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HI, I have an almost 5yr old son and newborn
baby of 3 weeks. Before I was pregnant with my 2nd baby, my son listened well
and stayed in his bed the whole time from 8pm to 8 or 9am.. Since I was
pregnant, he has been getting up so early... 2,4 or 6am to sleep with us.
He started not listening to us.. we tried to put him back to bed but he refuses
to sleep in his bed and wants to sleep in our bed.. It's hard for us to wake up
in the middle of the night dealing him and our newborn baby. Also he started not
listening at all. We took all his privileges like Video games, tv and computer.
We think that maybe for 2 or 3 weeks of not turning these on till he actually
listens to us. Is that a good idea? -Noemi, Washington
Your son may have started feeling insecure when you became pregnant with your
second child. He's very young, and the addition of a sibling may be hard for him
to fully understand. He may have been feeling afraid that he would lose your
attention when the baby arrived. Kids this age are too young to verbalize their
feelings adequately so they tend to express their feelings through their
actions. Most likely, that's why he started climbing into bed with you and your
husband. Also, his misbehavior may be an attempt to gain your attention any way
he can...even negatively...as you are busier, now, with your newborn.
Kids at this young age need immediate rewards/consequences. Withholding
privileges will not be very effective with a five-year-old as he is too young to
maintain an understanding that his behavior is connected to the consequences. We
have a great article on
this page about helping siblings adjust to
a new baby. You should deal directly with the cause of his behavior...the need
for some attention from you and fears of losing your attention to the new baby.
Make an effort to have some alone time with him every week. Either you or your
husband should spend some quality time with him doing a fun activity that he
enjoys. The more positive attention that you can give him, the less he will need
to act out to get your attention negatively. Talk about the new baby with him,
reassure him that you are still there for him, and encourage him to help care
for his new sibling. This way, he won't feel left out.
Next, if he is still waking up and crawling into your bed at night, take a look
at our article on
this page about getting your child to sleep
in his own bed. There are some good tips. A behavior chart would be a great
motivation for your son. We have some charts on
this page geared toward sleeping in his own
bed. Every time he sleeps all night in his bed, have him mark his chart and pick
a treat. You can have a treat bag with dollar store items or other little things
that he would like. Then, when he is sleeping in his own bed regularly, you can
give him a certificate to celebrate. We have just added a reward certificate
"I Can Sleep In My Own Bed". You can
also help encourage a daily bedtime routine by using our Bedtime Checklist on this page.
A chart would also come in handy for some of his other acting out behavior.
Because he is young, you should focus on only one or two behaviors at a time.
Pick a behavior that you would like him to change and use a chart to help
eliminate the behavior. Our
Step-By-Step charts are great for focusing
on one behavior at a time. And, if he is demonstrating any aggressive behavior
or tantruming, time-outs are a great tools for kids his age. We have a nice
article on giving time outs
And, as always, catch him being good. Any time you notice him doing a great job,
let him know. Positive reinforcement is a great motivator for change. We have
some cute "Caught You
Coupons" that you can hand him when he is doing a great job.
Just remember that a new sibling can be a tough adjustment for a little guy.
With patience, support, and positive reinforcement, you son's behavior should
shape up soon.
I am looking for a chart that can help aid my
child in wanting to go to pre-school. He just started pre-school about a week
ago and is having a really hard time when I drop him off. He is only 3 1/2 years
old and won't even eat his breakfast due to the fact that he is so panicked
about going to school. Do you have any suggestions that can possibly help me and
my child adjust to me dropping him off at school every morning? -Lori, CO
Preschool is a big transition for kids, especially if they are not in the habit
of going to daycare. 3 1/2 is also young for this adjustment so first and
foremost, be patient with him. Even if he has gone to daycare in the past, the
demands of preschool may be overwhelming to him as there is a more intense level
of structure and cooperative learning than at daycare.
First, make sure that you do not express any anxiety yourself regarding
preschool. A child will definitely sense a parent's feelings of anxiety, and
that will only make it harder for the child to let go of his feelings of anxiety.
Express total confidence in your child's ability to handle the day. Stay upbeat
even if your child is falling apart. Talk about the fun things that your child
will be doing during the day, and don't show any type of hesitation.
