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Nearly four year old tantrums over dressing/undressing. Help.

(3 Posts)
Pleasejustgetdressed Mon 06-Feb-17 16:10:26

DS1 (nearly four) is generally a sweetheart. Loud, needs a lot of exercise and altogether too fond of poo jokes; but also kind, lovely to DS2 (9 months), tries to help people, gentle with the cats, plays complicated imaginative games by himself and nicely with other kids, loves cuddles and being read to.

He's been in nursery for two years. They've always said he's a delight, behaves very well, and that they have no developmental concerns.

He's not quite as angelic at home, but he's usually a pretty easy child to manage.

Except for clothes. Today he took his pjs off happily enough, but spent two hours screaming and refusing to put clothes on. Something like that has happened more than once a week for over two years. He has never complained about clothes being uncomfortable or shown any other sign of sensory issues. I am pretty sure he doesn't have ASD (scored zero on m-chat at 18 months, deals well with change).

Things we have tried:

Making a game of it - can you get dressed before me?
Bribery - you can watch an episode of whateveritis if you get dressed nicely.
Sticker charts
Let's pretend games
Lots of cuddles and reassurance
Letting him choose his clothes
Choosing them ourselves
Helping him get dressed
Not helping him.
Threatening to take away treats/toys
Actually taking them away
Telling him off
Walking away and disengaging.

Nothing works. It might work for a day or two, but that's it. I've tried asking him what the problem is, he's an articulate blighter, but he won't/can't say anything.

Interestingly, if we actually HAVE to get out of the house - e.g. to catch a train he's fine but if it's at all optional...

'DS do you want to go to city farm?'
'Yay! I love city farm!'
'Okay, let's get dressed'
'I don't want to'.

'DS Daddy's going to help you get dressed today'
'No, Mummy'
'Okay, Mummy'
'No, Daddy...'

Once he is finally dressed he's jolly as anything. And I'm a wreck. This is damn near the only thing I shout at him for. It doesn't work either and it's a shit thing to do.

Help.

SecondsLeft Mon 06-Feb-17 16:39:16

Future naturist eh? Sounds like you have done all the sensible things. The only thing I would say is have you persisted with a simple reward chart consistently for long enough?
So, a reward he really likes that can be daily, building to a bigger reward
Earning a reward rather than losing something
Clear expectation, both parents on board (what do you want him to learn to do? - make sure he understands)
Possibly small steps eg put socks on yourself on week 1

I saw the three day nanny do a really fabulous reward chart - i think it was adding pictures of train carriages to a train decal running all around the room, so they could lift the 4 year old up every evening to stick them up and praise him to high heaven.

Pleasejustgetdressed Mon 06-Feb-17 19:59:33

Thank you. That's wise advice - will try it.

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