My four year old son is making me insane

[deleted account] ( 31 moms have responded )

I start working this Monday. But, since June, I've been home with my son every day (I know, boo-hoo). The problem is that my son is seemly clueless when it comes to entertaining himself. If I send him to his room to play by himself for a bit, the door will open within three seconds of him going in (I swear, it's a given) with him saying that he needs to go potty. I've clocked it. The longest he has played on his own with his door shut was a whopping 10 minutes. He's extremely loud, often times yelling for no apparent reason, has boundless energy, and talks from the minute he wakes up until he finally drops off to sleep (it's true, I've heard him talking to himself until he finally fell asleep).

When it's just my husband and my son, my son has NO PROBLEM playing by himself. I'm at my wits end here. Do I just suck it up and deal with 13 hours of talking/yelling? Or is there some kind of magic trick that I'm missing out on?

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Lauren - posted on 09/13/2012

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To me it sounds like you need a whole bunch of activities lined up with different ways to stimulate him into getting involved in an activity. There's simple ideas like having a coloring/drawing time. When you're alone draw a picture & put it aside. When you're with him, tell him you want to have a drawing/coloring contest. Put him at a table with the picture & crayons (get the crayola wonder paper so he can't be tempted to try drawing on walls) & tell him you're going to sit/lay on the couch & draw your own picture & when you're both done, you'll each hang your drawings on the fridge & when your husband gets home he will pick the winner. While your son is busy drawing, you relax, then whip out your pre-done drawing when he's finished.



Do you have any videos like Dora, Wonder Pets or Elmo's World? My son used to get absolutely entranced by the bright colors & songs & the dances that the characters ask the kids to participate in & he would do the dances with them & be very engaged & give me a 30 min break. Some people worry about kids & tv rotting the brain, but those shows are great because the kids don't just sit there & zone out, they are actively engaged, singing, jumping & dancing. Xbox Live offers on demand videos, as do some cable companies or Netflix or amazon prime on a laptop or just buy the DVDs online or at Walmart.



Another great activity is always a bubble bath. Toys & bubbles or squishy bath which is like a goopy colored gel makes bath time tons of fun while you sit on the bathroom floor & read a book.



Do you have an iPad or an iPhone? There are really good educational apps that you can download that even 4 yr olds can play & learn at the same time. The touch screen part of it really engages them & they really get into it. It's great too because they teach letters or counting or shapes or colors, which helps them prepare for school. If no touch screen device, then there are online websites like Nick Jr or Club Penguin or Roblox or PBS Kids or my son's personal favorite is Jump Start. A lot of these sites are very kid friendly, no way for them to accidentally wind up seeing something you don't want them to, no way for them to talk to strangers & all the games are kid friendly and promote learning things that they need to be ready for school, but it doesn't seem like learning, it seems like a cool game. Nick Jr was one my son really liked when he was smaller & had a hard time using the mouse because he was still learning fine motor control. Some of the Diego Games only required him to hit the space bar to make Diego Jump & meanwhile Diego would be saying letters from the alphabet or introducing shapes, all learning.



There are definitely things to do to get them entertained, engaged & learning while giving you a few minutes of rest & time to recoup some energy. Sometimes you have to think outside the box. Good luck. :)

Lauren - posted on 09/14/2012

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My take on it was that she was asking for ways to entertain him while getting a breather. Hard to do that at a park or playground where they could wander off. The videos that I mention actually do get the children to jump, dance, sing. Last time I checked that was physical activity. My children are 7 & 9 & so far showing no signs of stupidity or that TV or games rotted their brain when I had to use a 30 min video to try to squeeze in a cat nap to keep my sanity. They're actually bringing home report cards full of A's. Probably because I used a variety of multi-media devices to make learning fun while teaching them things they needed to know for school. My son still uses educational iPad apps to give him a boost in math.

Jodi - posted on 09/13/2012

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Uh, yeah, you don't buy dogs for children as something to entertain them.........you need to invest a lot of time in the dog too. That was probably not a good idea.



