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My 2.5 year old toddler is such a struggle just now!!!! Advice please!

(32 Posts)
GlummyMummy Tue 15-Nov-16 11:53:40

At my wits end with my 2.5 year old daughter at the moment. She isn't necessarily naughty, she is just such hard work!!!

Everything is a battle, from getting her nappy changed, putting her clothes on, what she is going to eat, getting her in the car/buggy etc. I know this is probably normal behaviour but she doesnt seem to be like other toddlers her age. She is constantly tired and whining for her dummy, and all she wants to do in a day is watch TV - she will ask to watch it from when she first wakes up but I am limiting her to an hour a day (this is her favourite part of the day and just about the only thing that brings a smile to her face!!!!)

If I try to take her out in the buggy, she gurns to get out, then when I let her out she cries to be carried! She is highly sensitive so if I tell her off or do anything she doesn't like (such as try to change her clothes) she cries for her dummy. She wont walk properly holding my hand so it takes us ages to walk anywhere and then she always wants lifted up after a few minutes.

Whenever I take her anywhere such as a friends house or a toddler playgroup, she will ask to go home after a little while. Then when we get home, she just asks for the TV/DVD again.

Oh and as for her eating, she has become very fussy and wont feed herself! We have to spoon it in her mouth, even if its toast!!!

This grumpiness and tiredness started when she dropped her nap 4 months ago but it's definitely come to a head in the last couple of weeks. She does have a runny nose and a cough so perhaps is extra tired. She moved to a bed from her cot recently, so has gone from sleeping right through to being up once a night, albeit only briefly.

I'm just not sure what is causing it or how to tackle it. She has gone from being a baby who never cried to a very sensitive, grumpy toddler. She is frequently telling me she feels sad! Is this normal???

Youhaveupdates1 Wed 16-Nov-16 20:30:25

Following with interest as I could have written your post about my ds1!! He is exactly the same.
Hoping someone comes along with some advice soon

Luckystar1 Wed 16-Nov-16 20:34:50

Ah I was hoping you'd have had heaps of advice as I'm going through this too. My DS is also refusing to eat and keeps saying he's sad too (as are his toys). That upsets me the most!

BathshebaDarkstone Wed 16-Nov-16 20:40:24

That sounds like every toddler I ever met! grin Re the nappies, could you start potty training? I did that when DS1 started getting difficult.

Highlove Wed 16-Nov-16 22:56:37

Sounds like hardwork. Is it worth trying to reintroduce the nap - she might not want it but sounds like she still needs it.

I'd not be spoon feeding. Basically if she's hungry she'll eat. And missing the odd meal till she gets the message won't hurt her in the long-run.

My DD (2.8) has been doing the "I want to go home" whine for a while. I've taken to totally ignoring it now - I'm pretty convinced she doesn't generally mean it, rather it is (or was till I started ignoring it!) getting a reaction. Could it be the same for the "I'm sad" thing? Obviously it upsets you when she says it - is the reaction/fuss it gets prompting her to say it? Might a fairly breezy response along the lines of "oh dear sweetheart I'm sorry to hear that, oh look there's a bus" and move on help? Just a thought.

I guess though as always it's about picking your battles - which bits of her behaviour bother you most? Maybe focus on one or two areas and let the others go for a bit?

Quodlibet Wed 16-Nov-16 23:18:06

Is it worth stopping the TV watching for a bit if she is fixating on it? My toddler also loves screen time and her behaviour is often at its worst when it's time to stop watching tv/using iPad. She doesn't use either every day and to be honest I think both are detrimental to her general behaviour/whininess on days she does have screen time, even if it's 15 mins or so. What would be the consequence if you cut it out? (Apart from you having an extra hour of the day to fill with a whingy toddler, which I know isn't easy!!).

ThatsWotSheSaid Wed 16-Nov-16 23:24:54

I would also say get rid of the TV. My DD who is nearly 6 was obsessed with TV we have reduced it to 1 hour a week on a Sunday and the difference in her is dramatic. My DD has some sensory intergration issues. Could your DD have some sensory issues too?

foxessocks Wed 16-Nov-16 23:27:06

I would try reintroducing a nap! My dd is noticeably grumpier when tired. She doesn't have a nap every day but probably every other day. If she doesn't have a nap then by bedtime she can be hard work! If she won't go to bed at home would she fall asleep in the car?

My dd also loves TV and I don't have a limit as such but if she starts whining then she doesn't get it!

I think a lot of what you've described is pretty standard for the age though! (From what I've seen from friends toddlers as well as my own)

GlummyMummy Thu 17-Nov-16 16:36:23

Thanks everyone, comforting to hear we are not alone! Though most of her wee friends seem much easier children, and she just seems so demanding and high maintenance!

I do still think she needs a nap and a lot of it stems from tiredness. However, she flatly refuses to nap, and I didn't mind so much when she was sleeping through, but she now always wakes up at least once a night. Latterly I was driving around in the car to get her to sleep but gave up cause I was driving up to an hour every day, usually needlessly!

I think the main problem just now is her over-reliance on her dummy which we were hoping she could ditch for Christmas. She used to only have it for nap and night time but now she cries for it whenever things done go her way. When I say she can't have it unless she's sleeping, it turns into a meltdown.

The TV isn't ideal as she is having an hour a day, but I find it very hard to entertain her in the house as she doesn't really play with toys much.

Perhaps it's just a phase, but I am knackered and she just seems anxious and unsettled.

abbsismyhero Thu 17-Nov-16 16:50:00

Not a nap as such but quiet time worked for my youngest he curls up on the sofa and lies quietly for a bit it recharge's his batteries so to speak

GlummyMummy Thu 17-Nov-16 17:01:33

Does he just lie and not do anything? My daughter will only lie still if there's something to watch on tv!