Next, follow a morning routine and stay as consistent as you can. Try to get
your child up at the same time every morning and do the same activities before
school. There is comfort in routine. You might even try to use a morning
checklist. We have some morning routine charts here. This
way, you can help your child focus on something other than worrying about
preschool. You can make the routine fun and let him mark off each task that he
completes in the morning. Give him lots of praise. Make a big deal about
marking off his accomplishments!
Also, when dropping him off at preschool, make it short and sweet. Give him a
quick kiss goodbye and let him know that you will be back to pick him up later.
And that's, that! Don't linger or watch him for too long. That will only
increase his hesitation as he may sense your hesitation. If you need to check in
with the the teacher, it may be best to do that after school. Let your son know
ahead of time that you need a few minutes to see the teacher after school.
If you notice that he is making friends with certain children, you may want to
get to know their parents and set up some play dates. The more he develops
friendships, the more excited he will be to get back to school to see his new
friends. Plus, it will give you a chance to get to know some other parents from
Finally, you can have a chart available after preschool. We have made up a
chart that you can find
heretitled "I Went To Preschool". Then, you can give him a
little treat at the end of the day after marking his chart. You can even have
the chart available in the car for a more immediate reward.
With a little time and patience, you son will come to love the routine and
socialization that preschool provides!
I am having serious power struggles over dinner
time and getting dressed for school with my 5 year old son. He has not been
tested for adhd but we see a lot of signs that he has it. What are your
suggestions for these issues when he is so picky with clothes and food? To give
you better perspective, he has a thing about textures of food or fabrics being
itchy or not having drawstrings on pants etc.. he wants to wear or eat what he
wants too period. -Britney, CT
Some children have an increased sensitivity to sensory stimulation such as
touch, sounds, taste, and smell. Sensory processing disorders occur when sensory
information is not filtered correctly before it gets to the brain. As a result,
the information the brain receives is much more intense than in a person without
a sensory disorder. What parents might see are kids who become uncomfortable
with tags in clothes or certain fabrics, kids who hate drawstrings in pants,
kids who react to loud sounds or strong smells, or kids who have difficulty
eating certain textures of foods. Sensory sensitive kids aren't trying to make
their parents lives difficult but have real issues with processing information.
In addition, kids with sensory disorders may appear to have ADHD as they become
overstimulated by their environments and less able to focus on tasks. You can
find more information about Sensory Processing Disorder in our article here.
Whether this is the case for your son or not, you should remember that he can't
help his feelings of being itchy with tags or put off by certain food textures.
In time, he may outgrow his sensitivities or become better at adjusting to
discomfort. But at the age of 5, kids are living in the immediate world. The
minute something doesn't feel right or taste good, everybody has to hear about
First and foremost, try to understand his situation and be patient with his
sensitivities. Regarding clothes, give yourself plenty of time to plan out what
he will be wearing the next day so you don't have to go through many changes of
clothes right before taking him to school. Try to buy clothes that are
comfortable for him. Involve him in the process and make it positive. Have him
help plan out his clothes for the next day and make a special place in his room
to lay out the clothes. Give him positive feedback for making some good choices.
Do not get into power struggles over the choice of clothes. This will only make
things worse. You don't want him picking battles just to push your buttons. The
less of a deal you make it, the less of a deal he'll make it! And again, give
yourself planning time. This is one of the most important strategies when
dealing with sensitive kids.
Regarding food, try making mealtime as easy as possible. This can be tough when
you're cooking for many people, but be aware of your son's difficulties with
food textures. Try to keep different textured foods separate...mashed potatoes
and gravy for instance. Plan meals with him and even do some cooking together.
Make a list of his favorite foods and try to have at least one of those
available at dinner time. Again, you want to avoid power struggles. It's fine to
try and help him adjust to some new textures/foods. We have a chart entitled "I
Tried A New Food Today". This would be a great chart to help him
feel positive about trying new tastes and textures. And, if he doesn't like the
texture of a new food, give him lots of praise for trying it and move on. No
power struggles. Then, you can revisit the food when he is a bit older to see if
his tastes have changed. Read more in our article about
Sensory Processing Disorder And Picky Eating.
