Need Suggestions (XP Toddler Board) — The Bump

Need Suggestions (XP Toddler Board)

When DS was first born and pretty much until the time when he could sit up, DD was always really good with him.  Very gentle, always bringing him toys and trying to make him smile.  For about the last month or so she has started to rough house with him.  I think some of it is a sincere desire to play with him.  Last weekend her cousins were in town and they always rough house and since they have been gone it seems like it's gotten a little worse.  I think the majority of it is just testing the limits, like how far can I push this?  Part of the problem is DS is the most easy-going kid alive, I swear.  She can do almost anything to him and he will find it funny or at the very least not complain, I don't think she has ever made him cry with her antics.  I care for another little boy DS's age who is much more sensitive and cries if DD tries to do any of this with him.  So she seems to leave him out of it more or less, or won't push it so far with him.  But here's an example, today I was going to change the diaper of the boy I care for.  I put DS in the excersaucer even though I know he prefers the floor because quite honestly I don't trust DD.  She asked me to leave him on the floor, so I said, "OK, only if you are going to play gentle."  She agreed.  I change the diaper (just a room away but I can't see them) and come back to her sitting on DS's stomach.  I tell her to get off, that could hurt him, I don't sit on her, etc.  She does, but then lays down next to him and starts rolling back and forth swinging her legs so they are landing on DS.  I tell her to stop.  She does, then starts grabbing him by his chin roughly.  At this point I pick her up put her behind the gate for a few minutes then return and we sit on the chair and talk about what happened.  I'm mad at myself because I yelled, "I'm so sick of this!"  as I was bringing her behind the gate.  I'm just not a yeller and don't want to become one.  

We only use time-outs if she gets physical with someone.  About a year ago she went through a phase where she was hitting/pushing us out of anger and it was an immediate time-out, no warnings.  This approach was really effective and it's extremely rare that she does this now.  So should I just start putting her behind the gate for anything that's too rough and hopefully she will start to tone it down?  I've have tried giving her ideas on how to play with the babies in a nice way, reading a book, giving them toys, playing peek-a-boo and of course none of that interests her.  I try to get us outside every day, we go for a walk, play at the park, go to story-time when they have it at the library, she rides her bike, to try to and make sure she's not cooped up with the babies all day.  Any other ideas?  

I just really want to nip this quick before it becomes a habit, plus I'm obviously worried she is really going to hurt one of the babies.  A few other pieces of information, it seems to be worse when she is tired.   This particular incident happened before nap, though that's not always the case.  She has had a lot of big changes in the last 4 1/2 months, potty trained, big girl bed, the baby who stays with us during the day, sitting in a big chair to eat.  

Please help!

Re: Need Suggestions (XP Toddler Board)

  • I think this is very normal behanior.  My DS turn 3 the end of June and he has become much more physical in the past few months.  Part of this is he plays rougher with his Daddy and it hard for 2/3 years old to draw a line.  I have to warn and remind him not to play with me like that.  So DH and DS have had to tone it down.

    Maybe you can limit their playtime together for a few days and gradually let her have more time with him.  And yes time out for things that could harm him. 

  • Thank you for the suggestions and keep them coming!  Yesterday I decided that if I saw behavior that was too rough I would set the timer for two minutes and in those two minutes DD can not play/touch her brother.  But can go do other things and after the two minutes she is free to try again.  I think this is a middle ground, I don't want her to feel like she's being punished, but at the same time I need to make sure everyone is safe.  It's only been a day, but it seems like it might help.
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  • Honestly I would not give her a warning.  I would pick her up every.single.time. Without exception.  Praise when she's being nice and sweet, and the second that cute patty cake game gets too rough, or snuggle turns into a tackle. I'd put her in time out.  If she hits him with a toy in the car, I'd pull over and put him in timeout. I would also never leave her alone with the babies even for a moment.  Until she gets it. And when she is let out of TO I would make sure she says, I went to time out because I used my feet in a mean way. I went to time out because I pretended to hug Fred and then pushed him to the ground.  Not only does she need to know what she did, she needs to know you can read her intentions.

    Until he can get away, advocate for himself or fight back, she should not be allowed to think putting her hands on anyone in that way is okay. There are 8,000 better ways to teach social relations and get energy out. A little impulse control, barring any neurological deficits, can be expected at 3.

    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

  • I know DD1 had a lot of difficulty with this, mostly because DD2 isn't really quite a baby anymore, but she's not a big girl either, so she doesn't really know how to play with her.  I don't think she's intentionally rough, but she kind of treats DD2 like a doll - she tries to pick her up, pulls her arms and legs and forces her to do things, things she'd do with a doll.  Now that DD2 cries when she's upset, or pulls DD1's hair, even pushes back when she doesn't want to play with something or stay in a certain place - essentially fights back - DD1 is learning what she can and can't do. 


    Just be strong, use positive reinforcement and let your DD know she's hurting someone. Keep a close eye on her (don't leave her unattended with the babies) and eventually she'll learn.  

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