GlummyMummy Thu 17-Nov-16 17:04:15

She has a restless, hyper nature so I think the tv helps her zone out. It's the only time she ever really stays still, otherwise she dots about the house all day and only concentrates on something for 30 seconds

tintinenamerique Thu 17-Nov-16 19:02:05

Would she lie (or sit) and listen to audio books as an alternative to TV?

GlummyMummy Thu 17-Nov-16 19:51:34

I have tried her with audio books before (though not during "quiet time")

Worth a try, though not sure how she would react....these things tend to be background music for her doing something else.

Today has been particularly bad, we were out from 10-3 but in the hour before we went out and in the hour before teatime, she just spent the whole time crying! The neighbours must wonder what I'm doing to her! That's when I often resort to putting the TV on for her as I was trying to get the tea on but she was crying and whining and pulling things out of cupboards around me! It's definitely bad when she's tired or hungry, but I refused to give her her dummy so it was total meltdown/ end of the world type stuff!

user114114 Thu 17-Nov-16 19:53:02

No advice but you are not alone! My 27 month old is EXACTLY the same

I get exhausted just looking at him sometimes

Lalunya85 Thu 17-Nov-16 20:08:29

That sounds really exhausting. I also have a challenging toddler who was a but like that at 2.5. I can honestly say it got a lot easier in the last few months (he will be 3 in January). Things that helped:

Potty training
TV detox followed by regular TV free days (he is more and more able to play upstairs by himself; not a lot, but he will at times)
His language has really developed and he is much better able to communicate what he thinks and wants

It sounds like your DD has made a few major transitions (no more napping and from cot to bed). In my experience, whenever kids make a transition towards more grown up, independent behaviour, they regress in other ways (perhaps your DD's constant need for dummies, to be carried etc?). Could that have something to do with it? She wants to behave like a baby?

The thing that would perhaps worry me is that she doesn't seem to play much; she doesn't seem to like being outside, or play with other kids, or play indoors with toys. Or did I misunderstand f his from your OP? Is there anything other than screen time that she DOES enjoy? Even if it's just sometimes?

What is the rest of the family like? Siblings? Her dad? Do you stay home with her or does she go to nursery...? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get a fuller picture. No need to answer of course if you'd rather not say.

GlummyMummy Thu 17-Nov-16 20:56:51

Yeah, we are out and about a lot (sorry, should have said that) - we go to various toddler groups, play parks, dance class etc. She is sociable and happy to go into these groups and play without me. It's more her behaviour at home that is a concern. She is an only child at home with me full time.

abbsismyhero Thu 17-Nov-16 23:10:43

yes he literally just lies there and zones out a little anything up to an hour then he is back up and running its the oddest thing he is my third and none of the others have done that? he is natural at meditating maybe?

Luckystar1 Fri 18-Nov-16 08:34:52

OP I know it won't be easy but I have recently completely stopped any tv watching. The tv is broken in our house now wink

DS's behaviour was becoming increasingly intolerable and I actually found that tv was makin things easier in one respect (i.e. He'd shit up for a while) it was actually making things hideously awful when the time came to turn it off. So I've stopped altogether.

It's really hard as I'm constantly trying to find things to do with him. But the more I try the more I find (iykwim).

Could you try a few 'day trips' all day outings like the zoo or something where she can run around but it can waste hours and hours. See the no nap as freedom!

My DS has just turned 2 but I also have a 14 week old so it's full on.

Good luck!!

Lalunya85 Fri 18-Nov-16 11:14:38

It's hard! There isn't an easy way I don't think.

I agree with what lucky said about all day outings, just to introduce some TV free days.

When you are at home, try and plan your day with her the previous evening. Have a few structured slots throughout the day e.g. "jigsaw time", "cookie making time", "playing with trains" etc. Announce what you are going to do together and then try and stick with it. Free, unstructured play could be too much for her at the moment.

This is how they keep them happy and engaged at nursery and it works at home for us, even though it is obviously a lot harder to implement at home because you have other things to do than entertaining your DD. As much as possible try to involve her in whatever chores you are doing. My DS loves helping out and feeling like a grown up!

Quodlibet Fri 18-Nov-16 13:00:13

I was going to suggest similar. My DD is 3 next month and has only in the last month or so really started playing independently, before that I needed to play with her or structure activities. I think it's very normal at this age for them to need a lot of your attention.

GlummyMummy Fri 18-Nov-16 21:11:47

She is very hard to entertain! Doesn't last long at anything and certainly wouldn't play by herself while I did something else. Also, taking her out for a day trip is hard by myself cause she doesn't walk well alongside me and tends to go into hyper mode!

badg3r Fri 18-Nov-16 21:34:10

If she hates the pram and wants to be held when you're out, would you consider a toddler sling? DS is about to turn two and I sometimes stick him in the sling round the house if he is tired too so he can zone out but still be with me while I potter around. I'd agree with trying to cut out tv for a while too. To be honest though, with big changes that have been happening it will probably turn out to be a phase she grows out of without any changes to routine. And as far as other kids seeming happier... Nobody knows what hoes on behind closed doors!!

GlummyMummy Sat 19-Nov-16 20:29:24

I've not been able to carry her in a sling for a while now as she's so heavy! Nice idea though. Appreciate all the suggestions folks. Anyone any ideas on how to reduce over-dependence on the dummy? Hope all of you with kids of similar ages are now enjoying a peaceful Saturday night!

Stepmum123 Mon 28-Nov-16 18:24:48

I would definitely say have a go at potty training. Also in terms of getting dressed etc, get her to pick her own clothes out, sounds like what she really wants is independence but doesn't know how to go about it so is playing up. And definitely agree that if she's hungry she will feed herself it sounds awful but it's being cruel to be kind

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