My girls get into everything and do not listen! What am I doing wrong???

Cassie - posted on 04/18/2013 ( 32 moms have responded )

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My 3 and 4 year old girls are always getting into everything. I put them down for short naps or quiet times during the day, Some days they behave and stay in their room but most days they come running out and i have to send them back. Today they found a way to get into my medicine cabinet while i was taking a short nap myself. They were supposed to be in there room. I really don't know how to get them to listen to what i say. My oldest understand that she isn't supposed to get into that stuff but she does it anyway. What am i doing wrong in my disciplines? I am beginning to feel really inadequate as a mom...

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Jennifer - posted on 04/24/2013

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Wow...I'm disappointed how many responders here are so rude and judgemental. You have NEVER sat down for just a second while the kids were napping and startled awake to realize you fell asleep?
My goodness...and 3 and 4 year old? How EXHAUSTING! Don't feel inadequate. No one here can claim perfection so don't listen to the mean comments.
Yes, you must lock up meds if they are going to be stinkers like that.
They seem too wound up for nap time. Maybe they need more activity in the morning to wear them out? A walk around the neighborhood maybe? A leaf hunt, bug hunt. My kids love getting out plastic easter eggs and hiding them around the yard for one another. Maybe try that one day.
I have a boy who was quite a stinker compared to his brothers.
I made a color coded chart to go on the frig. They had to stay on green to get tv or games or whatever. They could go down to yellow, orange then red. Red was sitting on your bed doing nothing. Which sucked more for me, but if you follow through on it they will believe you. It takes just one time not following through and you've screwed yourself and all your efforts.
Another thing we tried that really worked for my boys, age 5-11 at the time, was that they earned tickets. The kind that come on a roll like at a carnival.
I made a chart so they knew what chores earned how many tickets. Doing something extra kind was rewarded with tickets.
Hurting someone, lying, etc. loses tickets.
Then they could eventually turn in their tickets for prizes, candy, or money.
They love it. They started pooling their tickets together to exchange for money then go buy toys!

Sorry so long, but being tired, feeling inadequate, can lead to depression and we don't want that to happen.
It takes a village. Hang in there.

Jeanie - posted on 04/23/2013

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I locked my medicine cabinet but my kids found a way in any way. They figured out three types of child locks before understanding that there are places the can't get into. One thing I did was to put hot sauce in old medicine jars. My son though it was the worst thing ever and help his sister learn not to touch things with locks! I did not read anything in her post that said she was not a good mom. Yes kids trier you out. My son, 4, will 8/10 times play quietly while his little sister and I sleep. Btw I am 10 weeks pregnant. I give him rules and generally that is his tv/iPad/computer time. Cassie find what works for your family. Take what you read here with a grain of salt because there are people, who responded to you, who always tell other mothers they are wrong, stupid or some other negative thing.

Michelle - posted on 04/22/2013

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Medicines within reach... um... Well, I would suggest a locking file box or something similar that they are unable to unlock if they are able to get into them. I know of another child that got into medicines that were one foot from the ceiling in a cupboard on the top shelf and the child still managed to get to them without falling and ate some. Thankfully not too much, however the family invested in a locking box!!! It could be a tool box that locks, file box with locking key, anything that keeps the medicines away from their mouths. It'll be inconvient, but it'll also be safer!!!

They are at the age where they are testing you. Be strong and consistent!!! Don't give in -- even though it might feel easier at first to do so. Don't! Remain consistent. (I know, easier said than done).

About you taking a nap midday.... well, I'd suggest getting to bed earlier at night. Yes it will be an adjustment for you if you are accustomed to a nap. I know of another mom who allows a video and lays on the couch in the room with them watching the video. Not a nap, but a rest time. I know of a few other mom's who do FOB (feet on bed) and lay on the floor in their room to listen/rest until they learn to do so. Good luck!!! Stay strong!

User - posted on 04/22/2013

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Don't feel inadequate, you may feel you are losing the battle but never lose the war. ;-). Next time explain that every time they come out they lose a privilege. (Dessert, TV show, outside play or whatever activities they enjoy). Your success will be determined by your stick-to-it- tiveness. Also hang a large noisy cowbell on their bedroom door (only at nap time) so you'll hear them 'sneak' out. Never say never, you can do this. :-) They only push because there is no resistance, or consequences, for their misbehaviour. Good luck momma. :-)

Colleen - posted on 04/22/2013

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Sorry you're having trouble! It sounds so frustrating. I think there are a few things you could try. Some other posters mentioned putting them down for naps in separate places, and I agree. That way they can't egg each other on. Set some boundaries. Timers are great, or put a number on a piece of paper next to a clock and tell them they can't leave the bed/nap area until the numbers on the clock match. I would never tell another mom not to nap, we all need to recharge sometimes, but perhaps spend a few weeks making sure they are asleep before you sleep yourself. Give them three chances. If they get up from their nap twice they get a warning each time, but if they get up a third time they loose a privilege later that day, no cartoons or something like that. Be consistent and follow through. I only have one, I can't imagine what it's like to be outnumbered, but I hope to be one day! Good luck!