You may want to check in with someone who specializes in sensory sensitivity. A
professional may be able to better assess your child's level of sensitivity and
share some techniques to use with your son. Sometimes a school counselor or
psychologist is a good person to get a referral from. Don't forget to catch your
son doing a good job, too. We have some cute "Caught You Coupons" available here. When
you notice him doing a good job, hand him a coupon. Kids love positive feedback
and will often change behavior to receive the reward of more positive words from
With some understanding, encouragement, and positive feedback, you and your son
will be able to handle his sensitivities just fine!
Hi. I have 4 girls- a set of twins 7, a 6 yr.
old, and a 4 yr. old. The biggest problem that I am having is with them
fighting. And they don't fight and then it's over. They
scream, tattle, and it's all out war in our home. Anything can be a fight. It
just depends on the mood and attitude of the girls that day. I don't know if
there is a chart or just advice that can be given. -Heather, NY
It sounds like you have a houseful! To begin, you might want to keep some notes
on your children's behavior. Kids escalate into squabbling matches for many
reasons. They may be bored, tired, hungry, etc. Keep track of where they are
when this happens, what time of day the squabbling most occurs, what the
precipitating events are and any other observations that you may have. See if
you can notice any patterns, and if you can, work on eliminating the triggers.
For instance, if you notice that the problems often occur right before dinner,
make a point of having some scheduled activities that the girls are involved in
at that time. They can have some chores to keep them busy, help make dinner, or
have quiet reading time scheduled. If during the difficult time another parent
is available, you can try to divide and conquer. Separate the girls and keep
them busy so they don't have time to get into trouble. Also look for patterns in
the types of fights that occur. Are they always fighting over the who picks the
tv program? Then, make up a written schedule of who picks the tv show on what
day. Do they all want to play with the same toys? Again, a schedule comes in
handy that lists who gets certain toys on what days.
Next, try to avoid getting in the middle of their squabbles. Kids love an
audience, and they are great at playing the victim role for attention. Unless
you feel that their safety is at risk, let them work out their problems and
don't get in the middle. Try to leave the room and see if the fight doesn't calm
down. They may be trying negative attempts at attention and the more they
receive, the longer the fights will continue. If the fight gets physical or way
too heated, it's time for a time-out. We have a great article on giving
Basically, a time-out will give the participants a chance to be separated and
cool down. If you haven't used time-outs in the past, sit down with the girls
and review time-out and explain that it will give them a chance to calm down.
Let them know where they will take time-outs so they are prepared when it
Distraction often works well with young children. You might try changing the
focus of the moment. Asking them for help or tell them a funny story from your
day. Engage them in a different activity than fighting!
Another option is to teach them problem solving skills. You can act as a
mediator and try to help them work out their problems. Have them all sit down
with you and calmly take turns explaining their individual issues. Make sure
that you let the other girls know the importance of listening when one person is
speaking. Help them communicate their feelings to the others with "I Statements"
such as "I felt sad when you said that". In this way, you will be teaching them
how to problem solve with each other. Assist them in coming up with a solution
to their problem and give them lots of praise when they can work together to
solve their own problems!
As mentioned, don't ever forget to catch your daughters being good. We have some
great "Caught You
Coupons" that you can hand out when one or all is doing a great
job. When things are quiet, take a look and see what is going on. They may be
playing cooperatively or staying busy doing independent activities. It's at this
time that you need to praise them. Parents often use these quiet moments to get
things done, and it's when kids are loud and uncooperative that parents will
stop what they are doing and give attention. Remember that kids will seek
attention in any way possible...negative or positive. And if it's working to
gain negative attention from a parent, then that's what kids will continue to
do. The more positive attention and feedback they get, the more they will strive
to gain that positive attention in the future!
Last, a behavior chart can always come in handy. We have a chart on this page
titled "We Worked Together Nicely". You can set the expectation that all girls
need to get marked off on the chart in order for them to receive a reward. This
will encourage teamwork, and they will probably try hard to keep each other in
line. you can also target the behavior of a single child if you feel that one is
more of an instigator than the others. We would be happy to make up any charts
for you that would be helpful!
