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How do people cope with a 6 yr old and an 18 month old??? I'm not doing a good job so far and I need HELP.

(26 Posts)
Vow11 Mon 19-Aug-13 20:57:48


I have a 6 yr old DS and an 18 month old DD.

My 6 year old on his own is well behaved and pleasant. Throw DD into the mix and it all goes wrong.

DS is currently off school on summer holidays and DP works 10 hours a day so it's all down to me to do.

I am crap at the moment. My main problem is everything DS wants to play with, DD will destroy -not intentionally but just grabbing at it, pulling herself up to DS and standing on him, screaming when she wants a toy.

It all sounds normal and no big deal now I write it down but during the day I feel like my head will explode.

Poor DS wants my attention, wants his toys out and wants to play with me. DD wants all his toys, can not be contained and will basically stomp through any game or activity I set up for him.

Earlier I tried to do painting with DS at the dining table but DD is fairly tall and kept reaching up and whinging for paints. I got out the baby finger paints but she just wanted to eat them hmm and then whinged to get DS's picture and wanted his paintbrush.

It's relentless. I am running out of energy.

I come up with these ideas and I start with enthusiasm but I am just not doing well.

I got DS to read DD a story earlier, DD was grabbing the book trying to turn the page. I know it's normal but DS really is suffering. In the end I just put the TV on for 2 hours and let DS watch that because I actually had no idea what to do with them.

DD on her own, when getting all the attention is OK. DS on his own is OK. So why can I not make it work when we're all together? Why does it always end in tears or me shouting?

We try and get out once a day but even a trip to the park can end with DD in tears when she can't climb up to DS or it's time to leave or a leaf blows in the wrong direction! I also feel like I can't give DS any time or attention when we're out without her kicking off. The are just at such different ages developmentally. How can I incorperate the two? I need ideas for tomorrow please!!!

mawbroon Thu 22-Aug-13 13:12:22

I hear you. There's 4yrs and 4months between my two DSs.

The baby days were easy because ds2 just lived in the sling and we did pretty much whatever we wanted, but I found the stage you are at was really hard.

I tried to organise for ds1 to have friends round and they would play in the bedroom (they share a room) while I amused ds2 elsewhere to keep him out of their hair. DH and I used to take one each at the weekends just to allow a bit of space and one to one time for everyone. I also started making time for 10 mins or so to cuddle up in bed with ds1 and chat before he went to sleep.

And also, I used to allow ds1 to complain to me about ds2 and empathise with how he was feeling. Nothing worse than telling your mum that you hate your sibling and for you mother to say, "oh, don't be daft, you love him, he's just little or whatever". I would also say that one day, ds2 would be big enough to play well with him and that I was certain they would have great fun together, and he always said he was looking forward to that day.

Well, that day has now come. They are now almost 8yo and 3.5yo and sure, they fight sometimes, but there are also some incredible moments of kindness and tolerance on both sides and they have a great deal of fun together.

It was very telling when ds1 went back to school last week and suddenly I noticed that ds2 was hanging round me needing lots more attention than he had been needing over the holidays. Seems that they were amusing each other much more than I had realised.

Hang in there!!

Meatyfeet Thu 22-Aug-13 12:41:23

Hmmm I fear this will be me next year. I have a 6yo and 10 mo twins confused.

Watching with interest!

TelephoneTree Wed 21-Aug-13 22:15:46

This is rushed so not worded in the best possible way but I think your DD is plenty old enough to learn 'no' and about taking turns etc. I really do. I start the super nanny stuff on her and see how you go. i.e. be firm, eye contact, give the consequence for bad behaviour (i.e. ignoring your 'no' , breaking DS's stuff after you've asked her not to) etc etc. She will foul up quite alot to start with but she will get it quite quickly and then you can all have an easier life. Pick your battles though (something I'm crap at)!

missmapp Wed 21-Aug-13 15:47:04

Yes- go out as much as possible!! I find if we have a good trip out for the morning/picnic lunch out- back about 2-3ish, then they play separately for a while and I can use tv later without feeling guilty.

WetGrass Wed 21-Aug-13 15:37:48

And yes - seek out friends with a 'matching' brood.

WetGrass Wed 21-Aug-13 15:37:03

Outdoors! Seriously - everything feels better in the sunshine (apart from sunburn).

Tournesol Wed 21-Aug-13 15:34:07

Hello, I feel your pain! I have a 5yo (and a 3yo) and an 18mo and sometimes it all gets a bit crazy fighting for attention.

