Need help discipling my child!

TIFFANY - posted on 04/18/2013 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Hi my name is Tiffany I'm 24 years old and a mother to 3 kids...I have a 4 year old daughter that I basically need help with. I am trying to show her responsiblities and it's likes she doesn't listen. She is always doing things I tell her not to do and is always talking back. I would clean her room alot and tell her please help mami keep this clean and within an hour or two the room is a complete mess! I have punished her by either taking away her tablet or no tv, time out in the corner and a lil spanking. Nothing works with her. Someone plz help me with ideas

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NANCY - posted on 04/22/2013

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been there done that! lol, you just gotta be firm with your voice, say it one time when you give her a chore (cleaning up toys, making bed, help set the table, etc) and walk away. dont continue to get frustrated or lecture her or anything, in other words dont do your normal routine with her when you get frustrated with her (it doesnt help, trust me) and if she doesnt do it, no desert, no tv time, go to bed early for disrepecting you and not obeying you. it works! the more you are consitant withputting action to action, not just words, she will see you mean business. also what helped me out was a book by Dr. Lehman "Have a new kid by friday". i got a 10 yr old daughter. i wish i had this book when she was 4 yrs old too!

Amanda - posted on 05/27/2013

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Don't help her clean it at all. If she wont help you leave it a mess. When she can't find her toys or any space to play she will start to clean up. Also when her room is a mess don't go in. I mean no night time cuddling or nothing. Tell her that your room is too mess I can't come in cause I don't want to step on anything. My mom use to clean my room all the time until I was 10. Then I figured out that if I kept it a mess she would stay out and since we did not get along I left it a mess. Showing her what happens when she doesn't pick up works just as well as taking thing away. I did the leaving my sons room a mess and when he couldn't find his favorite toy he asked me to help him clean up so he could find it. Now when three toys are on the floor we have to clean his whole room. Funny how the little mind works. With the back talk tell her once you don't like her tone and wont talk to her until she talks nice. when my son backs talks i don't even respond to him. A minute later he comes and says sorry and talks nice. Also telling her she hurt your feelings helps too.

Barbara - posted on 04/23/2013

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My daughter has been cleaning her own room for about 6 months and she just turned 3 last week. So I don't think 4 is too young for that level of responsibility.

She doesn't always put things back in the perfect place, but they are put away and that is good enough at her age.

So this is what I did, and why I do what I do.

I started by sitting in her room with her the first few times and would tell her put the food in the kitchen, put the books on the shelf, put the clothes in the hamper, etc. I didn't do it for her or help even, if there are things she can't put away because she can't reach, I reorganized so she can do it alone. Lots of high fives and praise after each request is finished. I did this the first 5 times, so every night for a week. Then that weekend I asked her to pick up her room and that I would come in for inspection when it was done and to let me know. Every so often I'd hear her playing instead of picking up and I'd call out, "are you ready for inspection?" and she'd say no and go back to cleaning (it takes her about 5 min to clean and 10 min to play while cleaning, she's usually done in about 15 minutes). When she tells me she's done, I go in and will inevitably find a couple of things that she missed, and point them out. She tells me to go out, then she tells me when she's done and the important part, when I come back in and it's all put away, praise the heck out of her and tell her how proud I am and we do lots of high fives and hugs. I still do this 6 months later. And cleaning her room isn't a chore at all, I just tell her to do it. I let her do it and even if it isn't perfect, I leave it alone! I don't rearrange things she puts away, I'll undermine her confidence if I do. Once a week I go in while she's not around and resort a few things for 15-20 minutes back to their appropriate bins and straighten the shelves.

If we have company coming so her room has to stay clean, I tell her that company is coming and it has to stay clean, so she can play with x or y, but she has to clean it up in 20 minutes (usually 10 minutes before company should arrive). Or I'll distract her from her room by having her help with the company preparations. Above all I make it fun and her responsibility. The concept of time isn't because they'll know 20 minutes is up and it's time to clean, but so that when 20 minutes is up and you remind them to clean they'll know it was coming and you will be less likely to have a tantrum. I highly recommend setting a timer, so it's the timer telling her time's up, not mommy. It helps.

