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Child aged 5 smearing toothpaste over everything

(5 Posts)
80schild Sat 17-Jan-15 23:01:15

That is it basically. I put him to bed and heard a noise upstairs - DH went to check what was going on and he had smeared toothpaste over the bathroom. It has been going on since he went back to school and has done it on sofa's, lampshades, floors. Nothing is sacred except for his toys. Our house is slowly turning an off white from all the toothpaste.

He is naturally chaotic and quite difficult and as soon as anything goes wrong will blame the nearest possible person - I know that he feels an injustice has been done a lot of the time. I am really feeling worried about this as it seems like his behaviour is regressing after we had such a nice Christmas together and everything is going so well for him.

I would appreciate some thoughts on how to stop this behaviour and how to encourage him to respect his environment.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 18-Jan-15 00:55:01

Firstly, hide the toothpaste.

Secondly, you need to get to the route of the behaviour. Have you spoken to him about why he does it? If it's linked with going back to school maybe he is having problems there. Speak to his teacher and see if he/she can pinpoint anything. Does he have any SN? Does he just like the sensation of squeezing/smearing the toothpaste? In which case maybe provide him with some cheap toothpaste and some cardboard and let him do it in an appropriate way.

Thirdly, implement some kind of behaviour management strategy that he can understand/will respond to. It needs to be something that rewards good behaviour and punishes bad behaviour. You could use a star chart for example, he gets a star for good behaviour and loses a star for bad behaviour for example. 5 stars earns a treat. You can tweak it to suit him/you. You can do balls/marbles in a jar or traffic lights (green if he's good, amber if he's middling, red if he does something really bad). Always praise more than you reprimand/punish even if he is a nightmare. Look really hard for things to praise him about. Be consistent.

That's really all you can do. It's an unusual behaviour from a 5 year old, it must be really difficult to deal with. Good Luck!

50schild Sun 18-Jan-15 18:17:20

I think I was 7 and I know it was Christmas eve when I spread toothpaste around our au pair's room. I'm sure I was seeking attention and over-excited, having probably driven my parents up the wall that day.

Their "behaviour management strategy" was startling. I got my first bike for Xmas but, along with some goodies, my stocking (in our family, stockings were Father Christmas' responsibility) contained 1 or 2 lumps of coal.

Deeply puzzled about how he really knew, I never did it again and remember it to this day.

Best of luck,

Glossyflower Wed 28-Jan-15 14:38:07

Put the toothpaste out of his reach and supervise teeth brushing?

Davsmum Wed 28-Jan-15 15:09:26

So, what do you DO when he has done this?
Have you asked him why he is doing it? Have you explained he must not do it and why?
He may be doing it for attention? If he keeps doing it then somehow he must feel he is getting away with it.
I would certainly make him help clean it up, but as others have said - don't let him have access to stuff he can smear all over the bathroom.

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