Monday, October 15, 2007

I Need Some Help

Yes, that is the kitchen table and yes, that is my daughter on top of it. I did say I needed help, didn't I?

Megan won't stop climbing on top of the kitchen table. On the day I took this picture, we were all ready to go out shopping. I had to run upstairs to get my socks and I came back to find her in her new favorite spot, dancing on top of the kitchen table. I was gone for no more than 30 seconds!

I need some advice. Real advice. Please don't tell me not to leave her for 30 seconds. (Only someone who has never stayed at home with kids will think that is possible anyway.) A few times a day (ha) I must look in a direction that is not hers. While I am doing so, I must be confident she is not dancing on the table.

I've read three books on toddlers from cover to cover and still don't feel like I'm in control of my pint-sized climber. One book says it is ok to slap on the hand in a dangerous situation to get the child's attention quickly and to let them know in no uncertain terms that their behavior is unacceptable. (ex: running into the street) Climbing on top of tables????? Well, I tried it. I slapped her hand and she cried. Then she climbed back up on the table. I continued this cycle until I realized IT WASN'T WORKING. I don't want to have to hit her - I really don't. I'm especially not going to knowing it isn't working.

The same book said to try putting the toddler in time-out to allow for introspection. Are they serious??? INTROSPECTION?? My child introspects nothing right now!!! On the the next book.

The next book said to let the child learn from natural consequences. For example, the natural consequence of throwing your food is that you cannot reach it and therefore don't get to eat it. This plan doesn't work in all circumstances. It would be crazy to let her learn about the natural consequences of climbing on the table by falling off. Besides, she already fell off once (remember?) and obviously didn't learn her lesson. (note the sarcasm)

The third book said to count to three out loud to give the child a chance to change their behavior. (Katie tried this, by the way, to which Colin replied "4 - 5 - 6 and 7.....yea," so pleased with himself he could count.) Not exactly a glowing review for this particular plan. Anway, the book says if the behavior doesn't change, pick the toddler up and move them to time-out. If they leave the time-out area, DO NOT hold them in it. It gives them attention, which you don't want to do. It says if they leave the time-out area, use a playpen to contain them for one minute for every year old they are.

My problem with that plan is that Megan sometimes sleeps in her playpen when we are away. I don't want her to get confused and think she is in trouble when we try to put her in bed away from home. Also, am I going to be putting my five year old in timeout in a playpen??

I modified the book's plan and sat a chair in the corner of the dining room. I sat her in it immediately after she climbed on the kitchen table. I set the timer on the stove to 1 minute and did not give her any attention. When I came back to get her, she was standing on the dining room chair!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Please, please help. I have a Master's degree in education, specializing in children with behavior/emotional issues. My area of expertise does not extend down to 15 month olds with a fondness for climbing.

Once we've solved this problem, I have others................screaming in the grocery store to get down, throwing all the food out of the cart on the floor, picking her nose in public, passing gas loudly in the library and grunting..........these are just a few of Megan's charming habits. Ideas??? Ideas, please!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

Mary said...

Oh, and as far as the screaming, throwing, gas passing, and nose picking....welcome to the toddler years. Duck your head and plow through.