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How many times do you have to ask a five year old?

(27 Posts)
helsy Sat 22-Jan-05 09:29:47

I'm getting so fed up with dd1 taking SO long to do the basics like go and get changed after school, finish eating her food, or even reply to a question that I've started counting and she's averaging 15 - 20 requests and can take up to an hour to do some things. I'm quite strict and she's a bright reasonably well behaved girl, but I realised recently that I've become used to asking repeatedly for things to be done and resorting to issuing ultimata(?). Is this normal or too much, because it's doing my head in!

Earlybird Sat 22-Jan-05 09:36:29

I'm completely with you on this one! DD will be 4 next week, and she "suffers" from selective deafness. It is so frustrating to ask her the same thing over and over! Raising my voice is often the only way to get her attention - and then of course, I'm unhappy that I've spoken sharply/loudly to her because that's not the kind of mum I want to be. Don't have any solutions, but wanted to let you know that, in my experience, this is fairly typical behaviour.

Lonelymum Sat 22-Jan-05 09:42:41

Yes very typical. If you want to cut out some of the repeated requests, try telling her that she either does it straightaway or some toy/treat will be confiscated. I find that concentrates the mind wonderfully unless they have a tantrumy disposition in which case that usually sets one off!

Do I sound terribly strict? Good! Because I am!

sobernow Sat 22-Jan-05 09:43:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Titania Sat 22-Jan-05 09:44:17 least 50 times in this the point you end up yelling at the top of your voice just to be heard.....

SecondhandRose Sat 22-Jan-05 09:48:49

Try this, say the child's name and can you hear me? When they say yes look into their eyes and say what you want them to do and they are to do it now.

Make sure you praise them afterwards, again look in their eyes and check they can hear you.

What else are the children doing that they won't do what they are asked? Perhaps that needs cutting down?

My children always get dressed before coming downstairs in the morning for breakfast. This has made life a lot easier. Also they are no longer allowed TV before school or whilst eating as they stare and don't eat!


blueteddy Sat 22-Jan-05 09:52:22

Oh I am glad it is not just my ds!
I have a battle every morning to get dressed quickly & put on his shoes etc etc.
We also have to count & threaten him that he will go without his beloved gameboy when he returns from school, but still he does everything painfully slowly.
He has also started to answer back, or answer questions in a very stroppy manner, since starting school & it is driving me mad!
It seems that 5 year olds sure test you to the limit!

Earlybird Sat 22-Jan-05 10:04:46

DD certainly does not understand the concept of doing anything in a timely manner. Sometimes (usually weekends), it's merely slightly irritating. But, during the week when we have a schedule to keep, her dawdling/lack of response to requests often forces us into a stressful/rushing situation. It is so nice on the rare mornings when we go to school in a relaxed and peaceful way. Sometimes I think it's me who tries to fit too much in, and doesn't allow enough time so we're inevitably pushed. But, the situation is certainly aggravated by a child who doesn't respond until multiple requests have been made.

Secondhandrose - what you say makes alot of sense. I suppose though that in my morning juggling I try to multi-task, and then feel frustrated when dd doesn't cooperate! Maybe I'm asking too much, or perhaps it's her way of getting my attention - even if it's negative.

misdee Sat 22-Jan-05 10:05:29

it takes dd1 45mins to eat a slice of toast in the mornings. drives me mad!!

princesspeahead Sat 22-Jan-05 10:23:24

this is timely! I have the same problem now with my 6.5yr old dd and I have realised in the last few days that it has got to the stage where she doesn't do anything unless I've asked 10 times, issued various ultimatums, and started shouting at her. which I hate!
So after discussion with dh and with her, we are going to start a new regime... the "jar of marbles"! She starts with 15 marbles in her jar at the beginning of the week. When she is being very good, or does something nice, is helpful, follows instructions etc, she gets an extra marble. If I have to ask her to do the same thing more than 3 times, or shout at her, or if she otherwise commits a heinous crime, a marble is removed. At the end of the week we count the marbles - if she has fewer than 15 she doesn't get to go riding that week (she LOVES riding and this is about the only thing I know she will really work towards). If she has masses over 15 then she may get an additional treat as well (kinder egg or something). I have no idea if it works or not, but they ahve something similar at school (they do it in teams - the team with the most "bricks" at the end of the weeks gets a small packet of sweets at golden time on friday) and she is quite happy with it as an idea. And quite likes the idea of "earning" her riding lessons.

ANyway we start tomorrow (if I can source the marbles by then! Might have to be dried pasta lol) so I'll let you know how we get on.....!

fostermum Sat 22-Jan-05 10:30:32

my kids get 3 chances then i either make bed earlier or turn t.v,music,p.c what ever off after a couple of times of doing this there hearing usually improves

helsy Sat 22-Jan-05 11:30:02

Oh so I'm not the only one then, that's good to know! Part of the problem is that when I do the ask three times then take away the toy/turn TV off she just cries hysterically and I end up apologising to her for upsetting her! I know, pathetic.

