So I’ve mentioned before about my troublesome whirlwind Freddie who is 2 years old, well a brief outline for anyone who hasn’t read my blog before now, Freddie is 2 years old and the complete apple of his daddies eye. We have 5 children however the older 3 are from my previous 10 year marriage and Freddie and Beth ( the baby of the family) are with my fiance Gareth of almost 5 years. Gareth doesn’t have any other children so Freddie was Gareths first biological child. He adores all 5 children and is an amazing father to all of them. However Freddie is extremely spoilt, he gets away with absolutely everything and as a result his behaviour is what can only be described as naughty, he screams and I mean screams until he gets his own way I’m pretty sure sometimes only dolphins can hear him, he hits out, we have stairgates however he scales them despite any effort to stop him, he is extremely clever and figured out at a very young age the art of opening them like any adult could, so we thought we would tie the gate to try to stop him opening them but even that was no match for clever Freddie who is so strong he would just force it open then squeeze his way through the gate and out. If it was too tight for his to squeeze through he would get a chair and push it against the gate and climb over! Earning him the nickname Houdini!
On Saturday evening I was sat downstairs and could hear Freddie once again screaming and making it sound like we were torturing him when something inside me snapped and I thought enough is enough its time for mummy to step in, so once he was in bed I spoke ( ok maybe not spoke) to Gareth and told him that on Sunday I would be taking over from Freddie and trying to calm him down a little bit, I wanted to use the things I had learnt from the older 3 and just see if there was anything that I could try to help his behaviour, so once everyone had climbed into bed I sat at the computer and got to work, all those years of watching programmes such as tiny tearaways and supernanny mixed with the knowledge from the older 3 were about to be tested.
The first thing I did was to search online for a reward chart, now I was dubious Freddie is only 2 years old and I have seen these done with children around 3, he isn’t 3 until July but I figured I could give it a go and see what happened. Next I wanted to see if placing him into a routine would help, one of the habits Freddie had gotten into was having 2, yes 2 breakfasts, because he gets up so early he would have breakfast around 5:30 then breakfast again with the rest at 7:30 , he was also not eating it at the table but literally on the tv unit right in front of the tv and as a result come lunchtime he wasnt hungry so I wanted to nip that straight away. So I sat a devised a routine that would be easy for him to adjust to and hopefully one that would give him structure (as you can see from the pic above I was very tired and it was late so I messed up on the Monday one but luckily he can’t read yet!) I told Gareth he was not to get up with Freddie on Sunday morning and was to nudge me and leave me to it just so I could see if it made a difference.
Sunday morning he woke up and I was nudged , I woke up took him downstairs and took him straight to his new dinosaur chart , I made a big deal about it being his big good boy chart and how we were going to see how many stickers he could get, he asked for breakfast and I said no instead we were going to play and wait until 7:30 to have breakfast, we played for a short while and soon 7:30 came around, I took him into the kitchen where he got me his bowl, then passed me the milk and spoon, he really enjoyed helping to make his breakfast then he sat at the table for his breakfast, when he went to get down I simply said ‘Freddie could you eat at the table please?’ and he put his bowl back on the table and finished his breakfast -RESULT!
Next on the list was get dressed, I told Freddie that it was 8 o’clock which meant that it was time to get dressed, he came over to me and we had a chat, sang songs, spoke about what he would like to wear, what colour his jeans were, and his top and the bus that was on his top, we gave him a wash and he got dressed with no fuss at all, as we did each task on his sheet we ticked it off and had a high 5 and I made a big deal of praising him and telling him what a good boy he was when he did it without any problems.He started asking for fruit and I simply said lets draw a picture instead we will have a snack at 10:30 and we sat down to draw pictures.
Snack time came and again I told him the time and then took him into the kitchen and asked him to choose between a yogurt or a piece of fruit, he said he would like an orange and remembered to use his manners so we peeled his orange and went back to the table to sit down to eat it, this time to my complete amazement he didn’t even try to pick up his plate and take it to the tv instead he just sat nicely and ate his orange before saying finished and then getting down from the table … was this even my child?? another big tick!
We played some more and at this point I have to tell you time is getting on and in a normal day Freddie would have attempted to climb a stairgate at least 6 times, screamed at me around 10 times and hit out many more times, he hadn’t even done any of these things once!!!!! I was amazed surely it couldn’t really be this easy , it was now dinner time I explained to Freddie that I was about to make dinner as it was 12 o’clock and he came with me into the kitchen, as I made dinner I told him everything I was doing he went to walk towards the cooker and I opened the cooker door showed him his dinner was cooking and explained that if he touched it that it would be very hot and it would hurt him , he said ok mummy and stood back from the cooker and just stood in the doorway and watched, honestly and truthfully the day before he would have screamed in my face to touch that oven, this was incredible! Again he sat nicely at the table with no fuss and ate his dinner, ok he made some mess but who cares he wasn’t stood by the tv!
Next up was nap time, this didn’t go so well 🙁 I tried the rapid return method where you pick them up and return them to their bed without any form of communication at all over and over again , I persisted for half an hour solid before I decided he just simply wasnt tired, and despite him not actually going to sleep there was still progress as usually he would scream the house down but instead of screaming he was just whimpering and moaning, we bought him downstairs and I took him straight to his dinosaur where I got a red pen and under the part that says staying in bed I put a big red cross, I then told him that he had got the cross for not staying in his bed at nap time and that it had made me sad, he sat on the sofa for 2 minutes ( 1 minute for every year of his age) and then was let off the sofa to play , no more was said about it however I walked into the kitchen and caught him telling himself off and saying I got a red cross because of my bed so despite my earlier worries that because of his age he wouldn’t understand he clearly did, so now we move onto afternoon snack time. I told him it was 2pm and snack time and he came into the kitchen and chose 1 biscuit and an orange , again he sat at the table and ate it with no fuss, another massive tick!
The afternoon we spent playing with his cars and dinosaurs we had great fun, any time I thought he was going to have a wobble I distracted him with something else, he tried to scale the stairgate once and I told him to come down and he said sorry mummy and got down to which I offered lots of praise. I purposely spent the whole day using a different approach to the usual telling off to see what effect it would have and ignored any bad behaviour but really over excitedly praised any good behaviour, 5pm came and we sat down for tea again he sat perfectly at the table with attempt to get down by the TV. Then after tea and he had his bath, I took his hand and took him to his dinosaur with some stickers where we went through the list one by one and each one that he had done I handed him a sticker to put on and once he had put the sticker I made a massive fuss and high-fived him and told him how proud I was of him.
we then cheered, cuddled , clapped and made a massive deal of the fact that he had been such a super mega fantastic good boy all day long and hadn’t kicked or shouted or climbed or been naughty all day apart from at nap time and because he had done so well and got so many stickers he was rewarded with a very well deserved chocolate coin 🙂
So despite all of my earlier reservations, despite me being a mum who has never really used routines or reward charts and despite me thinking my little boy was possible from another planet it turns out all he needed was a little bit more structure and a little bit more guidance… it may well have just been a complete fluke or coincidence but what I do know is that I am completely proud of him for doing so well and I really hope that he continues on his magical journey of turning into a well-behaved big boy
WELL DONE FREDDIE MUMMY IS VERY PROUD!!!!!