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How do you manage your cheeky, insolent 4.8yr old?

(10 Posts)
BusyCee Sun 19-Jul-15 20:04:13

Had a lovely day with him yesterday, he was polite, kind, engaged and fun..., however, I'm ready to throttle him. We've been having trouble getting him to bed for a while now, with him staying up playing until 8-9pm, which means he's always tired and starts most day's, at 6am, grumpy as hell. This eve its business as usual, after a day or cheekiness, disobedience, whining, and endless demands for ice cream and cake.

Tonight is a new low, though. He just laughs when told to go back to bed and continues the poor behaviour. I've just snapped and bellowed at him...and to be honest was this close to dragging him out of bed and smacking him (my temper and hangover from my own childhood)

So as not to drip feed; he shares a room with his two year old brother. I know there'll be some messing about, but don't expect or tolerate the insolence. I've spent the last 3wls trying to positively encourage better bed time habits with stickers and the promise of a toy when he's got 5; he's got two over 5 days and gives not a shit. I'm 30wks preggo with #3 so short of energy and patience.

So. Any thoughts on how a) I can crack bedtime and b) how to manage the insolence?

BusyCee Sun 19-Jul-15 20:05:24

I don't smack, BTW, but dear god he drove me very bloody close to it this eve....

futureme Sun 19-Jul-15 20:10:29

Partof it is being a child. Short of scaring them to death its unlikely to ever stop until they grow out of it.

The book i found helped best was, "how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk."

From my perspective ive learnt to insist on the big things and i overlook some of the whining (especialky when tired or hungry. Im whiney then in my head.) If you can see what triggers there are you could pre empt them, ie if its transitions give a warning or change the routine, feed a snack of its between meals.

The books much more hekpful thougn and looking at language and the way we handle those kinds of issues.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 19-Jul-15 20:12:20

You say he's staying up until 8-9pm, what time do you put him to bed? What's his routine before bed?

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 19-Jul-15 20:13:35

I think 5 stars is too far off in the mind of a 4 year old - I would do 2 nights so he can see the fruits of his labourgrin

JontyDoggle37 Sun 19-Jul-15 20:14:23

Attention is what he's after, whether positive or in the form of you getting annoyed. So annoy the hell out of him by not responding at all. If he gets out of bed, physically put him back without speaking to him or arguing with him. You might just reiterate 'it's bedtime' but that's it. You might have to do this thirty times the first night, which I appreciate isn't great when you are this pregnant - can your DH/DP help? Once you get the staying in bed resolved, he'll be better during the day. A great book on this is The Politically Incorrect Guide to Parenting, written by a child psychologist who deals with sleep issues all day long.

BusyCee Sun 19-Jul-15 20:27:38

Thanks all. I feel an Amazon book purchasing moment coming on...

It all went to hell this eve. I've told him no stickers and no treats tomorrow, so have already fucked up.

Have resolved to start tomorrow with a clean slate. And remember that I do actually like him...and that he's not yet 5.

Will also reduce the stickerage until Amazon delivers...

(I know it's bad because DH, who usually chimes in with 'maybe you could not lose your temper/shout so much/be calmer...' at the moment when I'm at my lowest ebb, has actually been backing me up today, and has just come down from delivering his own bollocking).

But yeah. Change of tack needed.

missybct Sun 19-Jul-15 20:54:52

We're where you are at with DP's son atm - albeit he's nearly 6 but he essentially has "two" bedrooms to sleep in. His mother always lets him sleep in with her if he kicks up (70% of the time) so it's a ballache trying to educate him that he has his own bed, which he has to sleep in - we don't mind him coming into ours if he's poorly or had a particularly bad nightmare, but we don't tell him that - we just offer it to him at our discretion.

Anyway - it's a tough one. DSS isn't really insolent as such, he just HATES going to bed; he feels like he is missing out if he's upstairs and we're down here (couldn't be further from the truth, we're so knackered we usually veg out). We have a tactic that one of us will put the bed, and once that person has said goodnight, it is only that person who responds to any (inevitable) calling out.

DSS works on a 3 strike system although he isn't aware of it. He gets one call out which is responded to either by bringing him what he needs (drink, turning light off/on) or answering a question. He has five minutes to use it and then whoever is doing bedtime goes downstairs. 2nd call out is answered from the bottom of the stairs, so no going up, no getting into conversation, just a firm "bedtime, love you, night night" (usually proceeded by further calling out, which often dies down after we say "bedtime, please"). 3rd call out is ignored, unless we can hear distress, illness or issues - again, he isn't aware of what constitutes this - his Mother, bless her heart, says "If you feel ill tell me" (she's very, very overprotective cotton-wool, which is her way and none of my business) so he nearly always will say "I've got a headache" - cue calpol, cue him getting into her bed. Usually, after the third call out, he'll recognise we're not coming up and will either fall asleep or play with lego/read a book, and is asleep within quarter of an hour.

It really does depend on his mood, I'm afraid - we've had 10pm screaming fits where he's thrown every trick at the book at us, and we've had occasions where he's taken himself up to bed at half 7 on his own volition (bliss grin) - it depends on the week he's had at his Mum's, how often she lets him sleep in her bed and how much activity he has done - we've seen that if we wear him out, eliminate most forms of sweets after 5pm and read to him or play something calming with a drink of milk, he's ready by about half 7. It's 8:45pm at the moment and he is still awake, but one of the drawbacks of having a blended family where we only see DSS at the weekend (we wish it was more) is that he often feels angry at the idea of going to sleep - he just wants to spend more time with us, which is obviously often how we feel too so small allowances are made - tonight, simply because there is only a few days of school left.

We also found out there were certain things in his room he didn't like placed in certain ways - like teddies facing the bed or toys on the windowsill as they cast a shadow - stuff we wouldn't think about necessarily. May be worth, if you haven't already, just to idly drop into conversation (ie not during bedtime rountine, otherwise every single thing in his room will be an issue and he'll milk it!) in the morning whether he'd prefer something moved around in his room, or whether something is bothering him about when he sleeps. We found out DSS was having chronic nightmares about three months ago because he was watching a couple of YouTube videos that although were innocent enough, for some reason sprung a nightmare in his head - now we completely shut down YouTube after dinner, and he is only allowed to watch videos when we are present in the room - not sure if his mother is doing this, but imagine she is too as nightmares have lessened. Sometimes the really simple things fuel their imagination!

Hope some of that helps - I also recommend the two books mentioned here.

missybct Sun 19-Jul-15 21:00:11

Feel like I should also add that I completely understand why DSS mother can be overprotective - he had very bad skin issues from 18 months till 3 years so was hyper-vigilante, but he thankfully has grown out of it.

BusyCee Mon 20-Jul-15 13:51:45

Thanks all - and good luck with everything missy I wish my stepmother had been as considerate as you

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