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Parenting strategies for stupid hour with 3 year old

(23 Posts)
latrucha Wed 12-Oct-11 19:42:26

I feel like I need bit of a brush up with my parenting skills here and would like some help please.

This is the background. DD is 3 and 10 months. DS is 15 months. DD does not get much time alone with me, or with her father who is away alot. I'm sure this and tiredness are at the root of our present difficulties. She's a very good girl. A bit of a worrier, clever, verbal, a bit of a drama queen. She goes to pre-school 5 mornings a week which she really likes. She goes to bed at 6.30 and is usually up by 6, often because she is woken by DS with whom she shares a room.

We usually have one time in the day when she is deliberately naughty. I don't mean she's perfect at other times but at these times she is relentlessly trying to get me cross with her (she has told me so although she doesn't have an explanation!) If she doesn't get me going with one thing, it's another. Usually it's bedtime, sometime it's between 4 and 5 (we have bath at four and dinner at 5).

She is defiant, whiny, naughty (throwing the pile of washing I had just piled all over the floor), 'I can't-ish', deliberately hurts DS or does something like repeatedly splashing water in his eyes in the bath.

I can get so far with counting to three to get a response or a small punishment like taking away pudding or story. She can win things back with good behaviour. But nothing actually stops the succession of niggling bad behaviour. Apart from shouting. Shouting works. And that's my problem. I do do this, not every day but I don't like it. We do make it up afterwards and then she is well behaved but I really would like not to and need tips of other things to try.


ellesabe Wed 12-Oct-11 19:48:23

I'm sorry I don't really have any useful advice as my dd is only 10 mo but didn't want to read and run. One thing did occur to there any reason why they have their bath at 4pm? I have never met anyone who does bathtime before tea and wondered if it might be worth trying the bathtime later in order to break the habitual naughtiness.

TheSkiingGardener Wed 12-Oct-11 19:51:24

It sounds like she is trying to deal with something or get some kind of message across. Sit and listen to her. Don't say much after the questions that have got you as far as you've got, let her fill in the gaps and see where she goes with it. Or ask her to act it out with a doll and see what she does.

christmasmum Wed 12-Oct-11 19:54:31

If you read Toddler Taming, he says all naughty behaviour is a way of getting attention, even negative attention will do. Could you try doing an activity with her at her witching hour to cut it off before it happens? Maybe set aside an hour for craft or reading together etc.

If you've not got time (and I know I rarely do!), you could try getting her to help you with your jobs so she's getting attention while you're busy. so, if you're sorting the washing, you could get her to pick out all her own clothes and put them in her pile, or at bathtime, you could try getting her to pass you things you 'need' for washing your DS etc.

Georgimama Wed 12-Oct-11 19:56:13

Shouting works because she wants your attention, and once you shout she has got it. I have similar issues with DS (4.5) whose nose is greatly out of joint by arrival of DD 10 weeks ago. Although shouting does (did) make him snap out of it I don't like shouting. I am finding dropping down to his level, gently holding him still if necessary, looking into his eyes and talking very quietly calms him down. I would have thought this was hippy talking crap if someone had suggested it to me until I tried it.

Out of interest why do you do bath at 4 then dinner afterwards? Bathtime is relax/wind down time to me sofrom about 5pm DS's evening goes tea followed by play/bedtime hour/chatting/cuddles then at 6.30 bath, then pyjamas/teeth, stories/songs and bed. DD hangs off the boob at various intervals during this time.

latrucha Wed 12-Oct-11 19:57:16

the bathtime comes from her being half Spanish. They don't bath after dinner there (or at least IME) and we just picked it up. I have tried to change it, but they both seem to like it that way. Also, it's quite a nice thing to do in what's normally a bit of a dead or fractious time of the day for us.

I'm sure she needs that SkiingGardener it's just not easy to do it. DS is both jealous of attention given to her and very physical. If I sit her on my keen or pay her close attention at best I will get him climbing over my head trying to play or somesuch.

