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How to get a child who is really sobbing to stop

(17 Posts)
Coveredinweetabix Tue 29-Apr-14 20:41:38

DD is 4.6 and no longer has foot stamping, shouting tantrums but, if she is very tired (as she was this evening) and something doesn't go away she sobs & sobs. It is very annoying to listen to, confuses younger DS and must be distressing and uncomfortable for her. Once she has started, how can I get her to stop? She can stop herself but it is more of a pause as, as soon as she achieves what she wants, she starts again, eg. tonight, after sobbing through bath time, I told her that if she stopped crying & put her PJs on, she could watch one programme. She did that but, as soon as I turned the TV on, went back to inconsolable sobbing.
So far, strategies have included giving her lots of cuddles and comforting her without giving her what she wanted; when, after a week or so, that didn't work, trying one, two, three; when, again after a week or so, that didn't work, trying reasoning with her & then, tonight, I simply ignored her until the programme finished when I carried her through to her room, tucked her in and gave her a kiss and told her I loved her. She was asleep in minutes, During all of these approaches I have offered her a cup of water so she has a drink and a cold flannel so she can soothe her eyes.
I know that I need to try not to let her get so tired but, if that can't be avoided, are there any other approaches I can try?

Boomerwang Tue 29-Apr-14 20:46:13

Is it possible to integrate something into the 'countdown to bedtime' section of the day that she will look forward to? Nothing too stimulating as that'll be counter productive, but perhaps a bedtime story or a special song she likes to sing?

hairybabysmumagain Tue 29-Apr-14 20:55:48

My eldest can get in a tiz when tired like this....he is 8 and does it rarely now. I have tended to just nicely say that 'you are clearly tired and need to go to bed'. Generally also induces more sobbing but then invariably asleep within minutes (therefore proving my point to him!).

I think if you think there is an element of her consciously doing this (as I think you mean)...then I would defo do straight to bed, not in a punishment way but in a nice way. FWIW DS will now say I need to go to bed if he does find himself getting in a soggy mess, though clearly he will have a bit more self awareness at his age (in theory!).

Coveredinweetabix Tue 29-Apr-14 21:36:26

Hairybaby yes! I think that is what I need her to do. DD has never admitted to being to tired and yet she so clearly was tonight. It doesn't help that she doesn't want to go to bed before her younger brother, ignoring the fact she gets up an hour before he does and obviously no longer naps. For a while, I was able to separate out their bedtimes more by abandoning him in front of the TV for 20mins whilst I did stories and snuggles with her & then did his bedtime but DD is now insisting one of us sits with her whilst she goes to sleep and, if we don't there are more hysterics, but, unless it is one of the rare occasions when both DP and I are home at bedtime, that isn't possible unless DS is put to bed at the same time.
Bedtime - I see what you're saying but the problem at the moment is that, as soon as we're not doing her chosen activity & doing something like teeth or hair, then it is back to hysterics. Once she starts, I know that it is going to become this massive emotion management exercise to get her through these thing and into bed.

ClubName Tue 29-Apr-14 21:46:41

Actually, I think she is still having a tantrum. She's learned that its more effective than the screaming and shouting sort in getting her way.

Hard though it is, ignoring in the same way you would a screaming tantrum is the way to go IMO

plantsitter Tue 29-Apr-14 21:59:21

Dd does this when tired. I try to be very sympathetic and acknowledge that she's upset about whatever it is, and then say 'you obviously need a good cry. Why don't you keep crying while I count to ten and then have a cuddle.' By the time I get to 8 or 9 she's pretend crying and then has a cuddle and is mostly ok.

Doesn't always work but often does.

aleC4 Tue 29-Apr-14 22:20:51

Dd (almost 7) used to do this a lot and still does occasionally when tired. Although dh can calm her a bit she really only responds to me when she is really bad. I hold her, stroke her back/hair and don't really speak. I shush her sometimes - it's like having a baby - but it works!

