Tuesday, January 08, 2008

WFMW, Backwards Edition--Help with young toddler, please!

The baby is 14.5 months old and by far the most stubborn, persistent child we've had up to this point. There are several things in the living area of our home that are off limits to him that he is obsessed with. I'm sure he's obsessed simply because he knows they are off limits, but he's driving me batty with his persistence. The four "hot spots" are the books on the bookshelf, the TV buttons on the TV (particularly the on/off button while the two older kids are engrossed in their show), the entertainment center doors and the older kids' chore cards. Even if I wanted to, I can't do anything about removing the TV buttons, entertainment center doors or the kids' chore cards. I could remove the books from the bookshelf for a while, but what's that teaching him? I don't remember the other two being nearly this obsessed with the "no-no" things.

So what do you do to teach them at this age that certain things are off limits? I've done the re-direction thing with him for four months now and it hasn't helped one bit. I could seriously re-direct him for over an hour but he's just so focused. I tell him "No. Not Marc-Adam's. Don't touch." over and over again, but it doesn't make usually make a difference. And if it does, he just melts into tears for a few minutes, I then re-direct him to a new activity and then 30 seconds later he's back at it again. At times, it even seems like he thinks it's a game because I rush at him when he's playing with the cards or the books because I want to get to him before he totally tears something up. He then starts giggling at me and gets excited. I spend a large chunk of my day dealing with this behavior, but I'm out of ideas on how to rein him in a little bit. So what can I do about that?? Is there hope? PLEASE HELP!!

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Mommy Daisy said...

My son was this way (and still is sometimes at 22 months). I'm jealous that your older two didn't do it too, lucky you, I say. Since I only have one child, it was easier for me just to put things up. I always said I would not rearrange my things for a baby, but I thought I would lose my sanity if I didn't. He just would NOT leave things alone! Then my mom said she never moved things off the tables, etc. When she saw how persistent my son was, she understood. It can be maddening.

My solution (not that great) is to move as much as you can that he's trying for. And also know that he WILL outgrow this. I know mine did, even if it seemed like it took forever. Good luck.

nicole said...

He's not too young for a very brief time-out in my opinion. Then try the redirection. Unfortunately, all that will work is persistence. Not fun for you I know.

nicole said...

Oh, the reason I say he is not too young for the time-out is because he seems to clearly understand that what he is doing is not okay. If he knows it is wrong, then he can take a short punishment.

Anonymous said...

Put a taped soda cap or cardboard over the TV buttons and just use the remote to turn it on and off. Tape does work wonders, though, because you know where the right spot is to push and can press hard enough to turn it off.

The doctor's office in my area has a plastic cover of sorts to block the buttons but the clear plastic allows the remote to go through to change the channels.

Hang the chore cards higher, maybe?

Make a new 'no-no' that really is ok to play with and maybe he would get interested in the supposed new off limits thing. Reverse psychology on a toddler!

Jeni said...

My daugher is 15 months, and I spend my days the same way you spend yours! We have found a couple of things that work when she's really not listening. 1 - a swat on the diaper. Not a serious spanking, just something to get her attention. 2 - time out. Our time out means that she sits on Mommy's or Daddy's lap with arms held at her sides, until she is calm and "gets it," usually no more than a minute. This time out technique has helped a lot in those crazy times, when she doesn't listen to a thing I say and is throwing tantrums and stuff.

SAHMmy Says said...

Our bookshelf is a favorite "toy" for my fifteen month as well. I was so used to being able to verbally direct my preschooler that I forgot that babies won't really process those No's! I've started physically walking up to her, taking the book out of her hand, putting it back on the shelf, while saying, "these are Mommy's books. Let's go find your books!" Then leading her down the hall to her room where I keep a basket of board books in a cozy corner. This actually seems to be working. It's as far as I've gotten though--I haven't kept anything at all on my coffee table for three years--ever since my first child started pulling up! It's just not worth the hassle!

Loving Our Homeschool said...

I think a short time-out (one minute) would be an appropriate place to start as well. You could face him in the corner even--if he would sit by himself. A light slap to the hand or some slight pressure on his hand is not inappropriate, in my opinion, since it is the hand that is committing the misbehaviour, if that makes sense. We like the punishment to fit the "crime" around here.

In all discipline situations, being consistant is key. That's the tiring part though!! Hang in there!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I have four preschoolers, so I know all about these lovely little habits.

My opinion is this: asking a toddler not to push buttons and pull books off a shelf is like asking him not to breathe. I really believe this. Now we are very strong disciplinarians in this house, so I am all about kids obeying. But this is SUCH a hard age discipline wise, I really think just moving the stuff is going to save you a lot of headache. He will grow out of this stage in a couple of months, and you will have PLENTY of other opptys to discipline him in other areas. I say take the easy road on this one.

Otherwise, the phrase "Not for Baby" does work really well. Singsong not for baby!, move him, and hand him something that is for baby.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Oh, girl! I just read you have 2 other preschoolers!

Just move the stuff. You don't have time for this! Give yourself a break. You will not damage him, I promise. Sometimes we just need to hear that, right? :)

By the way I think 3rd children are harder. Often very laid back, but sneakier and harder to reform. My #3, is STILL throwing food on the floor at 2! For a year and a half I have been battling her on that one. Never a problem with the other two.

Jessica said...

Maybe not the answer you are wanting, but this is the only thing that has worked for us. First and second time, it's "No! No!" Third time, 1 minute in her crib w/ no toys. If she does it again, then we thump her hand. Move it if you can, but otherwise, this has worked for us.

Eenigenburg said...

Babies 'R Us sells a cover that velcros over the TV buttons, and your remote will still work -- it worked for us!! *Ü*

LaughterThoughts said...

I "gave" my kids the lowest shelf on the bookcase and filled it with old magazines. They got to dump them all out and mess with them as much as they wanted. When they were done, I'd just shove them back in. I didn't care if they got torn or wrinkled or whatever. When it was free reign, the fascination wore off pretty quickly.

Jaime said...

- plastic cover for the tv buttons

- hang the charts higher??

- instead of simply moving the books (i agree, don't really think that will teach him anything), why not rearrange them so that there is a shelf of HIS books where he can reach them? that way, instead of redirecting him away from the books entirely, you can just redirect him to his shelf - where he can do whatever he likes with the books.

- the doors... i've got nothing! :)

Mom2fur said...

Hmmmm...could it be possible that he's doing this not because these things are so interesting to him, but that it's the way you act when he does that's fun? If you can block the dials on the TV, and maybe put one of those locking plastic things across the cabinet doors, that would be two things you wouldn't constantly have to monitor. Then he wouldn't be getting attention for it. Can't help with the books, except to say please be careful that the shelves are too secure for him to pull down on himself.
Hang in there. They do grow up and find other interests!

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

My son is now 4.5, but when he was a toddler I was a BIG fan of baby gates - had an amazed carpenter nail one clear across the kitchen floor to keep him out of the kitchen entirely! Baby gate him entirely out of the problem areas. You could try errecting a type of indoor dog kennel or those enclosed playpen gate type systems too. Or - use the enclosed area as a "sit and think" area for when he is into michief... I was also a BIG fan of "sit and think" (1 minute for each year of age). I used a little bathroom rug as the sit and think area - easy to transport with me when visiting!