How do I get my son to calm down?

Barbara - posted on 01/29/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My oldest son, who will be five next month, is a really good, empathetic, sensitive boy. He is perfectly behaved at school, he is great with his little brother, and he is well behaved overall at home. The problem is, when he is around my brothers or his grandpas, or pretty much anyone we have around who is our friend but doesn't live with us, he acts like a madman all of a sudden. He'll be climbing all over them, laughing hysterically, putting his hands in their faces or blowing raspberries. He'll try and pull them away from the conversation we're having to play with him, even if he doesn't know them. If they do play with him he will be calm while they are engaged in whatever activity they are doing, but he'll start the attention seeking behavior as soon as they try and break away. I will tell him to stop it, I'll take privileges away, I'll talk to him about it in depth after the people go but the people are always so polite about it I think that he doesn't get the message that they really don't like it. He used to be too shy to speak to people, but over the last year and a half or so this has happened. How do I get him to calm down and act like a normal person?

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Ariana - posted on 01/29/2013

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He probably just gets really excited that someone else is there. Maybe you could try to give him an activity that's fun away from the other person?

I know you said they play with him, maybe you could have it so they give him a 5 or 10 minute warning before they stop. Like we're going to be done in 5 minutes, 3 minutes 1 minute so he has time to wrap it around his head instead of an instant ok we're done now. Also maybe once they're done either they, or you, can try to get him involved in his own activity.

If he is really bothering them I would warn him once, if you keep doing (w/e) you are going to go to your room to play. Then if he continues send him to his room. You can decide when he's allowed out. You could either keep him there for the rest of the time (if the person is only there for a short while) or you can put a timer on for 5 minutes and once it goes off tell him he can come out when he feels he can treat the guests properly.

If he IS playing nicely try to give him positive attention from that. So if he's on his own for 5 minutes, or hanging around but not being disruptive, tell him what a great job he's doing, or what a good host he's being. Maybe there is something you could try to get him to do also? You could ask him to get the guests something or do something for them, have him sit on your lap so he's away from them.

I would go for giving him a warning and then sending him to his room. Taking privilages away after the fact isn't going to effect how he's acting in the moment. If he gets sent away he learns if you annoy others they aren't going to want you around bugging them. Plus if you know the guest you can tell them to ask him to stop, especially if it's other family members (not in front of him but some other time). Just tell them it's an occuring problem and you don't want him being able to interrupt. Ultimately if he doesn't stop it's up to you to get him away, but having them say, I don't like that please stop jumping on me, or w/e, may be enough to get him to back off.

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Barbara - posted on 01/29/2013

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I suppose I could revise the diet a bit, but he has a pretty good diet going. I work in a natural foods co op, and we also do all our grocery shopping there. We don't get soda, fast food, even instant food on a regular basis. Bread, yogurt, vegenaise and mustard are our most processed staple foods. He isn't hyperactive in any other situation, and he can calm down with certain people, especially people who have children of their own and know how to deal with them. You do have a good point, though. Maybe I am not giving him enough physical activity in the day and that's what's making him go nuts.

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