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When do kids get 'easier ' to look after?

(38 Posts)
Lilysmum Tue 23-Sep-03 11:22:16

Sorry if this theme has come up before, but when do kids get easier to look after?

I read somewhere that 12-18 months was in some way the toughest phase, because the child is developing their motor skills, a thirst for independence etc....but with language skills lagging behind physical skills, can't be reasoned with, and gets frustrated by their own limitations.

My 14 month old is driving me mad currently. She has more toys than any other toddler that I know, but she eyes them all with a disdainful ennui and won't play with them for more than 2 seconds. She then mooches around the house like a miniature bored teenager with a strop on, looking disenchanted with life....(and constantly wanting to be super glued to my side). I am a total slave to her, and when I am at home and not working (thank god for the break that work gives me) have to arrange twice daily excursions for her to keep her occupied.

I can't go shopping any more (because she won't wait calmly in her push chair whilst I try something on), and a cappuchino in a coffee bar is a distant memory as are meals out (she won't sit still for more than a fleeting few moments).

I have this hope that when she is an older child (perhaps 5 or 6)- of course there will be other age related challenges, but I might get the occasional half hour long period of relative peace whilst she plays with friends / her toys / draws a picture / watches a kiddie video etc. Since at that age they should be marginally (although not wholly) better at entertaining themselves?? Please tell me I am not wrong!

Jenie Tue 23-Sep-03 11:26:25

Dd could amuse herself from the age of about 3 and ds prefers to play on his own at 18months so every child varies. Ds can play on his own (with me watching) for about 30 to 60 mins at the moment but gets cross if I try to join in!

Frenchgirl Tue 23-Sep-03 11:34:33

Love your description of your miniature bored teenager!! Seriously though, dd started playing well on her own from the age of about 3, when she got more into colouring, and playing with doll's house or lego or miniature animals making up stories. She still wants me to join in, quite often actually, but at least she is a lot more independent now. It will get better!

doormat Tue 23-Sep-03 11:35:54

Sorry but it never gets any easier, as they get older another type of problem arises

aloha Tue 23-Sep-03 11:38:53

At six my stepdaughter was very easy and pleasant to have around. Lots of drawing, watching videos (proper films!), enjoyable times out at museums, restaurant, cinema, playing with friends etc.
I find my ds getting 'easier' even at two, as he can do more things and play more interactively. I think toys are a waste of money for children much younger than two - they don't want toys, they want you and your stuff!

Janstar Tue 23-Sep-03 12:03:34

I know what doormat means, but I find it easier after the age of about 3, because then you don't have to clear up their poo etc any more, they don't make so much mess, they can understand reason, etc, etc. It's not so much that it gets easier but that the kind of tasks a little one creates do my head in, but I don't mind so much the kind of work older children bring.

Mummysurfer Tue 23-Sep-03 12:37:06

Yes I think folk are right ... about age 3 seems to be pretty magical.

But if your dd is only 14 months this is probably not what you want to hear. it's a long wait.

You could try putting half of her toys away ... completely out of reach and sight. If she has so many you could even put more than half away. Divide them up so each "lot" has something cuddly, something musical, something that needs concentration, some jigsaws. Set out play situations before you go to bed, so when she comes down in the morning the dolls & teddies are sitting in a circle having a picnic for example.

When she becomes fed upi with this "lot" of toys put them all away when she's in bed and replace with the others that have been hidden for a week or so. Hopefully she will have forgotten abot them and it will seem like Christmas to her.

This really worked for us and hope it helps you too. It takes some initial sorting out but the benefits make it worth while.

Good luck.

beetroot Tue 23-Sep-03 12:41:20

Message withdrawn

LIZS Tue 23-Sep-03 12:44:50

dd is 2 and can amuse herself quite happily for long periods but will get up to mischief in the process if she is not supervised - drawing on doors, climbing on ds' cabin bed. She is also typically 2 - hot tempered, impulsive or alternatively really sweet and good. ds (5) is actually harder work sometimes with the constant I'm hungry, I'm bored, I want tv etc after school although he will play with his toys for extended periods. Ironically he was a really happy baby who could amuse himself from an early age.

Sorry but I don't remember 12 -18 months as particularly difficult ( but then I never got to try on clothes at any age unless dd was asleep) but all kids are different! As to having a break ... I'm still waiting

Enid Tue 23-Sep-03 13:21:51

Wow, maybe we are odd...I didn't find 12-24 months at all difficult with dd1, but certainly find it more difficult now (shes nearly 4). My mum always said that the 18 months before they go to school are the hardest and I completely agree! Although she will play alone for a while she gets bored easily and really needs to be making something/doing something new to keep her interested. Also she's more stroppy and stubborn now than she ever was! Maybe if I was out at work it would be easier...also I think it is easier if you have other (older) children so they can play together.

Lilysmum, have you recently returned to work, do you think that could be making her extra clingy? Also its worth persevering with the cafe thing, we had a few nightmare sessions but now dd1 loves going out to restaurants.

Slinky Tue 23-Sep-03 13:21:58

I agree with Beetroot!

My 3 are almost 4,6, and 8 and I am thoroughly enjoying this stage at the moment. We have some cracking conversations now, they have wonderful sense of humours (4yo has just started on the "knock, knock" jokes - although hasn't quite mastered the punchline bit ).

