Advice for Moms

Pip88
Need advice on getting my 3 year old to want to go out.
by Pip88
December 6, 2012 at 6:02 PM

My 3 year old son is mostly happy.  But, in the past 6 months, some of the worst days of my life have stemmed from rants and temper tantrums over getting him dressed and out the door.  Some days it is to go to daycare (which is a whole other issue), but some days it is just to get him to walk outside. We live where it can be pretty rainy so I am adamant about getting out when the sun is shining. I try to make it fun..."let's go to the playground!", "Let's go feed the horses next door!"  "Let's go look for bugs!"  but he absolutely flips out, kicks and screams and makes it just about impossible to even get his pants on...let alone shoes and jacket.  Some times I just give up but then I am cranky all day being stuck in the house.  Most of the time I don't give in because I know if I do, it will reinforce that if he throws a fit, he'll get his way.  But that leads to bigger fights and hitting and screaming ...and then me crying because I feel like a failure that I didn't raise a happy son who wants to go out and play.  Some days it can be quite bad.  Any help?  I have read books about stuff like this and I've tried things like giving him warnings ("we are going to go out and play in 5 minutes"...or, "after breakfast", etc.) and hyping up the outting and even giving treats..."it is going to be so fun when we go out and play soccer in the backyard!" ...none of that works, it just gives him time to get even more worked up and mad about going out.  Anybody have any ideas what is going on?  Why he would act like this?  What I can do?  Normally he likes to go out and I used to be able to get him going by just saying that we were going outside!  He'd get all excited!  Going places like the post office and grocery store can be equally painful to just get out the door.  When he goes though, he does enjoy it.  Thanks to anyone who may have experience with this or suggestions.  I'll try almost anything!

Replies

  • CoeyG
    by CoeyG
    December 6, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Let him choose what to wear.  Instead of "lets go here" tell him I'm going over to feed the horses would you like to come?  He is beginning to want to have choices, more control.  And stop trying to force him He will be fine inside the house by himself for a few minutes, go sit on the porch.  He will become curious and come looking for you, don't go inside, wait for him to come outside.  Then get up and say I'm going to walk over to the horses then start doing so.  Pick up a rock and marvel at what is on it's underside. again he will become curious.  And what is wrong with going out in the rain?  Don't you know how much fun it is to splash in puddles and get soaking wet?  Haven't you ever danced in the rain with your child? 

  • Pip88
    by Pip88
    December 6, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Thank you, yes, I've tried some of that.  Yesterday I was in our back yard (in the rain!, yes we do play in the rain) with him screaming "Please Mommy, please, please (he likes to plea over and over) come inside!"  I gave in that time because I think my neighbors were getting worried.  I've told him that it is absolutely fine for him to stay inside but that I love to be outside and that it is good for me and I want to go by myself and he can come if he wants....he hangs on my legging screaming..."I don't want to go outsiiiiiiiiiide!"  "I don't want you to go outsiiiiiiiide!"

    When I can break free from his grips and actually step outside, I'll try your suggestions.....I do try to trick him with "there is something cool out there that I want you to see"...and then find a cool rock or a feather.

  • CoeyG
    by CoeyG
    December 6, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    He doesn't want you to go out because of seperation anxiety.  You simply just tell him "I'm going outside, if you want to be with me then come outside.  If you want to stay inside you can stay but I am going outside" and then jjust go.  Don't talk to him any more and ignore his pleas. 

    I do have to ask, do you have a dog?  A dog might draw him outside.  Get a dog (doesn't have to be a big one) and let your son know that the dog needs outside time and you will be taking the dog out, if he wants to he can join you, make sure you have balls and frisbies for the dog as well as a leash for walking. 

  • JasonsMom2007
    December 7, 2012 at 12:11 AM
    My son was like that at that age. What worked for him was throwing his clothes in the dryer for a few minutes to warm them. If he hurried and got dressed he had warm clothes to put on. If he took too long the clothes were cold.
    now most days I don't even have to tell him to get dressed :) and I no longer have to warm his clothes either.
  • Aishamusty
    December 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    This should work

    Quoting CoeyG:

    Let him choose what to wear.  Instead of "lets go here" tell him I'm going over to feed the horses would you like to come?  He is beginning to want to have choices, more control.  And stop trying to force him He will be fine inside the house by himself for a few minutes, go sit on the porch.  He will become curious and come looking for you, don't go inside, wait for him to come outside.  Then get up and say I'm going to walk over to the horses then start doing so.  Pick up a rock and marvel at what is on it's underside. again he will become curious.  And what is wrong with going out in the rain?  Don't you know how much fun it is to splash in puddles and get soaking wet?  Haven't you ever danced in the rain with your child? 


  • trebelcleff
    December 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    Ah three.  My oldest, who has been absolute bliss for the most part, suddenly started throwing tantrums about getting dressed each morning when he was three.  It took me holding him in a restraint grip and my husband trying to snag a leg and keep it in the pants while he went fishing for the other one that was flailing around just to get him dressed for WEEKS.  I laugh now (and will forever tell all of his friends this story until the day I die), but I remember feeling like a really shitty parent while it lasted.  So I feel your pain!  But you will endure as long as you don't cave in.

    Try giving him choices... like do you 1) want to go to the park or 2) go on a hike or 3) feed the horses?  Sometimes it's all about power, and by giving them some of the power to make a decision it will temper the outburst.  Don't make it about going outside either, make it more goal oriented (finding a rock or bug, meeting a friend at the playground, etc.) and let him pick which one he prefers.  It might take several tries, and for a while you might be the one that ends up deciding, but eventually he will realize that even if he doesn't like ANY of the choices that one of them is happening and he has the power to choose which one he will like the most.

  • meliscool72
    December 8, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    try asking him why he doesn't want to go and if he tells you try to work around those issues or something. Ask him to tell you where he would like to go and use that is a reward or something later on. That is all I can think of right now it has been so many years since mine were so little and so freaking bossy LMAO

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