New to the board

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-01-2007
New to the board
4
Thu, 10-02-2008 - 4:40pm
Hi, my name is Heidi.
I'm a foster parent and recently had a 4-year-old placed with me. I'm a regular on some other boards, but decided I needed to start hanging out on this one as well.
He's a really great kid, I've nicknamed him Owl, is really smart and for the most part seems to obey -although really slowly sometimes- and is in general a good kid.
I'm still trying to figure out which of his behaviors are normal for a 4-year-old and which are associated with the trauma of being separated from his parents. I also have his 1-month-old sister so there are some jealousy issues there too. He totally loves her, but really resents any one-on-one time I spend with her.
Today I was thinking about coming up with a sticker/rewards chart for the few behaviors we are having issues with, such as whining, not sitting down to eat, cleaning up toys, getting himself dressed, ect. This is my first time with this age so I'm wondering how well that works and whether there are some age-appropriate chores I can add to this that will help him gain some confidence in his skills and help me out. When he thinks he can't do something he gets really really frustrated and just basically gives up.
For example, he didn't know how to take his own shirt off. We've been working on it for two weeks and only this morning did he manage to do the whole thing without me intervening, although there was a lot of complaining and "I can't do it" crying that went along with it. I try to be really positive about his accomplishments, but each time I ask him to get his pajamas off or get undressed for the bath, he automatically says he can't do it before he tries. I really want to help him gain some confidence in his skills and what he can and should be able to do at this age.
Anyway, so that's the long of it. I'll be around.
Thanks, Heidi
Photobucketf
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: mama_h
Mon, 10-13-2008 - 8:32pm

Heidi that sounds promising.

I would break the have a nice day/smiling day up in to sections to make it easier for him to get a sticker there. I'm not saying to give them away but if you think you've blown it for the day at 10am you aren't going to even try to have a good day the rest of it; why bother?

Lindsay is a pretty independent child but she went through a stage where she kept saying she couldn't do anything on her own. She couldn't dress herself. She couldn't brush her teeth (that one drives me nuts because she's been brushing her teeth since before she was 2 yo and she does a fantastic job). She couldn't use full sentences. The list goes on. The absolute worse was the refusal to go to sleep on her own. As a baby she would wave us out of the door so she could put herself to sleep. So suddenly she was insisting that she couldn't sleep if you didn't sing to her, tell her a story and then sit and listen to the music with her for a while. And she would fall apart if dh or I wouldn't cooperate and do everything for her and in the exactly the way she wanted it done. The phase thankfully didn't last too long but it drove me batty while it was going on.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-01-2007
In reply to: mama_h
Mon, 10-13-2008 - 4:44pm
Hi, things are going pretty good, although yesterday was a kinda rough day.
Over the weekend he started calling me "Mommy" which is a pretty big step for him. I'm his "pretend Mommy" so this weekend I guess he decided it was time to call me mommy too. He's been with me for 3 weeks and has been calling me by my first name.
I implemented the rewards chart on Saturday (I finally finished it Friday night) and in some things I see it already helping and in other areas I'm not so sure.
On the chart on some things he can do pretty easy, like brush his teeth and help with his baby sister. I also have one of them as having a "happy day." Saturday he got a sticker on happy day and Sunday he didn't so I'm hoping he'll see the difference.
One of the stickers is for cleaning up toys and books and that has been great because we get to that one and then go check and see if all toys and books are cleaned up. It gives him a chance to clean up and he cleans way faster than he has in the past cuz we need to get back to put a sticker on the chart. Plus, for me, that means toys and books are cleaned up before he goes to bed. Yea!
This morning he put his socks on for the first time by himself, with me sitting next to him giving guidance of course, but I didn't actually touch his socks so that was a big deal. The past few days every time we got to socks he would just fall apart, say he couldn't do it and tell me I was mean cuz I wouldn't help him, ie. do it for him.
He's a really smart kid and usually picks up on things pretty quick so I get really frustrated with him when he gives up on learning something before he even tries. So I have to work on that on my part and come up with strategies for helping him before we both give up.
So ya, that's how things are going!
Heidi
Photobucketf
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: mama_h
Mon, 10-13-2008 - 4:06pm
Hi Heidi! How are things going?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2008
In reply to: mama_h
Sat, 10-04-2008 - 1:13pm

My 4 yo does a lot of crying and I can't do it. I just keep saying Yes you can or you can and you need to and then I don't keep giving the negative any energy. Being negative could be a way of keeping you involved and getting praise. What happens when you sit quietly next to him? Have you ever tried that?

Timers could work for 1 on 1 time. When his sister is asleep set a timer for 15-30 minutes and let him know that we will play until the timer goes then I need to do... Give him a 5and maybe 10 minute warning before the timer goes off to help him transition. Then do the same for his sister and remind him that he has had his special time already. Ignore the whining and behavior that may come with it and persevere with giving the baby the time. Use the timer for her too. He'll eventually get used to this system and the timer will help him to visually see that there's an end to her special time too.

At 4 there are loads of appropriate chores. My 4 year old can even vacuum(not great but he can)! Setting/clearing table, tidying up after himself, choosing his own clothes, putting clothes in the laundry, putting his clothes away and generally helping when you ask.

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