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Lana - posted on 05/02/2013

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Be sure to tire the ladies out!! Tired children nap better. Anything that helps! Keep your bathroom door locked as well. When I was little there were little hooks on every door in the house to keep me out of danger. All in all. Do not give up. Figuring out what your children respond to is exceedingly important. When I was little I would behave if my mother indicated that she was "disappointed" in my behavior. You are not inadequate. You are just tired. Find some down time and map out some diverse courses of discipline. From there you should find something suitable.

Kim - posted on 04/23/2013

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I love when people say they are too old for naps lol hello, how many adults nap? My daughter will be 3 in June and she naps 3-4 hours a day & sleeps 12-13 hours every night. When she is awake we are outside exploring, running around and just letting her be a kid. No matter what the weather is, we dress for it. When she is inside she plays with her toys, watches a bit of TV at snack time but other than that she's non stop playing. I just take her lead & do what she feels like playing. She tells us when she's tired for a nap & some night she wants bed before her regular time. She doesn't get a lot of sugary snacks or drinks (loves milk) but if it's a treat then it's real sugar, no chemical sweeteners. I also have 2 teenagers & this is how they both were. A tired sleeping toddler makes for a happy mommy. You are only one person so please dont be too hard on yourself & don't listen to the negative people. I raised my older 2 alone with no help from anyone. It wasn't always easy but we made it. Good luck

Joanne - posted on 04/23/2013

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Anything harmful should be locked up and u sleep when they are sleep in the room with them or all u all get on a bed shedule at night its 2 of them and one of u gonna tire u out.

Joanne - posted on 04/23/2013

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Try time out for a minute per their age stay with them to make sure they obey add extra time if they dont take away item that they really like eg. Toy never food avoid sweets makes children hyper stick to a schedule if possible spank only as a last resort.

Reta - posted on 04/23/2013

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Get real mother. Kids that age and a lot older will get into things and it is your responsibility to make sure all those things are put up where they can't get them and you don't take a short nap if they are awake. If you have to take a nap, take it when they are laying down. Also you don't punish little kids that age by making them stay in their room all the time. They don't understand that. You are going to make your children have problems if you could this up.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/23/2013

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Time for you to adjust YOUR sleeping time so that you don't feel you need to nap during their "quiet" time.

You've already stated that you cannot get your children to listen and understand rules...

Lady, at the ages of 3 & 4, you're lucky that they haven't seriously injured themselves during your "little naps"...

They are 3 & 4 years old! NOT 8, 9, 10, NOT mature enough to be left to their own devices. In order to get them to start paying attention and following SIMPLE directions, you must be patient, and consistent.

And I would consider putting the medicine in a LOCKED cabinet, UP where they cannot climb to it.

Sally - posted on 04/23/2013

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What you are doing wrong is expecting children that young to be responsible for themselves without adult supervision. If you can't stay awake long enough to take care of your children, you either need an earlier bedtime or a babysitter.

Tracy - posted on 04/22/2013

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My daughter is 3 1/2 and stopped taking naps around a year ago. I was so sad because my nap times ended then too. Darnit child - mamma still needs naps! ;) But my general rule is you NEVER sleep while your child is awake (unless someone is there to help out) until the kid is...I don't know...maybe 9 ***AND*** TRUSTWORTHY. Hell, I still do my best not to sleep until my 16 year old is home and in bed but sometimes I do crash next to the front door on the couch while waiting. So, I do agree with many others that your kids sound like they are too old for naps. There are many other ways to get some peace though - as mentioned with an iPad, educational website (my daughter LOOOOOOVES BrainPop educational website), give them a game to play together, etc... I wouldn't recommend you to sleep though. And, definitely, get a good lock on the medicine cabinet. One last thing, I don't think it's mentioned here, are your girls more likely to break the rules or misbehave during this time only or when they are seeking your attention in general or ALL the time? All the time might mean a discipline problem that needs addressing. When attention seeking, try to identify what their purpose is and if/how to give them more undivided attention. If they are doing this usually only during the nap time, it just might be them trying to rebel against the nap time specifically because they won't want/need it anymore.

