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Old 02-26-2013, 12:44 PM   #1
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incessant questions/tattling/whining/requests

Help! Weekly I have my two kids & my neices over for a few hours, including lunch. 5yrs, 2x2.5yrs & 13 mos.

I'm struggling with the incessant noise / requests / demands / tattling / crying that suddenly erupts as soon as I get them home (I do pick up from school & preschool).

The strategies I've tried - being calm, asking one to talk at a time, trying to wait til they ask nicely, etc - aren't working well or well enough & I end up feeling REALLY overwhelmed from the sheer volume and trying to process everything. Today I feel like I punished my eldest (2.5yr old) because of my lack of ability to deal with it I am NOT an oral learner and really struggle when there is a lot of verbal information coming at me. I also feel like I can't just take a mommy time out since it's not just my own kids present.

Help me - how can I deal better with it or set up the kids better to talk one at a time, etc?

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Old 02-26-2013, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: incessant questions/tattling/whining/requests

What kind of things are they needing/ requesting?
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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Re: incessant questions/tattling/whining/requests

Chaos is best controlled with routine So if they walk in the door wanting a snack/lunch and to pee, prep the food before you pick them up, and as soon as you walk in the door have the 5 year old pull out the snack/lunch and set up paper plates and cups while you get the 2 1/2 year olds changed/to the potty.
I "can't" hear whining tones. My kids know this and don't use them with me. It only takes a couple of times of "hey what?? I see your lips moving but theres no sound?? What are you saying?" for them to get it.
If its not a snack or potty, then basically anticipating the requests and having them take care of themselves what they are able will help you out. A 5 year old can do a lot, let her help. 2 1/2 year olds are capable of quite a bit too but they sure don't want you to know it. Work out a routine, from time X that you walk in the door its Snack, quiet play/outdoor play depending on weather, read a book time, etc. Set 5 minute timers for each "event" so they know when its ending and clean up time.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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Re: incessant questions/tattling/whining/requests

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What kind of things are they needing/ requesting?
help changing into dress-up clothes, help taking turns or enforcing turns (I'm trying to use a timer that goes off after a few minutes on its own), finding a favourite toy, getting into washroom (for the one who is potty trained), help washing hands (lunch), help into seats for lunch, wanting to do crafts (craft stuff is not within reach due to my 13mo old), wanting to know about lunch/request stuff for lunch, fort blankets falling down & needing to be rebuilt, help up & down stairs (I need to spot the 13mo old, & one of the 2.5yr olds typically needs a hand).... That is what I recall from today. I do try to set up fun games/activities for them - today there were some new things in the dressup bin, but I wonder if it's more work than necessary!
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:11 PM   #5
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Re: incessant questions/tattling/whining/requests

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help changing into dress-up clothes, help taking turns or enforcing turns (I'm trying to use a timer that goes off after a few minutes on its own), finding a favourite toy, getting into washroom (for the one who is potty trained), help washing hands (lunch), help into seats for lunch, wanting to do crafts (craft stuff is not within reach due to my 13mo old), wanting to know about lunch/request stuff for lunch, fort blankets falling down & needing to be rebuilt, help up & down stairs (I need to spot the 13mo old, & one of the 2.5yr olds typically needs a hand).... That is what I recall from today. I do try to set up fun games/activities for them - today there were some new things in the dressup bin, but I wonder if it's more work than necessary!
I have a very solid rule that if they cannot get into a piece of clothing they cannot wear it. We do LOTS of dress up around here and I just don't have time for that drama ha.

Prep lunch early, that should help, and have the 5 year old set it out while you wash hands

Set craft time at a specific time,and if they ask just say, oh, its at 2. I'm also big on the "I'll let you know when its time, ask me again and you wont be doing it". That'll work for the 5 year old, maybe not quite the 2 1/2 year olds though. Such a meanie

Is there any way stairs just aren't an option? Or keep it at a minimum, we are going upstairs now for 2 hours, type thing.

Forts they are on their own. I'm really big on independent play, and working things out amongst themselves. Try to work out a flow, so if craft time is at the kitchen table, then do it right after snack time so they are already there and you just have to bring the bucket over.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:41 PM   #6
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Re: incessant questions/tattling/whining/requests

What you described is one of my biggest struggles as a parent. I love the quiet. I agree with PP that you set a routine so they know what the flow is. I'd probably do food, potty, free play, and some type of rest time. Even if that means they all bring pillows into the living room and you read to them. A time of calm and quiet for your own sanity. We use audiobooks for rest time because my kids don't need naps but I need the quiet.

If there is arguing over toys etc I make my kids go into separate bedrooms and play alone. They'll usually come out and say sorry to each other and get back to playing nicely after a short stint alone. I'd also have some special toys stored up where they can't get them and pull one box a day out...something different each day so they don't get bored.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:28 PM   #7
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Re: incessant questions/tattling/whining/requests

Thanks for the advice, mamas. I think I was trying too hard to be a fun aunt and not as structured/routine as I should have been.

Tris - you are so wise! Thank you for the tips. I also consider myself a (proudly) 'mean mommy' but I always get lax with other kids around. I'm not sure I can prep lunch before I leave (pick up times are scattered, so I'm gone from the house for 1.5 hrs), but I could require them to just play with legos or something easy to share near the kitchen while I finish prep - and ask the 5 yr old for more help. Once they've eaten I'll try the free-play without too much help from me in the playroom. I do already get them to help cleanup after lunch, so I can join/supervise quickly after lunch.

7mom7 - I'm glad I'm not alone in this. I'm PMSing, too, so I bet that contributed to it a little.
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