I need help/advice with my DD, who is 4 1/2. Sorry this is going to be long…
My most recent example is last night; it took 45 minutes to do things that should normally take 15 minutes after her bath. Between getting jammies on, doing meds (she’s on a couple for asthma), brushing teeth (oh, and then she decided she needed a snack), she was in bed over 30 minutes past bedtime. Then she needs to get ice in her water, turn on her lamp, be covered up, say prayers, etc. I love doing these things with her, but at what point do I draw the line between doing these things as bedtime routine, and her dilly-dallying to stretch it out over a 45 minute period? I’ve tried starting these things earlier in the night, but even in doing that, they shouldn’t take nearly as long as they are taking.
The biggest struggle is it's just taking her FOREVER to do things that shouldn't take that long. I ask her to go get her jammies picked out, that takes 5 minutes. When it's time for meds, she's doing the "hold on mom, I need to tell you something before we do them" just to buy more time. Or she needs to get her blanket first. It’s always something.
This morning my husband couldn't get her to take her meds because she didn't want to do them in the living room, she wanted to do them in the kitchen. This was as he’s already kneeling on the floor ready to give them to her, she starts pouting that she doesn’t’ want to do them there…So it's like do we get up and follow her to the kitchen just to get them done, or tell her this is where we are, we’re ready to do meds, and we're going to do them here and now?
In the mornings, I’ve learned she likes to pick the color of her bowl, okay, I can deal with that, so every morning at breakfast I’ve just learned to let her pick it…but…if I mess up and accidentally grab the bowl for her, she gets very upset with me, refuses to eat from it, and then I don’t know what to do…do I get her the bowl she wants, or put my foot down and say “I’m sorry, I forgot you wanted to pick your bowl, but this one already has cereal in it, so will you please eat from it?” which I’ve tried and hasn’t worked.
On top of these things, we're also having troubles lately with her just not listening. It’s like I have to ask her to do something 5+ times before it’s done. I’ll ask her to brush her teeth. She’ll stand there with her toothbrush in hand, not brushing, she might be singing, talking to us, going to get her blanket or animal she says she needs, doing anything except for brushing. I ask again…and again...and again. We’ve tried time outs for her not listening for various things and they don’t really work, if anything they make her so upset it takes us 20 minutes to calm her down. Plus I struggle with what to punish, and to what point? Like her meds, she has to take them, but I feel like I shouldn’t punish her for not wanting to take them…but I also struggle with not wanting to have to ask her 5 times before she finally does.
I understand she's strong-willed and wants to do things HER way, and I’m really trying to pick my battles with her and be more aware that she wants to do everything herself lately, but I feel like I’m losing control over situations lately. I need help. Thanks.