I have found a couple of things make life easier:
1) Having a friend round for the oldest, they tend to go off and play upstairs leaving me free to give some quality time to the younger ones.
2) Do activities we can all enjoy e.g. get the paints out (yes it is messy but worth it!) DS1 painted flags, DS2 painted random splodges and DD painted herself, but they were all happy for half an hour!
3) Create fun tasks that they can all join in with, like a treasure hunt where the oldest has to read the clue and the youngest then finds the next one. Or a relay race using ride ons.
4) Go to a playground!
5) I defo second the quality time while little one naps.
6) Allow each child their space. If my eldest is getting annoyed with his siblings he is allowed to go play in his room and the others are not allowed to disturb him. This helps everyone have a breather from each other.


mamadoc Wed 21-Aug-13 12:33:32

I have DD age 6 and DS just turned 2 and we have similar problems.
They have very different personalities as well as the age gap. DD is quiet and shy loves crafts and imaginative play. DS is full on physical loves climbing, jumping, crashing his cars. He has no interest in crafts or baking etc and if I try to involve him he just wanders off and gets into trouble somewhere else or he starts throwing things for attention.
DD is actually very tolerant of DS especially given that he pulls her hair and bites her if he is frustrated. He had a phase of that around 18mo which has improved a lot now he can talk and express what he wants. I did actually put him in time out for that and it seemed to work a bit.
She gets a bit whiny sometimes and asks me to do stuff like help her dress or cut up her food which she can easily do just because I do it for him. I take that as a sign that she feels left out. If you ask her though she will say she loves him. They laugh together, cuddle and tickle, miss each other if one is not there and she sticks up for him if I tell him off. 'Ahh mummy, he's only a baby.' So I still hope their long term relationship will be good.
I feed them lunch together, put him down for his nap which mercifully he does have a good 2 hours and then I resist all housework etc and go straight to do something with DD.
Outdoor stuff seems to be better than indoor. They both like soft play, the park and farms. Museums, which I used to love to go to with DD, are largely a total no as DS just runs off and starts climbing on or otherwise destroying the exhibits.
It was actually much easier last summer when he was a baby as at least he couldn't run away so fast and had less opinion what he wanted. I've just had to lower my expectations and admit that I can't please all of the people all of the time.
There is a glimmer of hope now in that DS has some interest in DDs imaginary games now. He can be 'the wicked' or the monster which seems to work! Another thing that works (paradoxically) is to invite other kids to play or meet up with another family and that way they each have someone to play with and don't seem to compete over me so much.

PattieOfurniture Tue 20-Aug-13 22:36:30

Or If you are local, I could babysit dd while you have some time with ds.

PattieOfurniture Tue 20-Aug-13 22:30:51

Your ds sounds just like my ds1. He's ok if his friends are round but other than that he never plays in his room, says he's lonely too.
It is really hard at the ages they are to do things that suit both but hopefully when ds2 is 3 or 4 we should be able to do more together then. Just think of the future.
We used to go to the cinema every week for the kids club £1 film, that's something I really miss but look forward to when ds2 is old enough to come with us.
Trips involving animals, farms, Zoo's etc seem to work well for both of them.
Are you local to me? Ds's could play with each other while little ones play together.
I'm in north worcs

Vow11 Tue 20-Aug-13 22:17:31

Thank you Pattie. That is what I did. I told her no firmly and moved her away from him. It drives me mad that I can't seem to enjoy anything with DS as DD wants to be part of the action (understandably) but it must be hard for DS. DD is sweet and loving and so so cute but she has such a temper on her! DS also doesn't want to/ won't play in his room alone either, he always says he feels lonely. Think nearly 5 yrs as an only child and having 100% attention on him is a hard habit to break. He's so good with DD though but I just fel guilty for all th things we used to be able to do every day. Now vrything has to be so well planned and fit in around DD's nap or whn DP is home. Surely DS will remember all this and resent DD for it in future? I hop not because I can se she adores him already.

PattieOfurniture Tue 20-Aug-13 20:09:41

Tell her no and try and distract her with something else perhaps? Easier said than done I know!
Another trouble with my two is that we went out to a safari park today with theme park rides, ds1 was too big to go on the little rides (so sulked a lot) and ds2 was too small to go on by himself, but we still had a nice day.

Vow11 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:15:28

Oh my word. Now DD has taken to high pitch shrieking whenever DS even approaches her with a toy. hmm She's also bitten him when he wouldn't give her his lego. Gah! I know she's too young for the naughty step? Any ideas as to how to deal with this?

Vow11 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:13:17

Thank you Pattie I needed to hear that it will get better! I've said the same to DS about her being a pain now but pretty soon she'll be your 'friend' not just an annoying baby that ruins everything! He's pretty good about it and says he can't wait...but bless his heart, it's a long wait!!!!!

PattieOfurniture Mon 19-Aug-13 22:07:51

It will get better. You've given him a lifelong buddy! We've told ds1 the same, look we know he's a pita now, but when me and dad aren't around anymore, you'll be grateful of him.
But hopefully before that! smile

Vow11 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:03:26

Yes I've found that too Pattie if I open the back door and we get out in the garden then things go a bit smoother. DD still climbs all over DS but it's much easier to distract her out there and somehow she seems to whinge less. I do feel for them both because DD just wants to be like DS and not be left out but doesn't understand enough to ba able to do it. DS was an only child for nearly 5 years and it's been a big adjustment for us all. I still feel guilty for him now. I just think he had such a simple happy life before DD was born and I know they adore each other but it's just not really paying off yet!

