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3 and a half year old uncontrollable(23 Posts)
I'm hoping to get some advice about my 3 and a half year old. Her behaviour has been hard for about 6 months, but it seems to have got much worse of late, and I'm struggling to deal with her.
Everything is hard with her just now. She never wants to go out, I've cut back on play dates cause she's rough with other kids, she hits family members and then laughs when we try to discipline her, she won't play by herself at all (the only time i get any break from her is when I let her watch TV and she would happily sit and watch it all day, it's all she ever wants to do) and she doesn't listen when we try to explain things to her.
She hates having to do any exercise, grumbles about walking and even the shortest walk takes an age! Yet she is totally hyper, throws herself around, jumps on top of us, and if we go out anywhere she is just uncontrollable!
She goes to nursery but isn't getting on very well there and since she's been going, she's got very anxious and worried about being away from me. Seriously considering taking her out and keeping her at home. Not sure what type of child care setting would suit her best, if any!!
She hasn't slept through the night for months, so I do think tiredness has a lot to do with her problems, but we've tried everything to try and get her to sleep better.
Has anyone been through the same with their child? It's a shame, as she's a bright, funny girl, but every day is exhausting at the moment!!!
If it’s been 6 months, did anything change about 6 months ago? If she’s having trouble sleeping, have you read the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers?
Has it anything to do with her diet maybe?
Thanks both for your replies. I can't pinpoint any specific change or event that coincided with behaviour change - the only change has been starting nursery 4 months ago - things are certainly worse since then.
I do suspect diet may be involved to some extent and am trying to cut back on sugar for sure. She was sensitive to apple as a baby (skin rashes) so I do wonder if she's still sensitive to it now in terms of behaviour ( not sure if it can work like that) Trouble is apple juice is hidden in so much of kids food!
Stop the TV and any other screens, phones tablets etc. It'll be hard but persevere. My ds was same, I stopped the TV and the change was unbelievable, I've recently lapsed over Christmas and the behaviour is starting again.
I done this after reading an article about an increase in autism diagnosis in, Romania I think, kids in hospital, were being diagnosed autistic, the common link was screen time, after weeks of no screen time the kids were off the spectrum and no autism. There's loads of research into the effects that screen time has on kids.
I let our ds pick a movie at the weekend and we do popcorn ect, make a big thing of it.
Honesty the difference is unbelievable.
Thanks Laura, I do think it would help her to cut out screen time, but the main reason I'm reluctant to is that it's the only time she sits still and concentrates on anything, and does anything by herself. She seems to need it as her quiet time. I don't know what I would do with her if we didn't have that hour of the day!!!
What does she eat and drink day to day?
So she has cereal and toast for breakfast, mid morning snack of something like a soreen bar or kids oaty bar, lunch is usually cheese sandwich or egg on toast, afternoon snack of some pom bears or rice cakes, then tea which is usually pasta with salmon and veg, or fish finger, potatoes and veg etc. Pudding is a yoghurt, fruit and some wee Ella's kitchen or Goodies biscuits. She has milk, water or fruit smoothies to drink.
That’s a awful lot of carbs and sugar. I’m not sure my behaviour would be terribly good if I ate like that.
She does eat a lot of carbs but she's quite a fussy eater so I've tried her with other snacks and meals but settled with what she will actually eat! I only buy toddler snacks rather than just giving her cakes and biccies but appreciate they are probably still high in sugar. Very hard to find things she will like!
I didn't think it sounded too bad at all!
As long as it's not Frosties or cocopops or something as the cereal. I'd stop any sugary yoghurts, sugary snacks and smoothies but otherwise sounds good to me.
Any good snack ideas that she might like? When you offer her something she says "no I'd like something else really sweet!!"
Would apple skin allergy as a baby develop into a hyperactive reaction as an older child?
Of course she would really like something sweet, she's 3. What works with my 4 year old is making up a snack box for the day - so outside of the cereal, sandwich and evening meal everything else comes from the snack box, including dessert for the evening meal.
The snack box has healthy snacks - little bits of cheese, oatcakes and peanut butter, there's also one piece of fruit and two, small treats, e.g. Yoghurt, a cake bar, small chocolate, crisps etc but only two things. He can choose anything he wants from the snack box but once the treat stuff is gone, it's gone. It's really helped me stop fighting about biscuits, crisps etc because he knows he can have two things and then it's healthy snacks only. I also make sure there's some protein in there because it does help stabilise his mood.
