As I mentioned the other day, Phat Daddy and I were just a little fed up by Doodle's behaviour. Between lack of sleep and a horrible new attitude we were both ready to explode.
So, instead of arguing about it, we actually came up with a game plan to conquer the bratty behaviour. And we explained this plan to Doodle who seems to like it.
As we saw it there are 3 major issues.
1) Way too much tv.
2) Not enough sleep
3) A bad attitude (or in his words, not being "a nice boy")
The more we thought about it, the more they all seemed to tie in together. Of course if you are tired you become cranky, and then you take it out on the people you are most comfortable with - your parents and friends. A huge contributing factor was the tv he is watching. His inactivity while watching tv is keeping him from burning off his energy and then he can't sleep. But, he still needs to get up in the morning.
What we realized is that because we were all tired and busy and I've been more and more lethargic we've started a pretty bad routine of all chilling by the tv. Okay for a day off. Not okay for everyday.
So, we set television boundaries for Doodle. His favourite show right now is Handy Manny (Playhouse Disney). It is on from 6:30-7. So, assuming we are home at that time that is Doodle's show. He may get to watch more tv before, we may watch the news, whatever, but he gets to watch Handy Manny on the condition that instead of a temper tantrum when the tv goes off HE is responsible for turning the tv off.
But, instead of going to bed, which he sees as punishment, we have "fun time". And, in the half hour before he's getting ready for bed he chooses something fun to do with Mommy or Daddy. This can be anything from playing toys in the basement with us to having a bath to last night's activity of painting valentine's cards (and Mommy) with glitter glue. The benefit of this - it forces us to be more involved and hands-on, something that I've been sucking at lately, and it also seems to burn a lot of excess energy.
The amazing thing is, this seems to be working. Last night, for instance, after fun time was over (and really, half an hour is his attention span) we were brushing teeth when he spotted his (kids') shaving cream and razor. He immediately wanted to play shaving. I told him that no, he could do that for fun time the next day, but he had already had his fun time. There were a few tears, not a complete meltdown, and when Phat Daddy said that tonight's fun time would be the two of them shaving together, Doodle was excited. A few days ago this would have been an hour long meltdown and I would have finally given in. Now we both have an out.
Amazingly, after that we read one book, and bedtime was easy. I've gotta say that when you put your child down happy bedtime is happy.
We've told him that if he's a nice boy all week that we will do something special on the weekend. His teachers are also involved. They have been reminding him to be nice to his friends, and apparently with just gentle reminders he's been having great afternoons and okay mornings. He knows that we are going to be asking, and that being mean and grouchy with his friends is not okay.
So, it's a start. I know it takes awhile to get into a routine. And, I figure that just as I get into this routine the baby will come and that will all be changed. But, a few weeks of peace. I'll take it. And, I love that I'm getting my sweet little Doodle back!