I am going to be totally blunt. From everything you posted here, I don't think you are cut out to be a stay at home mum, because what your boy is doing is totally normal for this age. I'll be honest, I found that year before they started school the most difficult with my kids, because you DO have to invest a lot of time in keeping them occupied. They are easily bored, and showing a lot of their readiness for school. It sounds to me like starting back at work on Monday is a good thing for you, and probably for your son, too, if he is off to daycare. For some people, that is the best thing for everyone :)

Bobbie - posted on 09/12/2012

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I really like all the answers you have gotten. Here is a little more to think about. Children pick up on body language first so don't think you are only inwardly going insane.

Did you ever notice that all your efforts to get time and space away from him is backfiring? LOL If you look up the word "crazy" the meaning is ....continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result.

The easiest way to end both his anxiety and your strain to find peace is the same. Love him and show him attention WHEN HE ISN'T BEING LOUD OR A PAIN. Compliment his smile and continue to talk in a normal calm voice regardless of his loudness. Face facts here. children a little mimics, he is getting that constant chatter and volume from somewhere. Do you spend a great deal of time on the phone and yelling from another room to communicate to him? Your unknowing negative actions to get away from him may cause his poor reactions. just sayin' :)

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[deleted account]

With my 3 yr old I find after some good quality time with him, he'll give me a break for a little bit. So I'll play Power Rangers with him for a little bit, or read a couple books and then he's on his merry way. He loves action figures, and he'll play with them on his own for awhile.



Drawing/coloring is a good quiet activity, if you ask him to draw/color mommy a pretty picture will he did that? If you haven't already started working with him on letters/numbers, maybe slowly start teaching those and he can spend some time practicing them?



Building stuff is great for boys too! Do you have duplo or k'nex or something he can spend time building? Or cars/trains he could race on a track by himself?



When all else fails, there's always tv. Say what you want about it, but if it weren't for tv there are days I wouldn't be able to get ANYTHING done. :O)

Niya - posted on 09/14/2012

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OMG...I thought it was just me. My daughter is the same way I give her projects to do and once there complete (5min) she's back. I even ask her doctor why she has so much energy. The funny thing is when she's around her dad or grandmother she acts like a normal kid with not that much energy...

Ronda - posted on 09/14/2012

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You could try sitting with him and teaching him to play games that he can play alone. It may take some time and effort, but it will be worth it for a half hours peace later on.

Shelly - posted on 09/14/2012

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You just reminded me of my son when he was preschool age. There were some days when he would just drive me crazy. And he had an older sister and when he was 3 1/2 a younger sister, as well, so it wasn't even as though he was alone with me. It took me some time to catch on, but eventually I realized that the days when he was the most "annoying" were the days we were home all day. He needed to get out of the house and have some real physical activity every day or he would drive me nuts. About that time I also read a book about boys, and it stated that for young boys it can actually be physically painful to not get enough exercise. This is something you might want to try. Make sure he is getting lots of physical activity. Personally I'd stay away from the TV and electronic gadgets and just make sure he can run around a lot. Do you have a secure back yard he can play in? Are there outside toys he can play with? That might be the best you could do for your sanity.

Jodi - posted on 09/14/2012

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You weren't ranting, Sarah, you asked for advice on a couple of questions. I told you what I saw from the information you gave. I am sorry if I offended you. Could you please show me where I said you were horrid at your job or you were a bad mum? Because I never said either of those things, you have just chosen to twist my words.



YOU are the one who asked if you had to just suck it up. YOU are the one who made the comment about how much you were looking forward to going back to work and putting him in daycare. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT (Just putting that in uppercase so you read it this time, because that is what I was trying to advise you - maybe YOU didn't realise that).

[deleted account]

Sorry to make the post ugly. It was the whole " I don't think you are cut out to be a stay at home mum". I don't think Jodi realizes that I was ranting, and that my son is actually clueless to how annoyed I can get. It frustrates me that people who don't know me, or my son, assumes that I'm not good at my job because I don't pretend to be Mary Sunshine about it all the bloody time.

My bad.

After my husband came home, he offered to watch our son while I take a breather. I ended up watching tv through a pile a stuffed bears, lol. I'm really hoping that this day care I'm putting him in gives him the opportunity to make friends, and to learn some independence. In his old day care, he didn't really make any friends, and was actually bullied a bit (aren't I just horrid at my job, Jodi?) so I withdrew him. So here's hoping.

