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3yo is a nightmare if he knows there are treats in the house

(11 Posts)
BertieBotts Wed 19-Oct-11 12:26:12

This is driving me mad. DS has just turned 3. DP bought a multipack of chocolate buttons yesterday and DS saw them in the cupboard. I let him have a pack this morning and then we found a pack which had fallen out of the packet on the floor whilst tidying up, so we shared that. But now he is insisting he doesn't want anything for lunch because he wants chocolate buttons, and I know from experience last week with a cake someone bought us that he can keep it up for hours, days even! I got so fed up with the sodding cake in the end that I gave it away - was on the verge of throwing the whole thing in the bin.

There is also ice cream in the freezer. Again DS has seen it and is like a dog with a bone - I want ice cream, I want chocolate buttons, I don't want anything else. confused When he was younger if I told him he couldn't have something he'd cry for about 2 minutes and then go off and do something else. Help! How do I deal with this? The obvious thing is to not have these things in the house, but what if me and DP want them? I never change my mind if he's screaming and shouting at me, I'm happy to ignore that, but it's the fact he's refusing to eat other foods.

BertieBotts Wed 19-Oct-11 12:30:08

...And now he's just fallen asleep, which is confused because he hasn't had a daytime nap for over 6 months now. But explains the epic tantrum sad

Is it usual for them to go back to needing a nap at this age?

CharlotteBronteSaurus Wed 19-Oct-11 12:33:10

can you tell him when he can have some?
dd1 gets a big sugar-obsessed if she sees stuff coming into the house, but if she know the cake is for when grandma comes tomorrow, and she will definitely get a piece then, she's ok.

BertieBotts Wed 19-Oct-11 12:39:09

I do that, yes, but it's hard when there isn't a specific event to tie it to. Saying we can have biscuits with our tea when Grandma comes is fine, but saying "You've already had some chocolate buttons today. You will have to wait for another day." seems harder for him to process/understand? I suppose I could tie it to an arbitrary thing. Any suggestions?

Ooh I've just thought, how about if I got him a little treats/snacks box with an amount in for each day and if he wants something, he has to check what's left in the box, and if everything is gone from the box, then he has to wait until the next day. I could use pictures of ice cream or a little plastic ice cream or something for that. Does anyone do this and does your 3 year old understand? Just because he used to be fobbed off easily with "They're all gone now" but he sees the packets in the cupboards now and doesn't seem to understand why he can't have the rest of them all in one go.

Tinkerisdead Wed 19-Oct-11 12:41:18

Ahhh I have this problem. We hide stuff in a tin and dd has her own tin of healthy stuff like raisins. My mil took her shopping yesterday and sent back a multi pack of smarties so now dd is pestering for them despite not knowing where they are hidden. I've taken to using pennies now, if she eats her dinner or at least makes a good attempt then she gets1p for her money box and a sticker. Shes allowed the pennies on a saturday to buy sweets. Its working because now she knows she can only get sweets on a saturday. Shes 3 next month so has no real concept of money but it means she knows she 'buys' treats at the end of the week and we can add in the smarties etc if we want to.

BertieBotts Wed 19-Oct-11 13:23:29

I was thinking of some sort of pocket money thing, but thought maybe a week was a bit long for him to wait if he did (as he probably would) decide to have everything in one go. Or am I underestimating him? I don't really want to go down the route of rewarding good behaviour with some kind of payoff, either, especially if it's linked to food. A set amount of pocket money or him to spend on sweets could work, but again, I think it might cause more headaches as as you say he won't understand the value of money yet and that he could get 2 of X for the price of one Y, etc.

Haberdashery Wed 19-Oct-11 13:52:31

I think pocket money of some kind is quite a good idea actually. I introduced it at a similar age not because of sweets but because I was sick to death of being pestered for CBeebies magazines. I give DD (now 5) £2 per week, which seems a lot but is is enough to buy one magazine and, crucially, ONLY ONE so she knows there's no point in asking for another. If she doesn't want a magazine, she can spend it on some horrible little bit of plastic tat or stationery. She's fortunately not interested in sweets because IMO £2 worth of sweets would be way too much for her in a week.

You don't have to make the choice of what to buy unlimited, either. You can say 'here's your 50p or whatever, you can get either a tube of smarties or a packet of chocolate buttons or a milky bar'. Smarties good as you can give him a few per day. You also don't have to make it a set amount of money if you think that's too complex, just say you can choose one item per week and when it's gone it's gone. Presumably one packet of smarties or chocolate buttons or whatever is more than enough for a three year old.

Tinkerisdead Wed 19-Oct-11 16:12:35

I must admit im loathe to give money for food related behaviour but its the only thing that works for my dd to get her to sit still. Its also the reason she only gets a penny as by the end of the week 20-30p is plenty from the penny sweet lady. We might put the buttons/smarties in and tell her she's spent it all. Any silver coins go towards a peppa comic and gold coins are unheard of!!

thisisyesterday Wed 19-Oct-11 16:18:04

i would just go with it. mine are the same and it takes a couple of days for them to just get a bloody grip to be quite frank!

just say "no ds, you had some earlier, we're saving these for another day" or "you've had some today, these are for later" or whatever.

then ignore. if he chooses not to eat his lunch then let him not eat his lunch. he'll eat more dinner later I expect.

SecretSquirrels Wed 19-Oct-11 16:29:54

All those techniques that worked at two no longer work at three, and wait until he's four.

I'd say he's far too little to understand pocket money but the idea of a routine daily treat can work. Mine used to get a few buttons or similar once a day, only after the evening meal. I was ruthless about sticking to that, if they were given sweets by grandma they had to be saved for treat time.
Then if you are a truly evil mother you can withdraw the privilege for bad behaviour.

BertieBotts Wed 19-Oct-11 19:26:42

He did seem to cope better when he woke up, so thanks for those suggestions smile

What about this sudden tiredness? He slept for over an hour at lunchtime today, but then went to bed fine at 7. He didn't used to do that even when he had a regular nap! Is this likely to be permanent, or is it a phase they go through?

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