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Fed up of saying no over and over again - help needed with 2 toddlers

(5 Posts)
squashedandboshed Tue 21-Dec-10 12:38:38

That's it in a nutshell - I am like a broken record telling almost 3 yr old not to do something - like not closing the bedroom door as I want to be able to hear her and her smaller sister (20 months) and having said it a couple of times and to go and open the door to see her smirking - I just shouted which I rarely do and hate myself for doing. But it seems every day is spent saying don't do that for too often (not helped by current weather - been stuck in the house since saturday).

It just wears me down and this incident has made me feel particularly fed up and add to that the squabbling, snatching, crying and mithering of them and I am ready to scream.

DrSeuss Tue 21-Dec-10 13:17:20

To a certain extent, sorry, that's toddlers for you but that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do. I started using a naughty mat (IKEA round bathmat, actually chosen by DS who didn't have a clue what it was but liked the colour!) at about 14/15 months as I was sure he knew when he had been told not to do something and was just trying it on. Mats are good as they can go to friends' houses or on holiday easily, but at a playcentre or similar you can always find somewhere suitable. I follow Jo Frost's technique-one clear warning with notification of the mat as a consequence, then, if the bahaviour is repeated, the mat for a minute per year of age. Get down on your haunches and explain in a clear, simple calm manner why this punishment is necessary. I use a kitchen timer. When it goes off, again get down and explain what has been done and why. Do not release them from the mat until you get an apology, then everyone gets a hug and kiss. Initially, she will try it on and will decamp from the mat (forgot to say that she must be left without interaction while on the mat). This does not mean that it's not going to work but that it's going to take a while. Keep going even if it takes an hour or more. If you back down you have made things worse by showing her that she can get her own way if she tries hard enough. It WILL work if you persist. The 20 mth old is not too small for this either.
You can also try a reward chart with something for acruing a certain number of points. At this age, it works just fine if you give her something she was going to get anyway eg sweets, trip to soft play, new book.
Do buy "Toddler Taming" by Dr Christopher Green. He is not overly didactic but says stuff like, "Try this, if that soesn't work thentry this. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't."
Finally, so, you shouted. Big deal. I bet you also have cuddled and kissed both kids today and done a whole lot of mummy stuff that shows how much you loved them. Bear in mind that they sometimes use tears to get their own way! Just keep going and you will get there. DS is nearly five and can still be a bugger on occasion but usually the mention of the mat will do it. Earlier this year he was removed from a bath, naked and wet and placed on it after flatly refusing to wash or be washed. But then I am a fairly ruthless mummy! I'm also a teacher and can tell you that your children's future teachers will love you for instilling a bit of discipline now.

notasausage Tue 21-Dec-10 13:39:51

I also liked Christopher Green's book. He's an advocate of choosing your battles, diversion tactics and giving as much grade A attention as you can on the basis that toddler behaviour is mainly aimed at getting attention whether it is negative or positive.

Could your DD be shutting the doors because it get's your attention. If you need the door open to hear what they're doing it sounds like it's because you're doing something else. If you really can't stop what you're doing or move it to the same room as them, then move them (or at least youngest DD) to the room you're in. Let them 'help'. Get organised when they're asleep or otherwise entertained (eg batch cook then time taken preparing dinner is shortened)

If you just need to be able to hear them then put a baby monitor in the room. That way if your older DD shuts the door you can ignore the behaviour while still being able to hear them and she'll get bored of doing it because it doesn't get your attention.

Good luck. I'm sure all mummys shout at some time even if we think we'd rather not. It just shows we're human.

Firawla Tue 21-Dec-10 13:41:13

I do similar to dr Seuss, i dont have a mat but just use a spot in the coridoor against the wall. I don't think it necessarily matters exactly how you do it but having some kind of consequence that they know can be helpful i think, but it is part of their age just to test the boundaries. I am always telling my 2 yr old not to close doors too because it upsets 1 yr old. A certain amount of repeating ourselves probably is inevitable.
I bet you will feel much better once you get back out the house though, I go crazy with mine if we can't get out, and then once you do then everything suddenly seems so much better

SkyBluePearl Tue 21-Dec-10 20:41:16

just be over the top and praising of good behaviour. give loads of playful fun attention when good and soon he will be wanting to stay on your right side.

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