My 8-year-old child is a perfectionist when it
comes to schoolwork (at home and school). If he doesn't get something right on
his paper, falls behind in an assignment (because he is erasing his work to make
the letters just right), doesn't get called on to answer a question, doesn't get
an A, or doesn't understand a question, then he starts to cry. He is at the age
where his classmates are starting to make fun of his behavior. His teachers and
I tell him that crying doesn't solve his problems and that we just want him to
try his best, we don't expect him to be perfect. What steps can I take to stop
the crying and improve his self-esteem? -Jennifer, AZ
Though some children are born with perfectionist
tendencies, it's still a good idea to look at the influence of family members.
Without knowing it, parents or siblings may contribute to the pressure that kids
place on themselves. First off, take note of what is going on in the home. Is
there any teasing by siblings? Has there been too much emphasis on grades versus
effort? We are an achievement oriented society and parents often give positive
feedback about grades by saying things such as," You got an A!" versus "Great
job on your assignment. I can see you worked hard!". Some parents even pay
children money for each "A" they get on their report card. Just make sure that
you are praising effort, not only grades. Then, take a look at yourself to see
if you model any perfectionist behavior. Kids will pick up behaviors they see in
their parents. Even our use of the word "perfect" can be overdone. When your son
completes a task, note how you give him praise. Do you say, "that's perfect"
instead of "good effort"?
Also, evaluate whether there have been any major life changes for your son. This
can include things like divorce, a move to a new school or home, the addition of
a blended family, the addition of a new step parent, or death in the family.
Sometimes, when kids have circumstances in their lives that they cannot control,
they seek control in other ways such as through their school work, social
relationships, etc. This can look like perfectionism as not being perfect can
translate into not having complete control over something.
Next, make sure that your son has enough free time to play and relax. Don't over
schedule him. Down time is critical as the expectations of school and
extracurriculars can strain a child.
Regarding school, you may want to sit in on his class to make sure that his
teacher is not putting too much pressure on the kids. Is the teacher too hard on
the kids? Is she rewarding only "A's" and not good effort? Is she unreasonable
in her expectations? These are just a few things that you can look for when
observing his class. And, if you notice that the teacher may be part of the
problem, sit down with the teacher and another school staff person such as the
school counselor or principal and discuss your concerns. In addition, the
teasing that he is receiving from other kids only makes his anxiety worse. This
should definitely be dealt with and discussed with school personnel. If there is
a school counselor present on a regular basis, you may want to have him begin
checking in weekly to receive some support at school both to help him with his
perfectionist tendencies and to give him support regarding teasing.
When he is in a calm state of mind, have a talk with him about realistic
thinking. Kids who are perfectionists often see the world in black and white.
Discuss the reality of what will happen if his letters aren't perfect versus
what he believes will happen if his letters aren't perfect. Reassure him that
teachers need to give all kids a chance to respond in class...that's why she may
not call on him. In his mind, he may believe that the teacher likes him or
doesn't based on whether she calls on him or not. These discussions may help him
slowly change his black and white view of the world. During your discussions,
use real life examples of failures turned to successes. There is a great web
"They Did Not Give Up". There are lots of examples of extremely
successful people who failed many times before achieving success. There are some
great stories to share with your son! And while you're at it, talk about
some of your own personal examples of success and failure. Your son will love
sharing some time storytelling with you.
Finally, be a good listener and mirror his feelings. So, instead of telling him
that crying won't solve his problems, let him know that you see how hard this is
for him by saying something like, "you're really frustrated that you can't get
your letters right." This way, you're validating his feelings and letting him
know that you understand. By telling him that crying won't solve his problems,
you might play into the perfectionist thinking by giving him the message that he
is not doing a good enough job solving his problems. Though it's frustrating for
you as a parent, don't forget how frustrating it is for him to be locked into
this pattern of thinking. Nobody enjoys putting this much pressure on
themselves, but someone suffering with anxiety can't help it. It's your job to
slowly help him change his way of thinking about himself and the world around
him. A child and family counselor may be a wonderful option to help support you
and your son through this. With time and patience, he can learn to change his
way of thinking, but remember, it won't happen overnight!