Carolyne - posted on 09/14/2012

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Being a mum is the hardest job you'll ever had. My kids are aged 8 and 9 and they drive me insane too! I have found though, that if I put in quality time with them it pays off, so each day I make sure I do something with them, even if it's just a half hour walk after school or helping with homework etc. When they are 4 it's harder as they don't understand you need a break. It sounds like you could do with a good support network and some good strategies to make the most of the day so both your son and you are happy. His behaviour is obviously attention seeking and yes it's hard, but often you will find if you do make the effort to do some quality activities, then you might get more of a break. Good luck.

Alexandra - posted on 09/13/2012

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Your son seems like a perfectly normal 4 yearold. He looks just like mine!

Let him be. As long as he is not disrespectufl nopr is he hurting himself/somebody else, then there is nothing wrong with what you are saying.

When we are 4, rarely we want to be by ourselves, let alone in a closed-door room. You must find another space for him to play near you or something like that.

Jodi - posted on 09/13/2012

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Um, I didn't SAY you weren't a good mum??? Just that not everyone is cut out to be home all day with their children, and that it sounds like you may be one of them. I know plenty of women like that, and I have the utmost respect for them. My comment was not made to insult you. Why is it that "society's standards" seem to say that if you are struggling with being a stay at home mum, that makes you a bad mum? Because it doesn't. It's OKAY to say you want to go back to work because you aren't cut out for this!!! In fact, YOU said you were looking forward to going back to work. So what did I say that was so offensive to you?

Eve - posted on 09/13/2012

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Ok, it just turned ugly

But on a lighter note, I am a proffessional nanny and Sarah, I promise you the boys are way more chatty at this age, this will calm down eventually. But I totally feel you because I recently have been home spending time with my 2yr old daughter, she is used to coming to work with me and having plenty big kids to play with, I am trying to get work done, yeah, not happening. She must be under my feet constantly! Grabbing my iPad, trying to take my phone from me, and sitting on my lap when I am trying to eat something, GOD forbid I try to rest on the couch, every toy she has is shoved in my face, on my head or at my feet! LOL

This is all normal, and can test anyone's patients, but I suggest you take a deep breath and try setting him up with activities that might last longer. Ex: put a mat in the corner of the room, give him a bowl of rice/water a spoon, cup, show him how to pour into another bowl, a d how to use the spoon, when he is going, step away (without making a point of it) and do what you need to do :)

[deleted account]

And it sounds to me, Jodi, that you're sucked into society's standard of what a "good" mom is. My son knows that he's loved. I think that you're rude, and judgemental. If that offends you, then might I remind you that you were the one who decided to be blunt first? If your "advice" is insulting, then maybe you're not the one cut out to be giving anyone advice.

Carolyne - posted on 09/13/2012

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Oh, well at least he will have someone to play with. Maybe the dog wasn't the best type for his age.

[deleted account]

@Carolyne: That's actually the problem right there in a nutshell. We live out in the country. I was in school for three years, so during that time he was at day care. I also lived with my mom for a little while, and my sister and nephew lived there as well, so he had a friend. Right now though, it's pretty much just him and I all day. I got him a dog hoping that it would help, but my son wasn't the nicest to the dog, and the dog had waaaayy to much energy as it was. This Monday, I do start work, and he will be back in day care. Thank Jesus.

Tara - posted on 09/13/2012

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haha he sounds the very same as my 4 yr old,my son wants me to play 24/7 with him also a chatterbox,will not go to his room and play and when its just him and his dad he will entertai himself.....so i bought him a ds and i have to admit im loving the freedom!! think u just got to find one thing and get him hooked on it for ur sanity haha

Carolyne - posted on 09/13/2012

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Do you take him to a playgroup, or out to meet with other mums with kids the same age? I found this was always great as you can chat to the other mums while the kids play together. Maybe you could have a friend of his over and you'll find they will play together, and then he can go visit his friend and you get a break.

All mums need a break at times, I find if I make an effort to do something with my kids, they are more likely to be happy with that and then do something on their own for a while. If you only have the one child then you will always have this problem, as they have no one else to play with.

Rocio - posted on 09/13/2012

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Try those little people communities, or built cities that can get him occupied longer (not Lego City! The complexity of building the city will flush his intest). But dont expect it to be much longer than normal!... And again, try to enjoy your time with him while it lasts!!

