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ds deliberately making a mess - whats the best way to handle it?

(10 Posts)
insywinsyspider Fri 24-Oct-08 14:29:39

ds1 is 2.5 yrs and enjoys making a mess ie all toys out of the toy box, putting food off his plate on the table, throwing all the sofa cushions on the floor - and then declaring, with glee, 'what a mess!' its driving me mad, I then spend the next half an hour standing over him telling him he can't do anything till he's tidied up which eventually he does but I have ds2 10 months and I can't keep doing this, he's been doing it for weeks so it obviously has no affect.
anyone been in the same boat? any suggestions? and how do I occupy at 2.5 yr old and a 10 mo so he doesn't get bored and want to just make a mess - I'm sure thats part of the problem, shoudl I be able to expect a 2.5 yr old to play constructively with something for at least 15 mins? I see others doing it but he flits from one toy to another, maybe all the toys we have are not challenging him enough?? advice please!

RubyShivers Fri 24-Oct-08 14:32:13

i think you are expecting too much

and to stand over him for 30 mins is tiresome for both of you

i think getting him into the habit of tidying at this age is fine - I do this with my DS and make it into a game

Overmydeadbody Fri 24-Oct-08 14:35:01

Think about what reaction he is getting to making a mess, does it mean he gets your undivided attention for a while? DOes it guarantee a reaction out of you?

If so, I would recommend ignoring. If he no longer gets the reaction he intended, he might stop. In the meantime maybe giving him slots of your undivided attention througout the day to just play with him or read him a book might help? (It must be hard with a 10 month old as well!)

I doubt it is that the toys are not challenging enough, they are as challenging as he makes them at this stage. He could find a cardboard box and roll of masking tape challenging and entertaining at this age.

twentynine Fri 24-Oct-08 14:35:24

Personally my two year old and I have the 'twice a day we clear away' rule - wherein at lunchtime and before tea all toys go away - she helps and we 'race' to get them away. But most kids her age (and up to three) do just tip everything else. Especially if it gets a rise out of mummy. If you can feign indifference he'll probably stop doing it!

Overmydeadbody Fri 24-Oct-08 14:36:51

and I Agree with Ruby.

mazzystartled Fri 24-Oct-08 14:42:04

its a tricky stage with that age gap, with the little one just getting mobile and wanting stuff

my tips would be
don't get rattled
make sure you get out and ds runs around in fresh air every day - maybe in the morning
make a point of sitting down and playing with him everyday for ten- fifteen minutes
[mine was totally obsessively absorbed by duplo at this stage and would play with it for ages]
go out a lot
with the tidying up thing, what works for us is to say time to tidy up please in a firm but bright voice and then walk away.

nigglewiggle Fri 24-Oct-08 14:43:11

I agree with ODB about the attention thing. He has a new little brother to compete with. How about just calmly (says me!) taking a particular toy / food away saying "oh you obviously don't want this any more" and leave it at that. Try to balance it by making a fuss when he does something good.

insywinsyspider Fri 24-Oct-08 14:45:53

Thanks for your very speedy advice - I think we have got into a vicious circle of me giving him too much attention for it
he is very good at tidying the rest of the time, so will ignore it for a few days and see how it goes, twentynine - we have specific tidy up times too, before we go out to toddler group, before nap and before bed which he'll do no problem.
overmydeadbody - I try and do one to one with him but its hard with 10 mo too, they both nap at the same time in the afternoon too (ie now) otherwise that would be a great time

MogTheForgetfulCat Fri 24-Oct-08 14:47:40

Hmmm, my DS1 is 2.8 and still doesn't really concentrate on playing alone for 15+ mins very often - he still seems to need a lot of my input unless there is something that he can ride in the vicinity, and then he is happy for longer smile

The food thing would drive me bonkers, and I give my DS1 one warning for messing about with food and then take the plate away. But other, less messy mess like sofa cushions and toys I tend to ignore (even though it grieves me - I don't like mess), especially if I think he is trying to get a rise out of me. Sounds like 2 possibilities: either he is trying to get a rise out of you (and succeeding - he draws all the attention to himself, which is something my DS1 is superb at! <proud mummy emoticon> hmm) or he has misread your tone when you have said "What a mess!" (he's presumably repeating it from you) and thinks that a mess is a good thing, and enjoys the "game" of making a mess and clearing it up. From your post, presume the former?

No real suggestions to make - but know that with my DS1, making clearing up into a game (who can do it fastest, who can find the most toy cars) helps a lot. Can be hard to be all Mary Poppins about it when actually I want to shriek, but gets better results. Only other thing I can think of is missing some activity that you know he likes and explaining that you couldn't go to X because you had to tidy up the mess he'd made? Not sure at 2.5 he'd get that, though.

Sorry, not v helpful... Definitely consider some indoor ride-on thing if you haven't already got one. DS1 is v into motorbikes at the moment, and pretends his little wooden trike is a motorbike and goes vrooming around the house for ages - only just got into imaginative play like that, though.

insywinsyspider Sun 26-Oct-08 20:38:06

thanks mog - unfortunently our house is too small to have ride ons inside, this weekend I ditched the double buggy and made him walk everywhere and I was really supprised how great he was at it, he was also a lot calmer last night but a bit wild tonight but it did give us a welcome distraction from being at home and he got to run off some wild blood, I think a buggy board might be part of the answer!

As for the mess, I'm trying really hard to ignore it but our house is small and I'm constantly tripping over stuff which really really annoys me as none of it is being played with its just there as a hazard and ds2 is cruising but wobbly and has fallen several times this weekend and landed heavily on a bunch of toys and screamed. Our 'sheduled' tidy up times also got a lot more daunting as there is twice as much mess, I try and sit ds1 by something like the duplo and get him to put the bricks away but he gets distracted and its a bit more of a battle, I guess I just have to keep trying it but finding it so frustrating!
I think it is all attention and I know the 'what a mess' phrase came from me blush I tried a week of not getting cross with him and doing 'oh what a mess, we'd better tidy that up before we can do X' in my best sing song calm voice - I think that week it became a game blush.... <<deep breath and count to 10>> tomorrow is a new day smile

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