You can take them anywhere and they're (relatively!) well-behaved.

My youngest was an absolute nightmare from around 15 months through to her 3rd birthday.

Like Beetroot - soooo glad the baby/toddler is behind me and although I am enjoying them at the moment, I am well aware that things may become more "challenging" once they hit the "teenage" years

elliott Tue 23-Sep-03 13:46:06

As the responses show, this is (yet another) area where there are vastly different experiences depending on child's and mother's personalities. My ds is nearly 2 and I have found this year much easier and more enjoyable than the first year (I think he does too - he's a doer rather than a watcher/interacter and I think being a baby frustrated him!)
But then I have NEVER attempted to try on clothes while with ds - shopping in the first year wasn't any more possible than it is now, he was never happy to sit and watch!! And I have to say I am pretty much a slave to his needs when with him - though he is a 'solitary player' type of child so doesn't demand constant attention. Trips outside once or twice a day are essential too, but that's no hassle as it can just mean a meander round the block picking up sticks and stones..... I do believe in trying to keep going to cafes/meals out though, as I think its important that they learn to share these experiences. Important to choose a tolerant place though!

elliott Tue 23-Sep-03 13:47:44

MEant to add though - a friend whose kids are 7 and 5 looked after ds for a weekend, and said afterwards she'd forgotten how tiring the constant supervision was at that age! So I suppose some things will get easier.

Helsbels Tue 23-Sep-03 13:55:21

Agree entirely with Elliott - it gets easier every day at the moment with 2 yr old DS. Still shopping a nightmare though - avoid if possible!! Have found that since having more family meals together ( took a real effort and we still only manage properly at weekends) that he is better behaved when eating out. I try to be quite firm about not leaving the table until we have all finished - he told me off for getting the ketchup from the kitchen the other day so it must be sinking in!!

Jimjams Tue 23-Sep-03 14:18:47

yeah I thought that as well and then ds1 turned out to be autistic and so at 4 he can't amuse himslef and I am still wiping up poo and he still can't speak. Just waiting for ds2 (20 months) to get easier now then at least there'll only be one).

FairyMum Tue 23-Sep-03 14:30:53

I think things start to improve after 18 months. They stop putting everything in their mouths and their attention span increases. I guess each child is different.

motherinferior Tue 23-Sep-03 15:42:23

I think it gets better when you can talk to each other. My lovely dd1 will be 3 in February and although she can also be utterly maddening, you can pootle along together having a chat about such things as 'mummy, our shadows,look mummy'...it's fab.

So I'd say, contrary to ALL accepted wisdom, that 2 is easier than 1!

sandyballs Tue 23-Sep-03 15:49:06

I agree Mother Inferior - my DDs will be 3 in March and we've started having amazing little chats, they're becoming much better company.
Yesterday I drove past a restaurant that DH and I had recently been to and I told the girls that me and daddy had eaten there recently. Now a couple of weeks ago that would have been the end of the conversation - they would have just gone "oh".
But one said "What did you eat mummy", and the other said "was it nice", then "can we go when we're bigger" and a really long conversation came from it. It really struck me how suddenly they change and seem that little bit older.

SoupDragon Tue 23-Sep-03 16:44:31

when they get married and leave home?

scoobysnax Tue 23-Sep-03 16:50:49

I think different personalities are either more or less able to entertain themselves. My aunt, mum to 3, says that her 3 were very different in this respect.
To try things on when my dd was that age, I would give her a gingerbread man to eat in her pushchair (not brilliant parenting but it kept us both happy!)

tallulah Tue 23-Sep-03 17:47:47

... in the brief lull between the fearsome fours & staying out all night drinking....

janh Tue 23-Sep-03 18:22:38

I think junior school age is the easiest to live with - they are grown up enough to do lots of things for themselves (and to want to do them), they are generally good tempered and fun to do things with, they don't have to deal with loads of new subjects and homework as they do when they go on to secondary school...DS2 is 10 and most of the time he is just lovely to have around and makes us laugh a lot. And the hormones haven't kicked in yet!

Rhubarb Wed 24-Sep-03 10:42:31

I'm with Soupdragon.

Lilysmum Thu 25-Sep-03 08:29:30

Thanks everyone,

A few of you suggest that kids never get any easier, but the vast majority were able to offer me a few crumbs of comfort (which I needed - because if it goes on like this forever I'll be found suspended from the nearest beam), with the hope that somewhere around the age of 2/3/4 (depending on the child)matters improve.

I realise that kids remain a challenge and present different sets of age related problems as they grow up, but I'm pretty sure I'm better equipped to deal with those than
the frustrations of baby / small toddlerhood.

I have a few friends with older children, and it seems that tough as it undoubtedly still is, they can make the dinner/ go to the loo / even occasionally read a newspaper without a small whingey child clinging onto their left calf. Just in case you were wondering - I've only got time to post this because I am at work (no chance if I was at home with my dd). Love her to bits of course, but roll on the next few months..!

waterbaby Thu 25-Sep-03 16:28:03

Lily's mum - can totally agree with everything you've said, even te cooking/answering the door etc with limpit stuck to your leg... I think wehavbe just turned the corner at about 22 months - having better conversations, she can bear to read her books or do a puzzle by herself, even in a different room at times... so hang in there, it won't be long

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