I have a great kid. She’s amazing. Very polite, smart, curious. She’s now 3 1/2 so I was pretty excited to make it through the “Terrible Twos” and say, “I really don’t know what people are talking about. This is great!”. Well, it seems like LittleM decided to hold that phase until now. Recently we have been having a lot of trouble with changing activities and asking her to complete tasks for us. “No” is becoming the dominate word in her vocabulary, along with screaming/crying. It’s not a happy time when this starts.
Here’s an example: Yesterday we were having a fantastic time outside. It’s March and yet it was almost 80 degrees out. LittleM had on a sleeveless dress, no shoes, and was playing in water and eating a popsicle with a friend from across the street. It was getting later, her friend had to go home, I told LittleM it was time to go inside to get dinner ready and you would have thought I was killing the child. Screams of “NO” and crying could be heard throughout the land. It got to the point that I had to carry her into the house because she wouldn’t walk. This lasted for about 30 minutes with her then focusing and screaming about wanting a ball that she was playing with earlier.
I feel such a sense of helplessness at these times. What am I doing wrong? How did my beautiful little Sweat Pea get to this point that I can’t even talk with her because she’s not hearing me?
To deal with the change in activity freakouts, I have started giving LittleM warnings when it’s time to start changing things. I’ll start with “Ok kiddo, you have 5 minutes left before we need to do ….(whatever the next thing is).” “We have 2 minutes left before…” etc. This does seem to help most of time but not all of the time. I just need to remember to use it all the time (I don’t think that I did last night).
For the “No” issue, I think that I need to start giving her 2 options of things that need to get done. Instead of saying “Can you please go get your shoes?” ask, “Would you like to get your shoes or your coat first?” I’m hoping that might help with some of the No’s, but not all.
If anyone has any other ideas or experience with this, I would love to hear it. I know this too shall pass, but I want to make sure that I am doing the best that I can to keep things moving forward and not making things more stressful for the both of us.