If I see her throwing toys on the floor when she's done (really done, not just putting it down for a break), I remind her that's not where they belong, but I don't police her the whole time she plays.

I do not have a one toy at a time rule, my daughter can have a tea party with her dinosaurs and dolls and they might have had to come in cars, and she can build them chairs out of blocks to sit in and read them books while they eat. I don't care if she has every toy in her room on the floor, so long as it's all put away before bedtime. And she's really good about that now.

We did the same process for the family room and she's really good about cleaning it up (her toys and movies and stuff) too.

Remember, they are kids... their rooms are meant for them to play in... let them mess them up... just have a time at night that they clean them back up again.

Recap
Show her how to clean it, be very specific put item x in this place
Lots of praise for what she does, even if it isn't perfect
Don't go behind her straightening up
Let her make messes, really big messes, just make sure she picks up again each night
When it's a special circumstance, give her playing choices so you can minimize the mess (explain why, but simply. Y is coming over so we have to keep the room clean, you can play with A or B until they get here, if you clean it up in 20 minutes, use a timer)

Now I just tell her to clean her room, I'll be in for inspection when it's done, and she cleans her room. Like I said, she just turned 3 last week, so I hope you can make it work for her at 4 :)

Hope this helps!

[deleted account]

Saying "Help me keep it clean" is too vague for a 4 year old. You need to set specific rules.
My son is allowed to have ONE and ONLY ONE set of toys out at a time. Before he can play with a new toy, he must put away the one he had out before. If he fails to do so, and I come into the room and find any toys that he is not playing with in the floor (or anywhere other than their proper home) I give the toy to charity.
I keep a box in our garage. When I find a toy not put away, I just toss it into the box, then as soon as we have the chance, I take the toy to the charity drop off.
I do not ever replace the toys. If he wishes to replace a toy that he lost due to not putting it away, he can use his allowance to buy a new one.

This method took less than a month to get through to him, and now he always puts his toys away.

Diana - posted on 04/22/2013

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What I have found tat works with my twins is making it fun and a race type if a game and after that is done we do high 5's and praise them for it A LOT for example ill Bragg to my husband about how well they picked up their toys and they feed off of that till the next day and we start all over again ;) good luck oh yeah I also use treats for it as well

15 Comments

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Sherrie - posted on 05/24/2013

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Take everything out of her but her bed . For a week and slowly give her things back with rules and as she follows them she can have more back .

Hellonheels - posted on 04/22/2013

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I Agree. I had a hard time finding "the voice" that made my daughter's ears perk up. got to be stern (never yell- no one listens to a screamer).

Hellonheels - posted on 04/22/2013

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Kids, especially around toddler age, hate being treated like a baby. put a bib like- "ugly colored" (non girl-ish color)- bandana on her. tie it loose enough, around her neck, but to were she cant remove it herself. and when she picks up her toys take the bib off. remind her that she is getting to be a big girl and that it also comes with more things that she is required to do. this technique also worked with my toddler when she repeated a bad word, and or name calling other kids on the play ground. Make the crime fit the punishment....

-Megan

[deleted account]

I'm 25 and my situation is the same like yours... looking back at when mine was 2 she wasnt as she is now because now she is talking and its worse cuz I see my self argue with a 4 year old. patience is all I can tell you cuz that's all I keep on me with dealing with my daughter. keep working with her on all the stuff you want her to do but one thing I been doing that I never did was always get on her level so that ways she can have you attention on what you are saying. good luck and remember be calm n patience.

