T.N. asks from Montclair, NJ on August 25, 2009
Tantrums - Jackson Heights,NY
I'm hoping someone out there has some insight. My 3 year old daughter has started throwing serious tantrums right before bedtime. We let her choose a movie or cartoon before bed and allow her to watch it for a while (we let her know 5 mins ahead of when it will be turned off and count off the minutes after that so it's not sudden). She participates in turning off the movie and then it's time to go upstairs for our pre-bedtime routine (toilet, brushing teeth, bedtime story.
The problem has been getting her upstairs. She stalls, then flat out refuses. We've tried several things, like the dreaded "1, 2, 3", to more fun approaches like saying the "tickle monster" is going to come if you don't go upstairs" to withholding things if she doesn't go up. Sometimes these things work, but lately they are working less and less. If we're able to get her go willingly upstairs, it's impossible to get her to sit on the toilet and she throws a tantrum.
Last night I tried carrying her upstairs and that was a disaster. It was like my taking control of her physically set her off and she turned into a wild, flailing, screeching animal. Once I got her upstairs, I was then unable to get her to calm down, or sit on the toilet. I put her in bed to cool off and took away her favorite pillow. I told her that once she calmed down and sat on the toilet and brushed her teeth with me she could have it back. That seemed to work but the whole thing was so dramatic. I guess I am reaching out here to see if anyone has any suggestions on how I can get her up the stairs and get the pre-bedtime stuff done more calmly, if that's possible?
She says she is not tired, so I wonder if we should start seeing if she want to skip her nap? She still naps well, although not always willingly at first. Her nap is getting later and later... Maybe this is all a sign pointing to dropping the nap??
I will try anything but corporal punishment. My husband and I do not agree with it(trust me, it's occurred to me but it's not going to happen).
1 mom found this helpful
J.L. answers from New York on September 11, 2009
sorry to hear about the issues at bedtime. I have found that charts and sticker always work well. Eevrybody wins kids love stickers and they love the fact of getting a sticker for everything they do. I have two kids ages 7 and almost 2 . The charts always work with my kids . From bedtimes and chores to potty training and eating. Then when the week end if they have x amount of stickers they can pick a movie to watch with mommy and daddy ,or read an extra bedtime story or and activity for during the day or a small simple treat that doesnt cost anything or very very little. Hope this helps a little . Chart and stickers from the dollars stores run a total of like 4 bucks . I also have a treat box in which they can choose one item from . I stock up with items from dollars store . The key is look for things that come in packs of more then one .you get your moneys worth and sanity if this works . And your kids get stickers and cheap "fun" stuff for doing good.It is win win . Good luck
P.M. answers from New York on August 25, 2009
I think you may be right about the nap. My son is 3.5, and naps most days. He's ion school during the week, so sometimes he naps and sometimes he doesn't, but when he doesn't he goes to sleep earlier at night. Weekends are a different story, I haven't been able o put him down for nap at the 1pm school nap time for some time now. So he'll nap but much later, which effects his sleep time at night. I've started not to force the nap at all. If he is really tired, then I'll push the nap other than that I have started to like the no nap days since it gives me my night earlier. If he does not nap, we'll start our routine at 8ish, but with a late nap on weekends we're talking about 10ish instead. In school when he naps (between 1 to 3), nighttime still comes around 8:30. In anycase I do have some ideas for you. I would switch things up a bit. I would start the routine with the brushing teeth and toilet, then TV upstairs, then books and off to bed. Sounds like she struggles mostly with going upstairs, so why not start upstairs and transition from say watching TV in your room to reading books in her room and off to bed. Sorry for the rambling on, but make sure you explain to her the changes before doing them. Good luck to you
C.H. answers from New York on August 25, 2009
i have three kids and run a home daycare, so I have seen many tantrums and every kid is different when it comes to them. Some kids react to negative attention and others only respond to getting their way. One thing that worked with my daughter (who is now 6) was threatening her with things she did not like. When she refused to go to the bathroom before bed and leaving the house, I threatened to put her back in diapers. I went as far as buying cheap dispers and putting one on her one night. Maybe if you have a friend or neighbor with an older toddler you could ask for a few diapers to have in the house. As for the teeth, my son went through that. He never wanted to brush his teeth. One day while I was flipping through a magazine I found a picture of a monkey with really nasty looking teeth. I cut it out and hung it on the fridge and told my son if he did not brush his teeth he ws going to get monkey teeth. It worked!!!
One thing you might want to try is doing the routine yourself while she does it. I am not sure where you stand with her in the bathroom while you are going, but maybe it you both go to the bathroom and brush your teeth she will do what you are doing, or feel "grown up" doing what her mommy is doing.
D. answers from New York on August 25, 2009
It could be several things. Like you said, she tells you she's not tired. Well, maybe instead of "forcing" her to nap make her go to her room for quiet time. She has to close the door and look at a book or play quietly with toys but she has to be up there an hour at least. If she falls asleep, great, if not, oh well. It's also her testing her limits and what she can get away with. If she figures out how to get 15 mins out of you every night she has minipulated you into getting her way. I would keep bed time routine the same as it has always been. And she goes up whether she throws a fit or not. If you have to carry her up so be it. She needs to know that you are in charge here. If she continues to pitch a fit, let her. If she doesn't sit on the potty or brush her teeth, oh well. It's only one night. This is a phase, it will pass. But she's testing you, giving in sets the tone for her doing the same for other things as well. Because she will see that it worked for bed time so it will work other places too.