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3.5 year old tantrums almost every time we go out(22 Posts)
actually, that is a slight exaggeration, but if I take him to the shops or somewhere he often insists he wants something - a piece of paper, or a chocolate bar and when I refuse, goes into a full on screaming meltdown. It is at the point where I just avoid going out with him. But today I had to go to Sainsbos, and he wanted a magazine which he was allowed, but then wanted a second one also and when I said that he could not, he started screaming and crying. I do what I usually do, tell him to stop firmly, ignore etc, and today I said he would be on the naughty step when he got home, and he just kept crying and yelling. I am at my wits end. A stupid woman turned around and said 'Oh for fuck's sake can't you control him' and I snapped at her 'I am doing my best, you stupid woman'.
He is now in his room behind the baby gate because I really need some space.
Please, any advice, techniques, is this still normal at this age? he is behind in quite a bit of his development- late to walk, late to talk etc. But he is very bright and he KNOWS he is not allowed to behave like this. I would say that he would do this maybe every third time or so we go somewhere and I just feel like I never want to go anywhere with him at all.
'Oh no, a meltdown, what are we to do? Well, first thing, is put the other magazine back and then we go home, don't we?' Then straight back into the baby carrier without looking at him. If he stops he can have the first magazine but not the second.
Time out when back home is too late - he will have forgotten about it then.
Oh flip. I really needed the shopping so just kind of power walked through to the till.
he said in the car 'Sorry Sainsbury's, sorry Mummy' but usually when he says sorry then he gets the kiss and the hug. So this time I reinforced he had behaved badly and he got time out.
I'm all at sea on it.
Did he get the first magazine?
Reinforce if he acts like a baby he will get treated like one. And 'well, you won't get that paper/pencil/thing if you behave like a baby will you?' and put whatever it is back and then say 'If you stop having a tantrum, I might let you have it but you have to stop right now'.
Alternatively, stop taking him to shops!
Yes he did, but it was taken from him and is in a drawer.
I instinctively don't like saying 'if you behave like a baby' though, as it seems demeaning, but can certainly say something like 'if you cannot behave properly then we...' whatever.
I am rarely taking him to the shops now. Maybe once or twice a week (I do food shopping daily). I just feel so depleted.
Could you not try it as a reward? Do the shopping first if he's good round the supermarket helping you find things on your list then buy him the magazine at the end?
My technique is that we can get one and ask lady/man in shop to mind the other for another day. When she was younger I used to tell her it was too heavy and we would have to get the postman to bring it. I think she's okay with not having it but afraid another child will get it iykwim.
Ok, daily food shop? Wow.
The thing with 3-4 year olds is they really don't like being called babies; and saying 'properly', well what does that mean? In their heads screaming for something is proper. So it is pointless.
Set the boundaries out before you go. 'We are going to go to Sbobs and if you behave nicely, lots of smiles and help me find all the vegetables/things, then you will get treat at the end'. Don't mention any bad behaviour as it will then be in his head. Keep it positive and refer to the treat 'Remember we are smiling and finding things, or no treat'. And if he misbehaves, NO TREAT and explain why.
My technique is that we can get one (or none as case may be) and ask lady/man in shop to mind the other for another day. Sales people are usually very understanding. . When she was younger I used to tell her it was too heavy and we would have to get the postman to bring it. I think she's okay with not having it but afraid another child will get it iykwim. I know it's not ideal but helps me get through shops. She's nearly 4.
Right, so preparing in advance?
Okay. Sometimes when he is really occupied with CBeebies I will say 'okay, we can watch until the end of Andy and then we turn it off'. And he seems to ignore it, and then it finishes and he will jump up and turn the tv off.
So, I need to think better in advance and prepare. 'We will do the shop, and buy onions, celery and ...' and then we will have a magazine at the end after you have helped me.
Exhausting but necessary. (I always wondered pre-kids why parents used to narrate their every move. Now I know).
He is of the type that if I said we could get this magazine another day, then he would wake up every morning and ask if this was the day. So I could prepare for that too, if I knew we were deffo going back the next day.
What about making a list before you go?
'Oh ds we have to stick to the list and get everything on it. If you're good and help me find everything on the list you can pick a treat at the end'
It sounds like he would respond well to very clear boundaries and expectations if he knew in advance what they are. Your example with the TV is spot on and obviously worked well.
I think signposting what will happen next is a good tactic with children.
Signposting. Brilliant. Feel more empowered already.
Actually, I ought to have known this. This morning we were going to a softplay and then Sainsbos and I said to him we were doing that, and then did not think of it again. When I said it was time to finish softplay he said 'And now Sainsbury's?'. So he clearly is remembering this stuff. I need to take those cues and work with them.
Thank you all SO much. Please keep thoughts coming. I have to go out again, as Dh needs me to pick him up from the train. This is a good chance to practice signposting.
I have a three and a half year old too - she definitely responds to sign posting, although I didn't know that was what it was called, I have just learnt through bitter experience to lay out the plans as much as possible beforehand. Treats especially I find need to be laid out in stone before they happen - ONE magazine etc.
Also I tell Dd not to speak to me in a baby voice when she's whining at me, she does respond to this.
God three year olds are exhausting though!!
The baby voice is a total PITA. DD learn quickly this was not the way to get what she wanted!
Thanks everyone. I signposted like anything yesterday, and it worked very well indeed. It is so tiring though I agree!
I never buy mine ANYTHING when out. Easier to hold the line.
No, that's not strictly true. But the rules are very very narrow. eg, they are allowed one cakey thing/day and if we are out & about for a long time I may buy that while out. Ditto with crisps.
Everything has to have a strict reason for purchase, like from own pocket money or birthdays or need (I have older kids who like clothes & shoes).
I also say to my DD 3.11 that baby voice/crying/tanteum will never get her what she wants because I can't understand what she is saying. ..
A little additional thing that helped with our 3.5 year old was to praise when he understood that something wasn't possible ("Thank you for understanding, I'm really pleased with how you listened, now let's think about what we can play at home [or whatever's next that is a nice distraction] ...") and also if he had started to flip out but then calmed down to praise him for calming down quickly "Wow! Look how quickly you calmed down! That's a really good skill to have." But again with our DS trick is to distract as quickly as possible (the only time I've been grateful for dog poo being nearby, always gets his attention "ewwww look!").
Food shopping is boring. It's extra boring if you are 3.5. It's hard to express how bored you are when you are 3.5. Screaming is probably one of the few means of expressing frustration you know at 3.5. I used to plan an activity that would keep my dc's occupied while I was shopping so that they wouldn't get bored. A book to play with. A toy. Whatever the child likes. Get them to participate in some way that's interesting to them while shopping. Ask them to look for the oranges. Or pick out their favorite cereal. Or get them involved in the choosing of the meal that night. You will need to figure out what part of the activity interests them...and mix that in with something that will keep them occupied interspersed with the choosing. Think about how boring it would if you were accompanying a friend on her grocery shopping trip and had nothing that you needed to buy.
Sorry...just to add to the above. I think that you need to interact with them long before they get to the whiney tantrum phase.
I rarely got/get requests for stuff while shopping because I never ever ever gave in to the first few requests. You are doomed forever if you do
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