I've also let her paint the vinyl walls around our bath/shower, then we just wash it off with the handheld shower. We also have a sand box outside.<br><br>
You might need to get some childproof locks and a lock box for dangerous items. There also make top of the door metal latches that you could barely reach.
 

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You haven't mentioned whether he goes to preschool - I'd sign him up yesterday! For you to do the dishes and the laundry, nurse the baby, fit cupboards with locks and have some downtime so next time you can laugh at his mess as opposed to yelling at him.<br><br>
And the sandbox suggestion is also great - if you have a backyard, put him in rubber pants and boots, let him have access to a tap and just throw your hands up at the state of the backyard.
 

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Get thyself to the park! Your son is begging for an outlet for his energy. Build the park into your schedule. There he can swing, jump, run, play all he wants and tire himself out a bit too.<br><br>
I used to take my son daily when he was that age for about an hr each time. it was great, my house was saved and he wore of some energy. I met some great mom's too
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15391495"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You haven't mentioned whether he goes to preschool - I'd sign him up yesterday!</div>
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LOL! That's part of what I've done with my little ones.<br><br>
We also have a mattress on the basement floor that I tell them to jump on when they are too wild.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the commiseration and advice!<br><br>
Preschool was unfortunately not an option this year because he has a January 15th birthday - he just missed the deadline - and after all ds1 put the one preschool teacher in town through last year, I didn't think she was going to make an exception for us. Plus she's a firm believer that boys should, if anything, be held back a year. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
I definitely need to make park time more of a priority though. Thanks for reminding me. Between our cold spring (it snowed last week) and the baby and starting to get ready to move / go back to work (dh is starting a PhD in the fall which requires a cross-country move), and trying to keep the dishes washed and laundry done, I haven't been getting to the park enough. I need to forget about the housework and just get to the park in the mornings. My older boy has decided that he doesn't like going outside, so he digs in his heels whenever I try to get us out the door; dh says I should take him to the park in his pyjamas a couple of times to get him off that.<br><br>
And now that its warm I will also definitely try to find some good sensory activities for him. The problem with inside sensory stuff is that he always has to go big, you know. He can't just pour the water between the bowls I've given him -- he wants to see how much water he can pour on the vinyl tablecloth before it overflows. He can't just play with playdoh, he has to add water and smear it all over the table. I"ll have to make another batch of playdoh and let him play with our rice and funnels outside and see if that helps.<br><br>
As for things we don't want him to get to, we'll have to put locks on the highest cupboard in the house and keep everything dangerous up there.<br><br>
Thanks for the advice and definitely thanks for the commiseration. I'm glad he'll get a little better as he gets older, anyway.
 

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*HUGS* these kids make you crazy but can be so fun.<br><br>
DD was/is a whirlwind of activity. The best compliment i ever got was from her OT in early intervention. They said i was the best mom they had worked with because i did not FIGHT her. I put a swing in my doorway (made out of stretchy slinky fabric) and a small trampoline, and a small bounce house, and a chin up bar in another doorway. She could spin, jump, swing all day.<br><br>
Outside we have a swingset, balance beam, more bars etc. We encouraged her to set up obstacle courses in the house each day and she was fine with taking them down at night because she got to build a new one each morning.<br><br>
I would suggest doing as much as you can to give safe opportunities to run/jump/climb.<br><br>
As for the pouring, mixing, mess making i use the bathtub or in warm weather a baby pool outside. We have done paint, playdough, flour, rice, etc in the tub or in the pool or on a table cloth outside.<br><br>
As for the fighting we have rules like - only swordfight people who also have a sword, wrestle with DADDY ONLY, we use boxing gloves so no one can get really hurt but the kids can get worn out and get the aggression out.<br><br>
I found that with dd if she got all her messy/rowdy/wild behavior out of the way in a few short spurts she was fine the rest of the time and didnt NEED to be crazy with everything else.
 

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I have 5 year old twins like that.<br><br>
1. Babyproof, babyproof, babyproof!! You need a room that is almost 100% safe, so you can sit down and nurse occasionally. Remove the climbable items, lock doors down hard (the magnet locks are great!), remove the bottom shelves off book shelves, etc.<br><br>
2. Get a sling so you can nurse and chase the older kids. <a href="http://www.babywearer.com" target="_blank">www.babywearer.com</a> (I think) is AWSOME!<br><br>
3. As above posters have said, find safe ways to fill those needs: a little trampoline, an inside playstructure, a couch for jumping (remove the coffee tables), soft balls for throwing inside.<br><br>
4. You need to stop the chase game, ASAP. This is EXTREMELY hard to do for some kids. But it is vital. It is extremely dangerous and is causing him to get into trouble. My boys tried to do this, but not to your child's extent. I made sure I held their hands and only played in fenced parks.<br><br>
5. Spend some energy each day trying to teach him positive skills. When he spills, just calmly say, "Uh, oh. No no making a mess! Lets clean it up." Then ask where the towels are for wiping, so he can show you. Or ask him to get the Dustbuster and vacuum it up (very fun for little boys!), etc. If he runs, wait a bit, then calmly get him and gently show him what to do (physically guyde him, unless he fights you.)<br><br>
Use plenty of specific praise for the behavior you like. "I really like how you waited for me to open the car door." "I like how you found your shoes." "I like how you are jumping on the trampoline." I got this from a parenting book. I can't remember which one, but have seen this advice from several places. I have found that it will eventually REALLY help. I will post the title when I remember!<br><br>
6. Get a babysitter/mother's helper occasionally to help you wear him out!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>cdahlgrd</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15404300"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">2. Get a sling so you can nurse and chase the older kids. <a href="http://www.babywearer.com" target="_blank">www.babywearer.com</a> (I think) is AWSOME!</div>
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<a href="http://thebabywearer.com/forum" target="_blank">thebabywearer.com/forum</a> <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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My monkey in the middle is just like that too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">. He's 13 now and while a lot here don't approve, organize sports were the best thing since sliced bread with him. Soccer was good, ice skating is AWESOME! And plenty of running at the park, preferrably with a ball.
 
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