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Help please! What do you do with a 4 year old who won't listen? Mother going insane.

(18 Posts)
winestein Sat 01-Aug-09 12:35:32

Both my partner and I are finding it increasingly difficult to get our 4.7 year old to listen to us. A lot of the time he is fantastic, but other times he just seems to go into his own world of wilfulness, and it seems to be in spite of himself.

It seems no matter what I try it doesn't work, and has now become exhausting... he has started getting up at 5 - 5.30 and just not listening when I tell him to go back to bed. He just keeps coming back into our room and talking to us - incessantly.

It's not like he's not tired. I have just had to put him to bed because he has just fallen asleep - he's exhausted, we're exhausted and everyone is at the edge of insanity.

What would you do? I'm not expecting too much for his age am I?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Sat 01-Aug-09 12:40:58

Is he a bright button? Would he get it if you just explained to him that people don't get up at that time so he needs to go back to bed? Have you told him that you can't talk to him at this time because you should still be asleep and if he carries on doing this you won't be able to play with him because you will be too tired. Does he have a blackout blind in his room?

If he's having a nap then he's not going to sleep properly and he's going to wake early.

winestein Sat 01-Aug-09 12:47:48

He is a bright button, yes, and explaining is one of the many things I have tried... it makes no difference whatsoever.

He has blackout curtains so it's certainly not a light-issue thing.

<sob>

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Sat 01-Aug-09 12:59:39

An alarm clock? He can only get up when the clock goes off.

To be honest, the naps are not a good idea so I suggest cold turkey with them. He'll be starting school in September? My son slept alot better once he was at school because he was being kept busy, this will help. In the mean time, set an alarm clock for 7am, he's not to get out of bed until then, keep taking him back into his room (don't talk to him) if you must but do remember to say that you will talk to him at a more civilised time first. He should get the hint, he's getting up at this time because he wants your attention, if you take this away he'll realise his plan is pointless and (hopefully) stay in bed. You could also put some cars and a garage in his room in the hope that he'll just play when he wakes rather then wake you. Carry him back to his room.

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 13:04:34

have you tried the bunny clock, maybe combined with rewards for not getting out of bed until the bunny is awake?

Look at it this way, the message you are giving him (go back to bed) is not one that he wants to hear. Perhaps the message "if you stay in bed until X you will get a treat" may be one he does want to hear!

winestein Sat 01-Aug-09 13:07:22

I will try the alarm clock idea - sounds great!

The really frustrating thing is he has all the stuff in his bedroom - garage, cars, puzzles etc and will play with them but brings them in and usually injures one or both of us with some latest lump of plastic.

I've got myself in the habit of allowing him to have Milkshake on in the morning for a while, and he does ask for it as soon as he wakes up... hmm

Maybe if I told him if he got up (and stayed up) too early there would be no Milkshake? Or just stopped putting it on at all? Maybe it's his incentive to get up.

My partner thinks the way to go about this is to start taking things off him if he doesn't listen. I don't necessarily think it's the answer. What do you think about that method?

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 13:09:05

I think btw that the bunny clock may be easier to understand than an alarm clock, as it's a visual reminder that it's NOT time to get up.

It also has the benefit of being silent so that if he does sleep until after the set time, there is nothing to actually wake him up.

You can start by setting it to a halfway time like 6am, and then gradually set it later and later.

Unless he is very keen to obey though, I think some kind of reward helps at first, then later when it's habit you can phase out the stickers or whatever you choose to give him.

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 13:10:45

I think if you can do it in a positive way then that's probably easier all round. Plus a major tantrum every morning isn't going to get you any more sleep, is it? grin

MollieO Sat 01-Aug-09 13:10:57

Good luck with the alarm clock. We tried the same and it didn't work at all. Ds simply learnt how to set it to go off at the time he wanted to get up. It worked out easier to let him go downstairs and make his breakfast and watch some tv instead. Makes for a less stressful early morning.

winestein Sat 01-Aug-09 13:12:01

The bunny clock? Is this a marketing scam then BunnyGoneBad? wink grin.

I have tried the reward thing Visiter - it gets me nowhere with him. I find myself leaning towards threats more and more out of desperation.

Can someone reassure me that threats are not the way forward?

winestein Sat 01-Aug-09 13:16:14

Righty ho - I'm orf to google the Bunny Clock! Sounds great!

Problem I have Molly, is that he is now waking up WELL before any time for TV and making the rest of the day hell by being overtired. If he was leaping out of bed at 7 I would have no problem letting him watch a bit of Milkshake (giving me enough time for my Caffeine injection to kick in which was the initial reason for his morning TV).

Lol at your DS re-setting the clock. What a nightmare!

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 13:17:06

There are several kinds of bunny clock - I have this kind which is digital and cannot be reset by the child.

It can function as an alarm clock if you choose that setting, or you can set it to be silent.

Basically at a time of your choosing the picture flicks from being a blue sleeping bunny to a yellow waking up bunny.

It has worked for us - I think the problem is, in the summer they can tell it's mornign by the sound of the birds etc, and they don't have a way of knowing whether it's 5am or 9am, so they get up to find out, and then once up, they're up iyswim.

In your shoes I would say, if you stay in bed until the yellow bunny then you can have milkshake when you wake up. If you get up while the bunny is still blue and sleepy then no milkshake.

I think the problem with an alarm is that when he does wake up he won't know whether it's already rung or not - I mean I know you and I would realise that you wouldn't sleep through it, but a child won't necessarily understand that. There will be nothing to tell him it's still night.

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 13:30:31

I agree with the Amazon reviews btw, it's a great concept but it feels very tinny and lightweight for something that costs £30.

Having said that, ours works fine and has done for 6 months+.

I would recommend wall-mounting it or putting it up high so the kids can't fiddle with the switch or unplug it btw, as it's powered by the mains and everytime it's unplugged you have to reset the little digital clock which is a royal pain.

winestein Sat 01-Aug-09 13:47:38

I have bought one which I am collecting from John Lewis tomorrow.

What price sanity, eh?

Cross your fingers for me everyone grin

onehitwonder Sat 01-Aug-09 13:51:47

Hi Winestein

(Mandymac here in disguise)

By coincidence I have also started a thread today on my 4 year old. Fancy joining me for a bucket or indeed stein of wine sometime soon? Sounds like we could both do with it!

MollieO Sat 01-Aug-09 13:51:59

DVD? CBBC has stuff on early, not actual programmes but trailer type things. Sometimes he puts the radio on and has a dance instead.

The bunny clock was what we tried. Complete waste of money imo. I reckon it works for the sort of child who would go back to bed anyway if you spoke to them sternly!

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 13:58:54

good luck!!

Hopefully the combo of milkshake bribery and the information that it's still night will work grin.

We are not 100% but DS1 is sleeping until gone 6 at least 80% of the time now, whereas at one point it was less than 10% of the time. (6 is our target)

BTW Based on our mistakes, I would suggest setting it to a VERY attainable time for the first few trials, ie only 10 mins or so after he normally gets up. Otherwise they get disheartened and you have the begin the experiment with a punishment/failure.

It's better to begin with the rewards and a happy note, and then work the clock towards the time you are actually aiming for.

winestein Sat 01-Aug-09 14:24:17

Just give me the nod OHW and I'll be there with my stein!

Problem is Mollie, is that he would (and I do) see the DVD as a reward and as such an incentive to get out of bed early. Then we'd end up having another dreadful day due to extreme tiredess.

Here's to September, Fluffy!

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and input! Much appreciated smile

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