Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Making progress with a 3 year-old

I have to say this: 3 has been a really tough age for Myles, Billy and me. Gone are the days of the sweet baby, and even the curious (but still sweet) 2 year-old. Three has been - at best - a challenge. Billy and I have often felt like we're drowning in our efforts to find the right approach to stop some of Myles' trying ways...and have been coming up empty time after time.

But now, we may be onto something. We bought a kitchen timer. I introduced him to "my friend Timer" and told him that Timer would be going off when it was time for him to do something. At dinner, he has 25 minutes to eat. If Timer goes off before he finishes, the dogs get what's left. At 9:00, Timer goes off again and it's time for bath. You get the picture.

Well of course, being a 3 year-old, the first night at dinner with Timer was a big test. He ignored our warnings and thought there would be no consequences. He played most of dinner, only taking a bite of applesauce here and there and completely ignoring the chicken on his plate. Well, Timer went off and I walked over to pick up the plate. He FREAKED out! No! No! No! I'll eat! You can't take my plate! No food for the dogs!

He put his arms around the plate so that I couldn't get to it. Billy and I were shocked. So we gave in. We put 5 minutes on Timer and said if the food wasn't gone when Timer went off again, he was done. He chowed down his food in record time.

The second night was much easier. We put Timer on the table, told him he had 25 minutes, and the food was gone before it went off. We gave him major kudos and told him over and over again that he had "won." He had "beat" Timer! (He's extremely competitive so one way to make him do anything you want is to make it a race.)

Timer is also working fairly well so far for bath and bed time. Could we be making some progress? With God's grace, we are. I don't know how much more I can take!

When again is he turning four???


Southern Living: Preppy Style said...

What a great idea! I'm glad it's working for you. I'll have to keep that in mind when mine hits the threes!

Debby said...

Great idea!! You tapped into his currency....beating the timer.....
That should work well for you.

~~Mel~~ said...

Excellent idea!

I thought you were going to say you bought a timer to let him know when his timeout was done lol. I have a friend that sets her stove timer for time outs.

Erica said...

I've found a timer to be a great tool at home and in the classroom. It becomes the "timer's fault" and takes the pressure off of you. I noticed you put him in a bath at 9:00 pm. That's way too late for a 3 year old to still be awake! Try giving him a 7:30 bedtime and I think you'll find your struggles will lessen because he won't be overtired.