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I'm sorry, my son stopped napping at the age of around 2. I would never EVER think of sleeping while he was awake and roaming the house. Not ever. That is way too dangerous of a situation - let alone two kids that could cause double the damage and double the problems by tag-teaming. Yes, sleeping takes a backseat to being a parent. Napping is appropriate when it can happen. Not when the kids are up and about.

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You take a nap while a 3 and 4 year old are "suppose to stay in their room". First of all, no. You just admitted they don't listen - and you want to sleep while they run around?

They may be bored. You must be consistant with your punishment - never waiver. Never give in. Never let tears or tantrums make you give in. Then, even at the age of 3 or 4, they know with pushing, you will give in! Start making more drastic punishments. Take away a toy, take away the TV - it seems you like to rest - you can't. Mom's don't rest. Get over that part quick. Taking away the TV means they will have to entertain themselves and learn to find ways to play and maybe - stop getting into everything. And yes, you will have to show them.

Pamela - posted on 04/21/2013

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Children are a gift to us as their guardians and guides. We are also their first teachers. From my own observation of this generation of parents, I eel that many themselves were reared with such permissive parents and few boundaries that they themselves do not know how to be FIRM and loving at the same time. YOU must set the boundaries, not them. That is why they are children and you are the parent.

If we were born knowing exactly what to do, we would not require parenting. The best way to change unacceptable behavior is to nip it in the bud asap. Identify the behavior that you do not like to your children...i.e..."Girls, it is very difficult for Mommy when you do not listen and behave. It makes me upset and angry and it takes more time to get things done. I know you love me and i really love you. Let's sit down and talk about some new rules that we need to have."

Then set the rules (boundaries) that you are comfortable with and stick to your guns. Parenting can be uncomfortable sometimes, especially when it comes to rules that need to be followed, but believe me, you will be happier as they grow older knowing that you stuck to your guns when they were smaller and all along the way.

A disciplined child does so much better in group situations (society in general, schools, etc.) than one that is allowed to have their own way at all times.

At 3 ans 4 they are still learning. Some psychologists have determined that behavioral patterns are pretty much set by age 6. So you still have time to firm up your role as parent. Do not be arid to do so, NOW! The highest and best to you.

I you can find a set of books called P.E.T. - Parent Effectiveness Training, they have excellent guides to parenting without spanking. Hopefully they are still in print.

Lisa - posted on 04/21/2013

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Magic 1 2 3 is a great discipline tool. Check with your local elementary school to see if they teach it or know of somewhere that does. My question to you would be what do you do for discipline already. I have been working with parents for over 12 years on parenting and discipline. Consistency is key if you give them an inch they will walk all over you. You have to apply the same consquences to the same situation every time. Yes it is hard, but to stop unwanted behavior, you have to do it.
I don't agree with others about no naps. Their behavior may get worse as they get more tired. My daughter is a complete naughty child when over tired. She does everything she isn't supposed, gets defiant, and just overall ugly thus time out usually isn't far behind. She is 5 and doesn't take naps on a regular basis but takes them when I insist on the weekends. Most times, I have to sit with her for a few minutes but then she is out and when she wakes up is a different child. You can also use a baby gate to keep them in their rooms during quiet/nap time.
Please feel free to message me for more ideas and support. Like I said, I have been guiding parents through rough spots for years with great sucess. Good luck

Natalie - posted on 04/21/2013

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My four year old is similar. A few months ago I started enforcing quiet time with her. I selected a few "quiet time" toys and activities that she could play with or do each day with minimal supervision. Each day she gets to pick one or two things to do during her quiet time. It's been pretty successful. Some of the things she most enjoys are coloring, puzzles, reading books, or playing with her small figurines (my little ponies are a current favorite). My two year old still naps, so I don't know how well this works with two kiddos. You may need to put them in different areas to ensure quiet time remains quiet. :P As another poster mentioned, two kids together seems to be a recipe for trouble at times. Allowing them to individual play time apart from one another might help them to relax and stay out of places they shouldn't be. Hope this helps!

Michelle - posted on 04/21/2013

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I agree that they are too old for naps, and you should be watchful since you know they will try to get into things when you're not looking. Sadly, that means no more naps for you either. It stinks, but a reality that kids this age need to be engaged in some activity to keep them out of trouble. Usually I get a break when I sit my son at the computer to play games on PBSkids.org, or with an educational game on my phone or iPad. Painting, coloring or some other project works too. Keep medicines locked up with a child lock l, put a childproof cover on the bathroom doorknob and lock the cleaning supply cabinet too. Hope that helps!

