Reader Lea is kept busy by three little ones.¬† Her strong-willed middle child, age 5, can be a handful whether it’s out on a shopping trip with mummy or bedtime¬†for him and his siblings.¬† Lea writes:
I have come across your blog at the perfect time, and¬†I think it’s amazing at what you are doing.¬† I have a couple of concerns about my children. ¬†I am a mother of 3.¬† A 6 year old, a 5 year old and a 9 month old.
Well, one of my issues is that my 5 year old boy refuses to sleep alone in his own bed, so he always sleeps with his big sister.¬† No matter what¬†I try or do, it’s a tantrum and he goes right back.¬† He used to sleep in his own bed, but when¬†I had to move back home with my mom, he was sharing a room with his sis and my mom. (Limited space.)¬† I have tried putting him in his own room and the baby with the big sister, but he just got right back up and into her bed. ¬†In theory¬†I don’t mind them being together (even if him being alone would be the best), but every night they are up till 10 to 11.¬† I have tried looking up on this issue and read through your blogs to try and find some answers or advice, but I seem to have hit a wall and am going nowhere fast.
Another issue¬†I am having with him is tantrums in stores, and¬†I don’t mean little ones –¬†I mean the big outrageous, get on the floor, start hitting and screaming at the top of his lungs ones. ¬†I tried to ignore him, telling him no,¬†I don’t want this attitude and it’s going to get you nowhere if you continue, asked him to calm down and we will talk about it, but none of those is working as well as I’d wish it would.¬† It’s to the point where¬†I try¬†to find a baby sitter while¬†I go shopping just to avoid those situations, or not go shopping until my mom gets home so she can keep an eye on them while I’m gone.
Any advice or strategies that could help out both situations would be greatly appreciated and well applied.
Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog.¬† I’m glad you found it!
As I understand from your email, your 5 year old son actually gets straight into bed with his big sister at bedtime, is this correct? ¬†If this is the case, I would just continue putting him back in his own bed.¬† Ignore the crying and just keep putting him back if he gets up in the middle of the night whilst everybody is asleep.¬† There is not too much else you can do apart from returning him to his own bed every opportunity you get.
I think it is a good idea for the two of them not to be sleeping in the same room.¬† That way, at least he doesn’t disturb her.
As for the shopping, I would not avoid taking your little boy shopping just because he has a tantrum; there are no lessons to be learnt by this.¬† Find an excuse to go to the shop, even if just to pick up some apples, but take this opportunity (as you know you are not going to be gone long) to take him with you, either on his own or with the others.¬† If he starts to have a tantrum, continue to finish your little shop.¬† Give him one warning; then after that, if he continues, just walk away and leave him screaming.¬† I am sure he is waiting for a response from you.¬† Once he sees he is not getting one, the tantrums might not stop immediately, but I think they will probably start to be less of an issue.¬† Don’t worry about the other people in the shop; pretend it’s just you and your kids.¬† You could try preparing him before you go into the shop, explaining that there will be consequences for his bad behaviour. Do not, however, promise a reward for good behaviour.¬† If he is good, though, you should make a big deal of it and tell him how proud you are of him for being such a big boy.¬† Maybe you can give your two older ones some separate little jobs to do in the supermarket, to keep them busy.
Even though by the time you get home you are probably all friends again, make sure that if you have had to warn him with a punishment you follow it through. ¬† If you say ‚Äútime out when you get home‚ÄĚ, then that is exactly what you do; if you say ‚Äúno special treats for the rest of the day‚ÄĚ, then that is what you do.
From what I can see, Lea, you have all had some big changes in your lives and it sometimes it takes kids a little longer to adapt – but they do.¬† However, this is a reason, not an excuse, for naughty behaviour.¬† You will have to be strong and just take control – you are Mummy and you are the boss!
Reader Marilyn is looking for a helping hand in dealing with two boisterous boys:
My boys, 5 and 2, roughhouse, run and yell in the house.¬† Then one gets hurt or mad and it turns into a fight.¬† We have tried everything and nothing seems to work.¬† This behaviour lasts all day.¬† Help!
Wow, two lively boys!¬† You’ve definitely got your hands full.
Keep trying to get them to channel their energy in other ways.¬† With the 5 year old, you could organise some extracurricular activities after school, such as football (soccer) or tennis.¬† Martial arts courses (e.g. karate or judo) can be particularly good as they promote self-discipline, respect and concentration.¬† Or you could just try every day after school to take both boys to the park for an hour.¬† This is a good way to let them use up some of that energy and also let them blow off some steam.
Rowdiness can also be a sign of boredom, so find things for them to do in the house.¬† Buy them some colouring books and felt-tip pens for your 5 year old and crayons for the 2 year old, and have them colour together and work on other projects as a team.
Make your 5 year old feel like the big brother and encourage him to look after his little brother.¬† Tell him that he needs to set an example and mummy needs his help.¬† When you see him do something grown-up, give him lots and lots of praise.
I think that if you can get your older boy to calm down, your little one will follow his example.¬† Also, when they are drawing or playing, join in with them.¬† Draw with them, cook with them … it can be fun, although a bit messy!¬† But who cares, as long as everybody is happy?