PartyConfused Tue 29-Apr-14 22:26:25

I agree with Club. My dd is also 4.6 and also does this. She still has the occassional foot stamping tantrum, but her 'best' are the sobbing, snot covered episodes. In fact, the more snot the better for her-she even pulls at the snot candles for dramatic effect <boak>.

We've gone back to reward charts and made clear that we count these as tantrums (tbf, she hasn't agued!). 2 weeks in and I honestly don't think we've had one!

Coveredinweetabix Tue 29-Apr-14 22:30:52

That's reassuring. I know she's mainly doing it for effect so I think ignoring is the way to go.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Tue 29-Apr-14 22:32:10

I was told to stop crying or I'd be given a reason to cry but that's not a recommendation!

I'd probably just ignore as much as I could.

Cataline Tue 29-Apr-14 22:40:10

"Oh dear, you're obviously overtired so let's get you to bed right now" and then putting child straight to bed. Usually works for us- no negotiation. Child is out of control so you take the control back. If it's genuine distress they can calm and go to sleep in bed and if it's part of a tantrum it makes them think twice next time as being out to bed is usually not what they're aiming for grin

givemecaffeine21 Wed 30-Apr-14 09:57:08

My DD is much younger (nearly 2) but sometimes she goes into meltdown mode and cannot stop crying no matter what, she will stop then start again and this goes on and on sometimes all afternoon. She doesn't do proper tantrums yet but they seem to be a version of them. Once she's at the point of no return I tend to gently pick her up and tell her she needs a bit of time on her own to calm down. Usually I put her in her cot with her teddies and some books and give her 5-10 minutes. She stops almost instantly. If she starts again when I go in I leave and give it another minute or two and go back in, sometimes this takes 2-3 attempts. It's not done harshly at all, I express it to her as she's gone past it now and needs a bit of quiet time. Being around me or DH when she's like that feeds the upset she feels and makes things worse which is why when it's gone to far I give her time alone to calm herself.

My niece (who is your DD's age) also goes to her room when she is in that mode and again it works for her.

I know when I'm very emotional I'm best given a bit of time to simmer down and get back to being rational, as sometimes 'once we pop we can't stop'!

Just my thoughts x

Cast1ststone Fri 02-May-14 20:46:48

Why haven't you sent her to bed when she is clearly being irrational. She does not need to disrupt the entire household cuz she has to do something she doesn't want to. That is ridiculous and you need control back. I know it hurts to hear her cry but she needs to understand this behavior is NOT acceptable. She will not hate you forever cuz you send her to bed crying. She will be upset and throw a fit but she will have to learn to manage those emotions. Don't be cruel about it but she needs to respect the family and the child is getting carried away with that crying/tantrum.

oobedobe Sun 04-May-14 18:43:53

It does sound like it was mainly a tiredness issue, so probably the only thing that would work would be going to bed sooner. My DD has acted like this once or twice and it was always due to massive overtiredness from travelling/jet lag etc - it was scary and there is no rationalising with them.

Another technique you could try if you want to try and ration with her (if possible) might be to mirror what she is upset about, eg instead of trying to dismiss it or going over the top with comforting just say "oh you are crying a lot that must be so tiring", "sometimes we need a good cry, so go right ahead" etc, just being there and letting her know you hear her/understand her might help? Also if she realises you are not trying to 'stop' her she might be less resistant?

Nocomet Sun 04-May-14 19:01:36

Shaun the Sheep was this houses guaranteed reset genuinely in a tiz they can't get out of pick me up.

If it was DD2 being DD2 it was just ignored.

Kissmequick123 Sun 04-May-14 19:17:09

Bed earlier. She sounds exhausted. Also distraction, ooh look at this jigsaw, lets do it together.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 04-May-14 19:28:30

Why is she going to bed before her younger brother? Probably the cause of the meltdowns to be honest.

If she gets up earlier, put them to bed at the same time. And she only has to go earlier if she does the crying meltdown as she's obviously overtired.

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