Almost 3yr old destroys everything(5 Posts)
Apologies for the thread title - it sounds far worse than it is! (Although it's still frustrating...)
I have 2 sons (age 4.7 and 2.11). The youngest is SO destructive. He regularly tears pages from books, knocks over towers and smashes lego creations lovingly built by his creative older brother, throws things, breaks things, snaps crayons. If it can be destroyed, DS2 will find a way to do it.
He has quite a short attention span and if he's left to his own devices for a split second he will seek to break or destroy something. Some things don't worry me too much, but when his emotional big brother gets so upset when something he's made just gets smashed up for no apparent reason, it's so frustrating.
What can I do?
At 3, I think he should be given the opportunity to have some toys that he can 'destroy' - and understand that other toys are to be respected. By that I mean that you could get and encourage him to play with a variety of toys that he can knock down - big wooden blocks, build towers, knock them down. Same with megablocks, you can even try games like Stack 'em or Prickly Pile Up. Make lots of play d'oh and let him build it/destroy it. He has to learn that some things are ok to pull apart/destroy, and other toys are not.
Constantly talk about kind hands and respect for toys, ie if you break a toy it won't be there anymore. Make very very clear rules. If he throws a toy, the toy goes in a basket on the fridge for two days. Explain that rule/remind him throughout the day. If he breaks a book/a toy, there has to be a consequence - not just a 'no'.
Just a question - how is his speech? Does he have tantrums?
Aha I bet the younger one has a schema or two going on. A schema is repeating behaviour that the child utilises to learn
here is a link
Wrt the destruction, you can offer toys that pull apart, like duplo, magnetic trains, offer breadsticks to snap, apple slices too
Get them playing at different levels, DS1 at the table, DS2 at floor level
Wrt throwing, scrunched up paper lobbed into an open basket, outside ball games, water play with equipment for pouring, cardbaord tube/ping pong ball, that kind of thing
Ripping books can be discouraged by offering old newspaper instead
Thanks for your input, I will take on board your suggestions.
We do have a "if you throw it/break it, the toy goes in a box out of reach for a day" but that doesn't seem to discourage him. He takes a lot of pleasure in knocking something over his brother builds, finding it very funny and having a very-pleased-with-himself look on his face when he does it. He's never seemed very interested in building/creating himself, so giving him a box of blocks etc, just wouldn't float his boat, but I will try and engage him in this type of activity more.
He LOVES ball games though and loves to be outside throwing and kicking a football.
With regard to his speech, it is excellent - really excellent. He does have the odd tantrum, but nowhere near as bad as his older brother did (and still does!). DS2s tantrums are nearly always about wanting treats (food) and being refused. He rarely has them about other things.
I read somewhere, and I wished I'd known this, that tearing up newspapers for papier mache is a brilliant way to channel the tearing instinct. A maternity nurse once told me the interesting fact that the sound of tearing paper is exquisitely pleasurable to a toddler's ears and that's partly why they do it! Also ripping jeye cloths can be amusing.
You could also get him smashing digestive biscuits for chocolate biscuit cake or pummelling bread dough perhaps?
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