PattieOfurniture Mon 19-Aug-13 21:56:57

My ds1 is 7 and ds2 is 19m/o.
Ds1 needs my attention more than ds2 at the moment, and being an only child for so long, it's a big adjustment.
We have a travel cot in the dining room which we use as a playpen. I put ds2 in there with a few toys and as long as we're in the same room he's happy, he doesn't need me to play with him, he's happy to entertain himself. Then I can concentrate on ds1 and do crafts or board games or cook together.
When ds1 is back at school, ds2 will have me to himself again during the day.
I find trying to do stuff with both of them doesn't work well at all, unless we're in the garden, they both love being in the garden.

Chubfuddler Mon 19-Aug-13 21:52:24

I feel your pain. Ds is 6 dd is 2. I can't and won't farm one or other out to get one on one time as they already divide their time between ex and me. It's a nightmare 50% of the time but they do adore each other which makes up for it.

Vow11 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:50:01

Thanks all. Good idea Mandy I will use DDs nap time to do something like a board game with DS tomorrow. It sounds really obvious now but when DD goes for a nap I am so busy trying to quickly make some lunch for DS then I spend it emptying the dishwasher, having a tidy up, get washing out, sweep up etc. I need to make that time for him rather than the housework. He's really into the Monsters Inc version of monopoly which is something we will play when DD is asleep tomorrow.

Yes AnotherStitch we do try and get some one on one time at weekends. We have an allotment which DS loves pottering about on with DP. They go and dig and plant things, find bugs and caterpillars, he's very outdoorsy. They also went for a walk in the woods together this evening while I put DD to bed. Then at the weekend I took him to the cinema. I do try and give DS that time (mainly because I miss our time alone!) but in a way it doesn't help the daily battles and the sheer relentlessness of it all hour after hour, day in day out. Although it does give DS a chance to chat to us and tell us how frustrating being a big brother is!

badguider Mon 19-Aug-13 21:41:43

I don't know, but I was 7 when my brother was born and I HATED everything you mention. The big thing for me is that I NEVER got any 1:1 time with either parent as mine believed in doing everything 'as a family'. I know your DP is working hard but can you get him to help you separate them at weekends so both of them get some 1:1 parent time? If they do I reckon that weekdays will be less frustrating (a bit).

AnotherStitchInTime Mon 19-Aug-13 21:38:28

I have a 4.3 year old and a 17 month old.

I put dd2 in the playpen sometimes to give dd1 a break or dd1 goes in the playpen or their bedroom to stop dd2 breaking everything.

When dd2 naps I spend half an hour with dd1 playing.

The meltdowns whenever dd2 doesn't get her own way are tiresome and I do feel guilty for having to ignore dd1 some of the time, especially when at the park.

Can you plan some one to one time with ds in for the weekends, just you and him as a regular thing?

Mandy21 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:33:21

Not much of a help, my age gap is exactly 4yrs so whenDD was 18mths, I had 5.5yr old twins. For things like you describe (painting) I'd put DD in her highchair with her own little paints, paper etc. If she got bored I'd 'buy' a few more minutes by giving her a ricecake or something.

And I always spent the 2 hours that DD slept during the day doing things that I knew DD would spoil (board games, cooking, etc).

Good luck x x

Vow11 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:27:07

Thank you for the responses. It's comforting to know I am not alone. I just don't know how people do it! I am finding it a real struggle during the holidays but I feel terrible wishing the time away because I know I'll want to cry when I see DS trot back through the school gates in a few weeks time. I'll miss him dreadfully yet I just can not seem to enjoy either of them when they're together. sad

They are actually lovely individually. Together, the squabling may just send me round the bend. It's always the same. DS wants to interact with his sister, wants to play with her but she just doesn't know how to play nicely yet so just grabs the toy and runs off with it. Or DS builds something out of lego, DD knocks over or tries to grab whatever masterpiece DS has been working on.

He said earlier that he loves her but he really wishes she'd just go and live somewhere else for a week! Bless. I know how he feels but how can I stop it before resentment builds up?

GwendolineMaryLacey Mon 19-Aug-13 21:20:00

5.7 years and 19 months here so know exactly what you mean. I love having dd1 home but I might have to run away before much longer. The squabbling is unbelievable!

Canigotosleepyet Mon 19-Aug-13 21:14:16

I'm not sure I can help much, but I have 3.5 and18 months and have similar problems. The eldest just wants some concentrated time together and dc2 either runs right through everything causing tears or runs in the opposite direction and needs chasing or watching. I too have too often just turned on the tv as it makes dc1 happy and gives me breathing space.

Just back from a weekend away and I, in a fit of enthusiasm and optimism (haven't looked after them by myself for 4 days!) have decided tomorrow to do chalk drawing outside and maybe go to the library. fingers crossed for us both. Watching with interest. Good luck!

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