My girls are 2 and 4 years old.  When they spend time with their grandparents, they are pleasant, agreeable little angels who easily heed instruction.  But when they're around me, that facade disappears and they become demanding, whiny and tend to scream, fuss and argue a lot.  Obviously they are capable of being nice for days at a time.  How can I get more of this good attitude at home? From a frazzled mum 

Stressed-womanAll mums certainly get frazzled with toddlers and pre-schoolers!  How to get the good attitude at home?  Well usually this type of behaviour for this age is about two things.  The first one being – tiredness!  Simply ask yourself if they are getting enough sleep?  If you’re not sure how much sleep they actually need that’s ok but it will be (as yes this is for all children of this age, no exceptions) 12 hours at night uninterrupted plus a day sleep for your 2 yr old.  Your 4 year old may or may not still be having a day sleep at this age.  A day sleep is at least 1 ½, more likely 2hours or more.  Tiredness gives you the behaviours you describe.  They can well and truly behave for grandparents and then by the time you get them home they are tired and irritable and this is the same for the next day or two as well. So rule out tiredness or work to fix their sleeping habits.

Secondly, simply these behaviours will be working for them at home.  By that I mean, if you give them attention – get involved – become the audience or pay whinging, screaming, arguing, fussing and demandingness off for your toddler, then their brain simply makes a link and thinks – ah! That worked for me, I must remember to whine again, and again and again.  They may not always get what they are whining about ie. A biscuit, a drink, different coloured custard, the blue plate, that toy but simply by you discussing, conning, talking, cajoling, or even getting involved you can without knowing keep such annoying and irritating behaviours going.  So take a look at what is happening and keep yourself from reacting to all those minor, annoying behaviours.  If you need some help with other parenting tools as our frustration is often a sign that we are scraping the bottom of our parenting toolkit then be sure to talk to a professional who can give you some new tools for your parenting journey this will make life at home much more peaceful.

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