Kat - posted on 04/21/2013

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Yeah I have to agree that naps are probably no longer needed. So that would mean that your napping days are over too. I would say you have had it pretty good up till now if they have been resting in the day this long. My first child stopped napping at about 16 months old. Yet my second wanted day naps so that was totally unexpected. Maybe you could try something else for quiet time like sitting down together with some books or the occasional movie so you can have a break if you need it. Being a mum is hard as the role keeps changing. Kids needs change constantly. I hope you are in a mums group or kindy where you can chat to others, it can really help to feel you are not alone. Good luck.

Rachael - posted on 04/21/2013

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I am in the same shoes as you. My children are both almost three and four and they get into everything! There are definitely days when I feel the same inadequacy as a mom. Trust your instincts. God put them there for a reason. If you want to read a parenting book that's wonderful, but if you are like me those can be overwhelming. Love and consistency will take your children far in life, which you are currently providing. You are a great mom-you are doing the hard work now so that when they are older you can reap the benefits. Every child gets into things they are not supposed to-that's normal. And while we do the best we can, it's hard to predict every situation to protect our children from. When our kids get into school it will get better. Thankfully, summer is around the corner. Keep them busy and involved in lots of fun outside activities. I always find days where we go to the park, go swimming, or go to a play group are always the least stressful. Hang in there, you are doing great.

Jackie - posted on 04/20/2013

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Hi Cassie,

At 3 and 4 children do not have impulse control yet. They are going to get into everything! The only sure safety net are a parent's eyes. I have a couple of suggestions to try:

(1) Since they are so close in age, I would suggest putting them in separate places for naps. When two get together there is going to be fun for them, frustration for you. Tell them they need separate naps. Tell them they do not have to sleep, but they do need to rest. Get a timer and tell them they can get up when the timer rings.

(2) Try to give the kids active time prior to going down for their nap. Fresh air has a way of invigorating and tiring out kids at the same time.

(3) Try to keep the nap time at the same time every day. If you are out with the children when they need to be napping, be mindful and expect them to be cranky so get your 'Good Mom' armor on!

Do what works. Avoid frustration and anger at all cost. Good luck!

Jackie

Peggy - posted on 04/20/2013

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Cassie,

You are not an inadequate mom. Try obtaining the book 1001 Parenting Tips for Parenting Problems by Dr. Dan Kiley. There are tips in the book for everything. If you don't want to buy the book, go to the library and get it.

Peggy - posted on 04/20/2013

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I have to agree with your comment Jodi. With all the new gadgets out there today, it is easy to put medicine in a cabinet with a safety lock on the doors.

Jodi - posted on 04/20/2013

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Actually, at 3 or 4 you kind of expect kids to be able to climb to get into places they shouldn't be when they are unsupervised - it's normal. Medicines should be locked up, or in a cupboard where there is no way to climb up to it. So yeah, I am trying to say that when you talk about medicines being out of reach, you need to make sure they are inaccessible. These girls shouldn't have been able to get into them at all. Unfortunately, not doing so can have tragic results.

Tiara - posted on 04/20/2013

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you are trying to tell me all you people who say medicine should be out of reach that none of your children have climbed things to get into places that they shouldn't be????? If thats the truth then your dang lucky. A medicine cabinet is out of reach as long as your kids dont decide to become monkeys and climb.

Peggy - posted on 04/19/2013

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Instead of picking out her options for her, why don't you let her pick her own outfits out?

Trish - posted on 04/19/2013

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I agree the nap days are over. What works for some kids does not work for others. You can try positive reinforcement. Praise them when they do what you ask.
If that doesn't work, try a chart, and reward at the end of the week. If that still doesn't work, punish them, take something away they really like.

Liz - posted on 04/18/2013

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Medicines should be absolutely out of reach, preferably locked away, in any case. Ditto for any other hazardous substance, such as laundry detergent liquid/tabs, bleach and anything else that could be applied or ingested with toxic effect.

Given their age, Jodi and Little Miss are likely (as always :D ) to be right about your daughters not needing naps any more. You can still ask them to play quietly in 'downtime' in their room(s) but don't be surprised if they don't sleep and don't want to stay in there. You're unlikely to get away with day time naps any longer.

Jodi - posted on 04/18/2013

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My daughter had well and truly given up naps at that age, so I agree that the chances are your daughters don't need naps any more. Time to develop a new routine.

With regard to the medicine cabinet....why are your medicines within reach of your children in the first place?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/18/2013

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Also, we really need to know what you are already doing for discipline in order to help you.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/18/2013

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Well, they are probably to old for naps. That may be part of it. Other wise they sound like normal girls. They are old enough to talk to about dangers, and why they should not be doing something. Also timeouts work great.

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