Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tired Toddlers

Lately, I've been finding the two youngest girls (5yo and 2.5yo nieces) are just kind of crazy. lol. Whereas for a good long while, they would contentedly read books or draw or colour or play with Playdough or even play with Barbies, or the older would do some math or practise the sandpaper letters or something, they have moved into laugh-noise-laugh-noise-laugh-noise mode. It's like they have a contest to see how long and how loudly they can do silly things and laugh.

I'd been a bit under the weather last week and not able to realize that I have to start directing them a bit since they are no longer on automatic pilot. ;)

This morning, they showed up, and it started right away. The 2.5yo was the primary instigator. My thoughts were, "What am I going to do about this?????" I did a very un-Montessori thing. After she had decided to make even more noise after the two were asked to be quieter with the Barbies, I was going to put the Barbies away. I came down, saw that while the older was laughing, she was actually doing something with the Barbies and simply laughing at her sister. The 2.5yo was putting a Barbie tree base (or something) in her mouth and making noise. I told her she was all done, picked her up and walked with her upstairs while I figured out what to do. Then she yawned. It was about 9am and she was yawning--it hit me that her chaotic behaviour was the result of her being tired and adrenaline kicking in.

I ended up--here comes the un-Montessori part--getting out the high chair and placing her in it. To make up for that, I then picked three different activities for her to choose from--pouring beans, a Discovery Toys mosaic pegs activity and a cylinder block. She went through each one, and I then offered her paper and crayons. She drew some very cute things she wants to give to her mom. She said she was done--and by this time, her older sister had found some productive, quiet things to do--so I brought her Playdough. She made some things, only lasted about 5 minutes with the Playdough, then put it all back in the container and said she was done and she wanted out. The 5yo was so sufficiently absorbed in what she was doing, I knew it wouldn't cause any problems to let her roam free. Ha! Silly me!

She tried to get her older sister's attention, but it didn't pan out. I could see how tired she was, but unconvinced that she would fall asleep so early in the morning. She eventually decided to go play Barbies again, but it was just too much for her tired self to handle and she started crying when she saw her sister had put them all back in the bin (because, remember, I had pulled her away while she had been playing with them--they "ought to" have still been there). I went to her and asked her what she wanted, she stopped crying but didn't say anything. I said that her sister had put everything back in the bin, but it was okay, she (2yo) could take out what she wanted. I left her contemplating that, but it was a no go. Next thing I know, she's yelling her fussing. I finally look down--she's complaining about her sock, half in tears. I told her it was okay and she left it alone. Next thing I know, she's having a fit in the stairs because people are walking down it while she's trying to go up. It was only 10am by this point, but I saw that something had to be done about her tiredness! So, off to bed I brought her. It took her longer than usual to fall asleep, but she did fall asleep and is still sleeping now (an hour later). I expect she'll sleep at least another 30 minutes, possibly even another hour.

What's my point with all of this? Just that sometimes the annoying behaviours that come out of our kids, especially the loud, obnoxious, or teary behaviour of our toddlers, come not from boredom or lack of discipline or lack of guidance, but out of sheer adrenaline trying to keep them going. Which is why it's always important to, as much as possible, ask yourself why a child is behaving the way s/he is: the cause completely affects what to actually do about the behaviour.

1 comment:

Real Life Montessori said...

How true is this? I often say my daughter doesn't get tired, she just gets louder! It's so important to know your childrens' limits so you don't get frustrated with their behavior.