Octaviapink Wed 12-Oct-11 19:58:06

We do bath at 4 and tea at 5 too and it works well, but I know exactly what you're talking about. With DD (2.6) it's the hour (or thereabouts) before bath-and-supper. Many days she's beautifully behaved, but there are times when it just seems to be pure naughtiness coming out of her. My feeling is that she can't really control it as once she's eaten or had some chill-out time or a cuddle she's usually fine. Because of my sense that she can't control it I tend to run interference rather than punishing her - I try and head things off at the pass before she has a chance to do whatever it is. I've experimented with not shouting at all but rather sitting down and giving her a cuddle for ten minutes. It doesn't always work but often enough to make it worth doing.

bakingmum2many Wed 12-Oct-11 19:58:44

I think that you have both got into a bit of a habit, being awkward is part of the daily routine for your DD. Have a chat with her and tell her you are fed up with the behaviour around bath time tell her that you understand that she is tired, but she still needs to behave. I would give her incentives to behave rather than punishing for the negative behaviour maybe stickers or an extra story at bedtime. The only way she can earn these treats is by behaving at bathtime, if she doesn't then no treat. This will make her try harder the next day rather than her knowing that she can earn back her privilages on the same night.

latrucha Wed 12-Oct-11 20:00:40

christmasmum - I think those are good ideas but I already do them. We sorted washing, we made dinner together (pizza), we did sticking just today.

Georgimama - I also feel I do get dwon to her level to explain things etc when she's getting stressed and stressful.

This is beginning to make me think she's got an insatiable appetite for attention!

happyhorse Wed 12-Oct-11 20:06:28

When you say she goes to be at 6.30 do you mean that's the time she goes up to get ready for bed? Because if so I'd suggest you bring it forward to 6pm and aim to have her asleep for 6.30.

If her meltdown time comes around 4pm then I'd try just watching a bit of tv quietly with her - with her comfort toy/blanket/whatever if she has one - and just trying to calm things down a bit.

That's what I'd try with mine anyway, but I appreciate they're all different. Good luck.

latrucha Wed 12-Oct-11 20:09:52

We go up at 6.30. Bedtime is relatively quick I think. Toilet, teeth, pyjamas, story, lights out. She's beginning to try to string it out though, running about, not sitting on the toilet etc. She can't cope with it though. When I let her have a run about and a shout last week in case I was being too strict she was sick. Maybe I will bring bedtime down to 6. I'm just worried my son will get up even earlier. He is often awake before 5. They have insisted on going to bed together since they started sharing. There would be revolution if I tried to change that.

Octaviapink Wed 12-Oct-11 20:15:31

My two do quite well with early-to-bed, early-to-rise. Both in bed by 6 and up at about 5 - 5.30.

latrucha Wed 12-Oct-11 20:34:21

Sounds like an earlier bedtime might be the thing to try. Plus some time alone with me at the weekend maybe.

latrucha Wed 12-Oct-11 21:40:15

DH has just pointed out to me that bedtime has got worse since he has been unable to come home before bedtime. DD does mention him every night about that time. Not quite sure what I can do about it except listen though.

Tgger Wed 12-Oct-11 21:52:31

Ha ha! Why don't you change your behaviour- rather than hers. Don't rise to it. Tell her you're going to ignore this bad behaviour but set a boundary if it gets really bad- eg go to your room- but don't engage- other than stay calm, pre-occupy yourself with something else- eg shift attention to DS, even if there isn't much to do with him, start praising him and giving him loads of attention.

At present it sounds like she's getting an awful lot of attention for this behaviour which re-enforces it.

Octaviapink Thu 13-Oct-11 05:49:18

Is she asleep before he gets home? If she's still in bed but awake, could he make sure that he goes in to say goodnight? She may well be missing him.

latrucha Thu 13-Oct-11 09:47:21

She's well asleep, I'm afraid.

latrucha Thu 13-Oct-11 19:26:23

Well, thanks ladies. I tried a bit of everything and we had a much easier day. I did a lot more explaining to her why we were doing things and this seemed to be the best thing. The only real moment of tensio was when we were in a cafe and DS was screaming and she wanted something and I got impatient with her. I guess she gets this a lot really.

I bought bedtime forward twenty minutes or so and it seems to have been a very good thing too.

Thanks ladies.

latrucha Thu 13-Oct-11 19:33:45


Octaviapink Fri 14-Oct-11 08:48:56

Glad you had an easier day! I always find that if we've had a busy day (grandparents visit or similar) then DD's behaviour the next day is a shocker too - it seems to take a while to work it through.

Bonsoir Fri 14-Oct-11 08:51:24

It sounds to me as if your DD ought still to be having a short nap after lunch. Her night is far too long.

rubyrubyruby Fri 14-Oct-11 08:55:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

latrucha Fri 14-Oct-11 09:54:23

Thanks all. DCs got up at their usual times today (DS 5.30 / DD 6.30). DD was as bright as a button though, so I'm keeping the earlier bedtime.

Bonsoir - Thanks for the suggestion but I really feel that wouldn't be right for us.

rubyruby - mine too! these suggestions have really helped me do just that.

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