PPH, let me know how the marbles/pasta go. I've always been reluctant to adopt "star charts" and similar incentive schemes but if it the moment if she doesn't do as she's told she's not going to her friend's party this afternoon, which I suppose is just the opposite of an incentive.

Sobernow I agree with you on the radio theory - I often shout out instructions as I'm doing something else so I'll try to stop that.

binkie Sat 22-Jan-05 11:56:19

and I thought it was just boys - this is an eye-opener

I use the same kind of tactic as secondhandRose - make very sure I have ds's full attention before I ask & use special serious non-negotiable (but not cross) voice. However his problem may be different - it isn't that he doesn't want to comply, it's more that he instantly forgets (and he gets quite upset about having forgotten) if I don't make sure the request has lodged

Instead of doing real-life incentives and rewards (which for me can get a bit stressful), you can also practise with games - like the "commands" game, where you give your child a number of instructions (all at once) and they have to go off and do them all - three or four is supposed to be the most 5-yr-olds can manage in one go. And each time they manage the whole sequence - and especially if they up their "record" - they get a reward for that.

Grommit Sat 22-Jan-05 13:03:20

One tip i saw on a tv program is that if the child is ignoring you - as my dd(5) does constantly - you ask them to look at you and if this does not work touch their head and move towards you. Works quite well

Blossomhill Sat 22-Jan-05 13:11:20

I count to 10. Usually works as they never want me to get to 10 to find out what I will do. I am glad as I don't know what I am going to do do either

Nimme Sat 22-Jan-05 13:14:55

I know someone who uses little chocolate stars as a reward for doing something after only being asked once - seems to work for her.

I use a star chart for brushing teeth and hair, washing and getting into pyjamas at night without a fuss. Works most of the time. We have used the star chart for over 2 years - have been used for whatever issues have been the worst at the time (IMO).

Also agree getting down to their level and establishing eye contact helps.

Still too much shouting in our house though - theories are good, carrying them out is another story....

Yurtgirl Sat 22-Jan-05 13:59:51

Message withdrawn

frogs Sat 22-Jan-05 14:21:01

One thing that's worked really well for me is one of those kitchen timer things that ticks away and rings when the time is up.

I set it to a reasonable time for the task in hand (eg. tidying room, getting dressed, emptying dishwasher, music practice etc.) and find it really helps keep them on task, as they're keen to get it finished before the bell rings.

KateandtheGirls Sat 22-Jan-05 14:33:58

I'm so glad my 5 year old isn't the only one...

Hausfrau Sat 22-Jan-05 20:36:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PrettyCandles Sat 22-Jan-05 20:47:57

Since dd went down with chickenpox earlier this week, our home has suddenly become far more peaceful. Ds is bitterly disappointed that we have had to cancel various activities because of the chickenpox, and I don't want him to get jealous of the extra attention that dd is getting. As a result, I'm asking far less of the children; instead of telling him to go and change out of uniform (as per our usual routine) I just undress and dress him myself; instead of calling them to come to me, I go and fetch them, and so on. I also get down to their level and cuddle them a lot (and even normally I'm a very cuddly mum, so they are really getting cuddled). I'm amazed at how much their behaviour has improved! There's been virtually no bullying, when dd has interfered with ds he hasn't flown off the handle at her, he's even gone and changed out of uniform by himself!

helsy Sat 22-Jan-05 20:48:27

strangely, she has returned from a party today and has been lovely, really well behaved. Sometimes I think we do so much counting (I only go to three!), witholding treats, sending her in
the hallway for time out, that she almost becomes immune to it and actually being a bit gentle and not barking orders all the time can have the desired effect. As someone else said, it's when you're in a rush that the playing up starts and you can't be as tolerant.

helsy Sat 22-Jan-05 20:49:52

Prettycandles, our posts crossed but we seem to be saying the same thing!

PrettyCandles Sat 22-Jan-05 20:59:35


Basically, 'Ease up, Mummy'

moosh Sun 23-Jan-05 10:19:52

MMMmmmmmmm.......... About 50 times but now I ask a few times nicely then I turn on the "mummy from hell stern voice" and I get an answer. It can be anything from getting changed out of school uniform or helping to tidy up to "What do you want for breakfast" and if I ignore him after asking 3 or 4 times he then says quite harshly "Mummmy where is my breakfast?" AAAARRRGGGHHHHH ! He is 5 going on 15 but as I said I ask a few times nicely then I ask firmly and it usually happens all be it under moans and groans!

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