Shada - posted on 04/20/2013

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Tiffany,

Usually what I do is ask him to pick up his toys so we can go to the park, he can go with me to the store, or just so the house looks nice when his dad, and usually he takes his sweet time but does get it done eventually and if he flat out refuses then we just don't do that said thing. That way he sees that there are consequences for everything he does whether good or bad. Just be patient most of all I think that that is the key to teaching kids anything new.

Shada - posted on 04/20/2013

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Juile

My son is 3 will turn 4 in May and he cleans up his room just fine without my help (although he does ask for my help). I started the smaller tasks when he was 2 1/2. I think that this is an ok age to start picking up after herself.

Julie - posted on 04/19/2013

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Hi Tiffany,

I'm struggling with my 8&11 year old, so no pro hear however, a four year old is not old enough for that level of responsibility.
Start with smaller task and reward her for completing it. "crayons away" "dolls in beds" or "clothes in hamper".
Also, make cleaning time a game that can be fun. A race to finish before timer goes off, or beat you to the blocks, things like that worked with my boys @ that age.
Also, warnings prior to clean up helps. In preschool the light was flicked off-on and every child new it was clean up time, the "clean up song" was played and sang as everyone put things away in there space. Try simulating at home with favorite sing-song for her to clean too.

TIFFANY - posted on 04/18/2013

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thank u i will try to get that book...my daughter is pretty out going and silly but wen i mean bissness its like she doesnt take me serious...and as for the room its more like her playing with the clothes she seems to change her clothes alot haha and pull things out of place and leaves it there i have her help me clean the room i dont let her do it alone because even i know it may be too much for her to handle...but if she has like maybe 4 items laying around and i tell her to pick them up she simply seems to ignore me and leaves it there...it kinda drives me crazy she doesnt listen to rules....

LeiShell - posted on 04/18/2013

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I am reading the book The Happiest Toddler on the Block, and it is so insightful...I know she is four and expected to be out of the toddler stage, but you might find it helpful in knowing how a child thinks and then figure out your best way to handle it. All kids are different so I am not sure what will work for her. I think instead of punishing, create rewards...everyone responds better with positivity, especially kids. If she cleans something take notice and praise her for that. Then create a chart with appropriate chores for a four year old. I think expecting a four year old to have a really clean room might be a high expectation, so find jobs that she can do and put it on her chart. Also, kids don't multitask like us. So if you say, Clean up this room, and then put your clothes away, and then, and then,....they may only accomplish the first thing you asked. So, while it takes more work to stay on top of each thing she is doing, it is how she thinks. I always prompt cleaning by helping my son and asking him along the way. As for destroying the room after you clean it...I don't know. Sounds like she enjoys making it messy...but not necessarily focusing on any one thing to play with. I have gotten lucky that since I am such a neat freak, and my son has always seen that, he only makes a small mess with toys he actually plays with. But I would really read that book because it is the best advise for a parent!

LeiShell - posted on 04/18/2013

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I am reading the book The Happiest Toddler on the Block, and it is so insightful...I know she is four and expected to be out of the toddler stage, but you might find it helpful in knowing how a child thinks and then figure out your best way to handle it. All kids are different so I am not sure what will work for her. I think instead of punishing, create rewards...everyone responds better with positivity, especially kids. If she cleans something take notice and praise her for that. Then create a chart with appropriate chores for a four year old. I think expecting a four year old to have a really clean room might be a high expectation, so find jobs that she can do and put it on her chart. Also, kids don't multitask like us. So if you say, Clean up this room, and then put your clothes away, and then, and then,....they may only accomplish the first thing you asked. So, while it takes more work to stay on top of each thing she is doing, it is how she thinks. I always prompt cleaning by helping my son and asking him along the way. As for destroying the room after you clean it...I don't know. Sounds like she enjoys making it messy...but not necessarily focusing on any one thing to play with. I have gotten lucky that since I am such a neat freak, and my son has always seen that, he only makes a small mess with toys he actually plays with. But I would really read that book because it is the best advise for a parent!

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