Patented Q & A Database


I have 2 boys ages 4 1/2 and 7. I feel like when they are home with me its like spinning plates. I go downstairs to do laundry and need to stop what I am doing because they are running around and doors are slamming etc....I am always in fear something has broken or someone has gotten hurt. I know they r boys and have a lot of energy but they r in constant need of supervision or else they get into trouble. I dont what to keep yelling at them and having to stop what i need to do in my house. I don;t want them to always play video games and watch tv to entertain themselves. Should I continue what i need to do and not worry about what all the running around is in my house. Its a constant battle and I dont want to have to keep checking on them. Are they too old to be doing this??"


Mark Borowski Replied: This sounds like a challenge but hang in there! Let me offer you a few ideas that might help:

1) Consider what type of play you can tolerate from your boys and explain that to them. It might be okay for some of the louder play as long as they are safe or do not damage household items (or whatever other limits you think are important). Then you won't feel the need to check on them as often and they can still play in a way they like (or close to it). Or, can they play rougher in certain areas of the house - basement, outside, etc.?

2) Use positive incentives & rewards for following rule #1 above and see how they respond to rewards. Each of my kids have always responded to positive reinforcement for some reason so maybe yours will too, or at least to some degree.

3) Go to and check out their book or video called "1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12." I read the book primarily because my 5 year-old daughter is a challenge (I have an 11 year-old as well) and has been since about 2. I needed some help. It is an outstanding resource and you can implement it right away before reading the entire book, and it's perfect for the age of your boys. If you get the video, it would be even quicker.

Basically, the author separates kids' behavior into two types - Stop Behaviors (what you want them to stop doing) and Start Behaviors (what you want them to start doing) and explains a very effective way to do this so the parent avoids all the yelling, explaining, ranting, etc. that we tend to do. It has worked extremely well with my kids so I highly recommend it. The system is just as much for the parents as it is for the kids since it prevents us from losing control as we discipline.

Finally, to answer your last question...I think your boys are definitely old enough to learn NOT to do this. You just need a consistent, effective way to teach them. I hope it goes well!
Posted On 2010-04-21 11:33:26
Deborah Maragopoulos Replied: Your boys are old enough to entertain themselves without being destructive. Set some basic rules and stick to them. There are outdoor voices and indoor voices. Outdoors is where you run around and play rough, indoors is for quieter games. Our children respected these house rules, so much so that they preferred to be outside playing, and came in to eat, to rest, to read. No TV or video games, they learned to self entertain...which led to pleasant outings at restaurants and other non-childproof places. Yes, your boys have a lot of energy, which means they need daily physical activity. I suggest you all play together, a family oriented exercise that will wear them out and keep you in shape. When my children were that age, we would roller blade or ride bicycles together at least three times a week. On the off days we would go on nature hikes, collecting interesting things and then doing something fun with the treasures like checking out a book on seashells at the library and identifying what we had collected or making art out of the shells. Now I know you need to get chores make it a fmaily event. They are not too young to help with the laundry...sorting clothes, folding and putting their own away. Engage their creative minds and active imaginations with your household chores...things do not have to be done perfectly, but peacefully. And they will remember the fun time they spent with you whether playing or doing chores together as a family.
Posted On 2010-04-21 00:18:48
Charlie Seymour Jr Replied: Have you ever devised a way for them to HELP you with your housework, making a game out of it. Think of it as getting a series of gold stars when they help you several times. So many gold stars mean they get an extra treat. When they misbehave, you give them red stars. Red stars are negative 5 for every gold star. So they have to behave OR they don't gain gold star points with you. When they have enough, it's a trip to the Zoo, the library, get an ice cream cone, etc. But NO, I wouldn't just let them run wild: I agree - you don't know when one might get hurt. But you can't let them continue to be disruptive or that will grow. So... the things we think about expand, so think about ways to get them to help you not how miserable you are when they misbehave. Hope that helps!
Posted On 2010-03-31 11:43:36
Janet Price Replied: Your scenario is a frustrating one, and something that many of us moms can relate to! Good for you for listening to your instincts! There must be a better way to keep your young ones out of trouble and safely occupied while you focus on chores around the house that need your attention. Children often seem to have a sixth sense about when we most need them to play independently. It is at those times that they often become most unable to do so! Here are a few thoughts-- Try to divert their focus, so that your 7-yr-old is playing with something he enjoys and your 4 1/2 yr-old "helps" you. (Divide and conquer!!) Children around three and four are building their sense of competence and self esteem. You could turn your chores into a time when he is your very important helper! He can gather his own laundry in a small basket just his size to carry to the washer. He could help measure out the amount of detergent and pour it in the machine, possibly push buttons to get the laundry started. Then carry this idea over to other chores that he can be involved in. Often children, young and older ones too, are in need of our attention right when we are feeling that every minute we have is not even enough to get done what needs to around the house. So, an additional idea is to spend some undivided time with each of your sons- individually or together, before jumping into your chores. Or ask them to set up a board game while you throw in some laundry and you will be up to play with them while the clothes are washing. I support you in finding ways to bring calm to your home at those times. It will benefit both you and your children to work on this together. Being aware of this challenge is half the battle! Best wishes in creating a safe, calm home AND getting things done!
Posted On 2010-03-30 21:32:57
Press Esc to close