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Old 03-19-2014, 12:42 PM
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Stepping Stepping is offline Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Illinois
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Default Any Tips For Building Resilience In Preschoolers?

Hello all,

I've had a difficult few days with my oldest dcb (3.75 yrs) and thought I should reach out for help before I slowly go insane!

DCbs parents are divorced. I'm not sure what the story is as they were already apart when he enrolled at 2 and 1/2.
He had been with a nanny up until age 2 1/2 when he came to me 3 days a week.
He recently (in January) changed to full time with me.
He is not a difficult child in the sense that he doesn't misbehave and is eager to please but he is very emotional and completely lacking in independence. For example, he still needs helping getting even rain boots off his feet! When he first enrolled at 2 1/2 he couldn't feed himself and put his hands behind his back and opened his mouth like a baby bird waiting to be fed!

Anyway, he has been with me for over a year and was generally getting much better at being independent, not hoarding toys as much, being able to initiate play with out adult direction (all things he has struggled with in the past).

However, this last two weeks he has been extremely difficult. He whines every time something doesn't go his way. Cries hysterically for almost an hour at a time and just can not seem to listen to reason at all.

For example today, we all got wet playing outside in the snow. All children are attempting to change into dry clothes except for this boy. I explained that the first two to get dressed could come play in the messy room with me while I prep lunch. He then screamed at the gate hysterically (to the point of almost vomiting) that he wanted to be let in the messy room.

I tried to explain that because he didn't get himself ready, he wasn't able to join me. My assistant tried many times to comfort, cajole, distract, redirect etc but he just relentlessly screamed and screamed.

During lunch, we had all children sitting calmly and eating (even the babies) when he starts to whine again. 'I'm still hungry'. So I give more food. He pushes it away and whines 'I'm full, I don't want that!' I explain we don't talk like that in my house and that he needs to be excused. When I then pass more food to another child, he becomes hysterical again! 'Im hungry, I'm hungry'.

He screamed all the way through quiet time, all the way through potty/diaper time and nothing we did made any difference. He's been like this all week and it's exhausting me and distressing for the younger children.

So (sorry for the long vent) but I need tips for how to help this little guy deal with disappointment better. I'm meeting with mom tonight to discuss his behaviour and other than getting more sleep, I'm at a loss for what to say.

How would you handle this?
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:21 PM
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Heidi Heidi is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 6,858

Is there any chance it's a medical thing? Like...he's getting sick, or he's got some pain (headache?) that he can't verbalize? Has he been sleeping well or differently?

With my own kids, when there was a sudden change, it'd ALWAYS be a couple days before getting sick.
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Old 03-19-2014, 02:55 PM
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grandmom grandmom is offline Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 765

Send an email to both parents and talk about the behavior changes. Tell them what you are doing to help him. Do not diagnose him or his behavior. Just state what he does and when.

Then with him: He's 3.75! Have a talk with him when he is calm, and tell him he's a big boy and he can put on his own boots, or take them off, or eat, or whatever you expect. Then expect him to do it.

Don't do anything for him you know he can do himself. He has not learned to do things, because someone keeps doing it for him.

Ignore his behavior - especially the assistant you talked about when she tried to comfort/distract/etc. He is continuing this behavior because he is getting a response. He doesn't care if it's negative or positive. It's still attention.

Meals. Excuse him from the table at the first sign of disrespect. Calmly say "oh, it looks like you are all done." Let him scream. and when he is done screaming and has a moment to collect himself, ask if he'd like to come back to the table respectfully. If he doesn't collect, then let him go to nap hungry. Then when he is calm after nap and says he's hungry, remind him that he should have stayed at the table and ate what was offered.

Be careful how/what you share with parents because in their frustration with each other they may both turn on you.

Good luck.
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divorced parents, emotional, preschool, resilience

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