Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/Trashy House

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Question
Hello there and how are you?
   I have a couple of issues as a father who is in need for advice. First of all, let me introduce myself. I am 26 yrs old, married to an amazing wife, with two kids, and a dog. We stay in a 2 bedroom apartment. Now let's get to the issue.(the kids) They are both boys; one is 2 years old and the other one is 1. They are sweet at times, but are very frustrating to me when it comes down to keeping the apartment clean. They trash this apartment like it's a trash bin. I constantly cleans up to the point that I feels like a janitor. I puts all my pride into cleaning up because I love breathing cleanness of a house. Me and my wife tries to keep it clean, but them two as a team is a nightmare. We even made the 2nd bedroom out of a play pin for them by putting toys in there and a TV with cartoon on it, but instead, they drag the toys into the living room.  That's not all, they love to stay up late to where me and my wife doesn't have any alone or quality time together. The attention between me and her are blocked by those two rascals. And they wakes up so late like around 11am-12:30 pm at the most.( My 2 year old son's bed is next to our bed and our 1 year old sleeps in the bed with us. The 2 bedroom is across the other side of the apartment, but my wife does not like them that far from our bedroom due to safety reasons of fearing that someone would sneak in and take our kids. Also, it's hard to teach my 2 year old to brush his teeth...all he wants to do is suck the tooth pasted off and bite down onto the tooth brush. Another issue is getting my 2 year old off pacifies. When we takes his away, he cries like some one is dying or he looses his, he steals his little brother's. Even when he goes without a pacifier, the moment he sees that we gave his brother a paci, he cries for his, especially at bed time. Another issue is that all my 2 year old wants to eat is junk food (chips, candy, cake,etc.) I really need your advice. I am dad who wants to change a few things around the house professionally. Thanks in advice.

Answer
Hi

There seems to be a lot going on and I will try to assist you.
The tooth brushing, so long as he is getting the toothbrush in his mouth and rubbing it around a bit - it is a good start for his age and these are his baby teeth. I am more concerned about him swallowing the toothpaste off the brush so try to ensure the toothpaste is low flouride for kids and use as little as possible at the moment. Try to get him to spit and rinse.  I find most kids learn from copying and having things made a game so you could try to brush your teeth at the same time and so that he copies you for a few nights.
Try to have the same evening routine and wake them up even if it is hard to get them up they have to be awake by 9am - children this age should still be having one day sleep and then back in bed at 9pm latest, slowly push this time back till it is around 8pm.  Depending on their acitivity in the day most children will sleep from 7.30pm onwards.  
You can sit with him and read with him in bed or tell him he can sit and play in this room but he cannot come out of his room from 7:30pm and see if he can do an activity or play by himself until he is ready to sleep.
The only way to keep the place clean may be to give them less toys, pack them into containers and rotate containers weekly so they have specific toys.  You can teach them to tidy up with you before bedtime or you have to try to do it with them again make tidying fun or a game to get them started and then it will hopefully become a habit.  Unfortunately, kids this age want to be around their parents which is why they want to bring their toys into the living areas.  You could let them bring a toy in or a box and make sure they tidy that up before going back into another room.

Forget about trying to stop the pacifier.  You could even use it as a tool to get him to bed as you can tell him he can have it when he lays in his bed and keep it away from him the rest of the day. This will get him into his room or bed as he gets something he really wants, that is a habit already. If the baby has his and he throws a tantrum you could ask if he wants to go sleep and he can have his pacifier.

I think so long as the lollies and sweet foods are kept out of his reach and he at least tries other foods it is okay to use them as dessert or a small snack.  It is not unusual for children at this age to only eat a few foods so if they like toast give them toast, if they like a certain vegetable or fruit give it to them.  They also don't need much food at this age.  

They are going to grow up so just try to get them involved to 'help' you tidy etc and give them lots of praise when you see them do something that you want them to do.  

Please don't hesitate to follow up if you need to.  Kind regards, Eleanor  

Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers

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Eleanor Formaggio

Expertise

I can answer questions where practical advice is sought in relation to behaviour issues of 2-10 year olds. I specifically look at the influence of personality in a child's behaviour and tailor advice to suit the individual child and parent. This is useful since not all children are the same. I can suggest techniques for tantrums, child aggression and sibling rivalry and adapting to change.

Experience

I am a counsellor and child behaviour consultant based in Sydney, Australia and mum to three boys ages 12,10 and 6. I have been involved in setting up and facilitating community support groups for new mothers and run parenting workshops so parents can better understand their children's behaviour. I have spent alot of time observing personality differences in children and understanding how these differences can be used to make parenting easier. I developed the Early Childhood Personality Rating Scale for identifying child personality types in children as young as two. I am the founder of Parent with Potential and developed the Prechooler Personality Kit and READ personality system for primary aged children. More info can be found at www.thechildrenscounsellor.com.au

Publications
Book: In this Present Moment: Quality Time Ideas for busy parents.

Education/Credentials
I have a Bachelors Degree in Applied Social Science (Counselling).

Past/Present Clients
Parents of 2-8 year olds. Mothers with Postnatal Depression or anxiety attending a support group or seeking individual counselling or advice in relation to their child's behaviour.

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