If you think she's too young to manage that, it works equally well to help you think about what you're offering her. I wouldn't give a soreen bar, yoghurt, pom bears and biscuits in one day - it's too much processed sugar and carbs.
In terms of screen time, I've stopped it all together except for 30 mins tv with DH or I with them while watching. It's hard but both my DC behaviour is so much better without it. She may need to learn how to play with her toys and entertain herself - it's an important skill for little ones and worth going through the pain barrier for.
Like the idea of the snack box. Not sure how that would work out of the house though, as when we go to toddler groups etc, she seems to see food as a comfort and just likes to help herself to things when I'm not looking! What other protein things do you give?
And yes I know less screen time is needed but as I say, it's the only time she settles down to something and really relaxes and the only time I get any time to get things done. Otherwise she follows me about asking me to play with her constantly! Can't even go to the toilet by myself!
For protein I give peanut butter, cheese, houmous, plain Greek yoghurt (with some thawed frozen berries), boiled eggs depending on where we are and what we're doing. If you're out and about get her to pick something from her box to take with her for snack while she's out.
I get the never a minutes peace, she hasn't learned to play by herself yet. Use the tv if it keeps you sane but maybe introduce time for her to play by herself too. I started out by setting up a toy or game, playing with it together for a wee while and then leaving him to do x task with the toy while I went to put the kettle on or some other quick job. Lots of praise if he managed to do it and lots of redirection back if he followed me around. I'd increase the number of tasks, amount of time I was away or frequency so he got used to me being in the room next door without him and then being in a different part of the house. It's hard going but he can now entertain himself for 20 mins or so without screens, which is usually enough time for me to pee and get a cup of tea.
laughs when we try to discipline her
How is she disciplined now op?
When you say she's not getting on very well at nursery, what exactly do you mean? What have they said about It? I would be a dressing the nursery issue first if her going has coincided with a worsening of her behaviour.
To be honest InDubiousBattle, we tend to ignore most of her behaviour and just walk away from her. Apart from hitting or throwing things in which case it's timeout which she seems to quite like! I've tried threatening to take away TV time but she's doesn't seem at all bothered! And she will just go ahead and repeat the bad behaviour straight after so it's clearly not sinking in.
She doesn't enjoy nursery, won't talk about it at all, gets annoyed if we bring it up and never wants to go. Has gone from being very sociable to pretty anxious. We've had several incidents at nursery with her behaviour, and staff say she is just taking a while to settle in, but I'm not sure it should still be like this after this length of time.
Imho 4 months is too long, she should be settled. Does she have a key worker you can speak to?
At home I don't think ignoring bad behaviour or time outs are working. With my two I split things into small tasks with a mini reward/sanction at the end so in the morning we need to have breakfast, tidy up, get dressed, brush teeth- I leave enough time to do this and watch a Hey Dougee (their particular drug of choice). When everything's done they get the tv on, sometimes for the full episode, sometimes 20 seconds. We have done this for long enough that now they just get on and behave.
We have also found star charts to be very useful with ds (now just 4 but has had it for 6 month). Would she be motivated by something like this?
We had a star chart for sleeping through the night but it's been so long since she slept through that she's lost motivation for it! She's been up 3 or 4 times the last few nights.
Jellycatspyjamas - I forgot to reply to you. I know exactly the reaction I'll get if I try to offer her peanut butter and hummus but I know it's not going to be an overnight fix. And yes, she definitely needs to learn to play by herself - she used to be okay at it but seems to have lost the skill. Doesn't really settle to anything for very long these days.
It's ok if she doesn't eat it but the principle remains that she has a selection of snack food, x of which are sweet and she chooses from that what she eats. The snacks include whatever you would give for dessert, sweet drinks like smoothies etc so you're really monitoring her sugar intake. No snacks outside of what's in her box so if she doesn't eat for example, the breadsticks and cream cheese, there's not a sweet alternative. She gets choice, but controlled choice.
I really like the idea of this snack box! My 2 year old diet is not as good as it should be and I need to change his snacks up.
Yes me too! I really like the controlled choice element! I think it will take a bit of getting used to at our end though as she has a real sweet tooth and is quite a creature of habit.
Jellycatspyjamas - has your little one got behavioural issues, hence your snack options or is this just something healthy you've always offered?
My two DC are adopted, they don't have behavioural issues as such but do need a lot of support. They were very small for their age - if I gave them the choice they would eat sweets until they were sick. In trying to figure out what they like and don't like, and getting them to try new food a friend suggested a snack box approach. It's worked really well here in that they will try whatever is in there but don't eat (sweets and crisps etc) if they aren't hungry.