[deleted account]

Yeah. For example, for his birthday I bought (what I assumed to be) a super exciting Lighting McQueen bike (with training wheels) last April. I've tried teaching him to pedal, I even let him bring it inside. So far, he's ridden it about four times, each time insisting that I push him.

It's like this: I worked at a day care about three years ago on my campus. I would sit down to color with the kids, and it would quickly turn into them not drawing, instead wanting me to draw/color something for them. My son does the same thing. He won't color unless he can color on what I'm drawing, wants me to make play-do shapes for him, will build onto whatever I'm building. Maybe it's a lack of confidence? He doesn't want to play unless I take the lead, and he follows. Does that make sense?

Rocio - posted on 09/13/2012

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Sarah, i get what you're saying... Have you tried teaching him how to play alone? Remember his short age... Dont asume his instinct will guide him, try "investing" some time teaching him manual games or mind games that require his attention and concentration, and why not... Get involved as well!!

Jessica - posted on 09/13/2012

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I am not surprised - Playing alone inside a room with the door closed is too much for 4 year old. They are isolated and at that age have a short attention span for anything too long. I would could never close the door on one of my 4 year olds - as one of the other Moms - stated - I woiuld wonder what was going on in there! Kids can get into trouble or injured with almost anything. As far as his energy and talking - he sounds like a normal healthy, happy ( except when perhaps closed in his room) four year old boy :)

[deleted account]

lol. I'm imaging an all out hunt to "find mommy". I installed a lock in the bathroom. I mean, hey, after almost five years, I kind of deserve a little potty privacy.

Julie - posted on 09/13/2012

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Try 2 show him how 2 use his imagination have 10mins playing with him in his room pretending u r in the woods or cave or something then say I'll b back in a min while u have 10min peace xxx

[deleted account]

Actually, I'm an introvert, and people often ask me to speak up. The loudness, and maybe it was mean of me to complain about, comes from losing some of his hearing as a baby due to multiple ear infections. The main issue that I'm dealing with is his unwillingness to play by himself at all. He doesn't play by himself in the same room as I am. Towards three pm, I'm wiped. Like, laying on the couch, having a dinosaur pushed in my face while my son repeatedly says: "You're the baby, okay, mom?" My wanting him to be in his room is my wanting him to use his own imagination, to be creative.

I thought little girls were supposed to be the talkers...>.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/12/2012

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OMG, that is SO true, Jodi!



I don't know how many times I've told a parent of a little one to "Enjoy this time, because you'll miss it when they turn into monsters like this: (And I fondly gesture towards my teens, with a big smile on my face)"

Jodi - posted on 09/12/2012

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My kids have ALWAYS hated being alone. They will play alongside me while I am doing things, but they hated being isolated in their rooms.....until they were teenagers. Then you are complaining that they never come out!!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/12/2012

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Actually, come to think of it, mine never liked the closed door either...LOL...and when that door DID get shut, I was more worried about "Ok, they're too quiet now, what in the hell is going on in there"...

Jodi - posted on 09/12/2012

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Kids don't like to be alone. Why can't he play in a room where you are? My kids NEVER liked to play in their room with their doors closed. It is isolating for them, and kids HATE being isolated. I am not suggesting you must play WITH him all the time, just that he be able to play near you, or even with the door open.....



He sounds like a normal little boy. Loud, energetic, talkative, inquisitive.......yep, that's how they are. it's also a big part of their development.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/12/2012

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Well, he's got you wrapped up. He knows that if he bugs you enough, you'll stop what you're doing and play with him. He doesn't do it with his dad, because his dad has set different boundaries.



Gently remind him that this is his play time, and that momma is working on (fill in the blank). Ask him if he'd like to play quietly in the same room as you are, or if he'd rather play in another area. Tell him that he's helping you by playing nicely. Let him know what a big boy he is, and how much you enjoy how responsible he's being.



But, I have to say, 4 yo boys are naturally LOUD! They love the sound of their own voices, they love imagining things out loud. Sometimes, they'll carry it into their older lives (my 18 YO will still talk himself to sleep if he's not hanging with his buddies)

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