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Babysitting a 15 month old boy driving me to distraction please help!

(210 Posts)
Cher69 Mon 20-Jul-20 10:38:06

Hi everyone I do hope someone can give me some advice because I am at a loss here. I brought up 3 girls who are now in their late 20s and coped pretty well. But now I am in my 50s and have fibromyalgia and copd so basically I get tired very quickly. However I babysit my little grandson who is 15 months old and I love him dearly but I am finding it hard to cope with him. Ok here goes first of all the stuff I dont know what to do about and trust me I have tried everything I know about parenting but nothing seems to work with him.He is constantly on the go. He literally runs everywhere so ends up running into things and then next thing he is on the floor uncontrollably crying. He throws all his food on the floor. He doesn't seem to like anything except for quavers and chips and the odd strawberry or ice lolly. He will throw toys across the room. Pour juice on the carpet on purpose and think it's funny and laugh. Crumble up his quavers and stand on them. He goes round the house searching for things he shouldn't have then trashing them. I have tried the usual things like explaining to him that he shouldn't do it and why. But he doesnt listen just ignores me and carry on. I have said to him " no thankyou" and " that's really naughty" but still Carrys on and laughs at me. The only thing that seems to work is if I raise my voice. But I dont want to have to keep shouting because then he crys and comes to me for a hug and comfort. Then I feel awful. I can not remember it being this hard when I brought up my girls.He seems to have no fear either he climbs up everything. I have tried to get him to engage in play with me like books and storys. Playing games with him but he just throws everything. I am just at a loss and dread him coming round even though I love him to pieces hes driving me insane. Please help thankyou. Sorry my message is so long🙈

Liz46 Mon 20-Jul-20 10:45:45

I'm sorry that I can't really help but I'll send sympathy and understanding. My (second) husband and I each have two daughters and my grandson was a bit of a shock! We had a very gentle granddaughter first.
My husband also has a grandson now and he is a bit of a shocker too. It may not be politically correct to say this but 'boys are different'.
How do his parents deal with him? Do they struggle too?

Orangerose Mon 20-Jul-20 10:46:46

Oh please don’t shout at him that will solve nothing and is cruel. You are expecting far too much if him. He is a baby and he doesn’t understand. Be patient with him and engage with him on his level. Reading with him and simple games are all you need at this stage. I understand that it is exhausting so maybe pull back on the amount of baby sitting you do.

janeainsworth Mon 20-Jul-20 10:49:09

That sounds really difficult for you Cher.
I think that when children behave like that, it’s because they crave attention.
I would just acknowledge that on the days he comes to you, you’ll have just give him your full attention the whole day. Is there anything your GS particularly enjoys that you can do with him? Can you take him to a park to work off that energy?

I can understand you not wanting to shout at him, but it’s possible to convey to a small child that what he’s doing isn’t acceptable without raising your voice. And at 15 months, he should be aware of some boundaries. Trashing your possessions isn’t acceptable.

What does he do on the days he’s not with you?

I think you need to tell his mum how difficult you’re finding it & why, and ask her for suggestions. You may find his behaviour worries her too.

Good luck.

Alexa Mon 20-Jul-20 10:50:21

A 15 month old baby behaves more or less just as you describe, and shoild behave as you describe. If he makes a mess of your carpet, that is because your carpet is unsuited to an energetic, healthy tiny boy.

No 15 month old baby knows what "naughty" means but he will know if you are angry with him .

My advice to you is to save your energy, which you say is in short supply, for playing with the baby and clearing up the mess he makes, and completely stop trying to teach him to be a docile angel.
For instance if there is "something he shouldn't have" it's your responsibility to put it where he can;t get it , You are mistaken in your belief this baby boy is capable of knowing which is which. You should be ever so pleased the wee one is so curious about the funny world he finds around him.

If he want to "throw everything" this is what he wants and needs to do, and good on him! He should have a safe place where he can throw things to his wee heart's content.

Oopsadaisy3 Mon 20-Jul-20 10:55:35

Firstly you could ‘babyproof’ your house, move things out of the way that you don’t want damaged.
Get him out in the garden, he can play with mud , cars, make a tent with him.let him run and get rid of some of his energy.
If he ignores you, take him by the hand and lead him away to something that he can have and play with.
Our GCs, liked us to read to them, they did large floor jigsaws and played with bricks and even, (shock , horror,) had half an hour of Telly, how I hated The Telly Tubbys......
Make sure that he only eats and drinks at the table.

TBH, if he is that lively then it might be best to stop looking after him until he is older and calmer.
Our GCs definitely had different behaviour at ours than they did at home, no messing at Nannys!

Alexa Mon 20-Jul-20 10:56:37

Try to lighten up, Cher! If he won't eat the healthy food you provide make eatin g the healthy food a light- hearted game you play together as that is your only chance of persuading him to eat it.

Young children learn through play and nothing else.
I almost despair of a child carer who values her carpet more than the child at play.

Sparklefizz Mon 20-Jul-20 10:59:03

I brought up a boy and a girl, and my son definitely had far more energy than my daughter and needed to burn that off in whatever way possible. My daughter would sit and look at a book or play with lego but my son needed to run around.

While the weather is nice, get him running races in the garden while you sit in a chair and time him and give him "prizes". My children had space hoppers. Don't know if you can still get them but they use up energy too.

If he wants to throw things, get a frisbee or balls he can throw in the garden. Tire him out with things. He's too young for proper sports, obviously, but I found that was the way to go for my son, and he became a brilliant sportsman.

And meanwhile don't give him sugar or it will give him a "sugar-rush" and you will be exhausted.

Ealdemodor Mon 20-Jul-20 11:01:05

I am not surprised you are struggling, Cher.
With your health problems, this child care is just too much. I’m reasonably fit, but find looking after my two year old granddaughter exhausting.
I guess your daughter is working, this is a problem of our times!

paddyanne Mon 20-Jul-20 11:02:05

Do you have a high chair for him? Only let him have his drink or quavers when hes strapped into it .He'll soon get used to food only being available there ,apart from that the running about and not being interested in quuiet play is normal as far as I remember,maybe try him with the big Lego ,my son would build for ages but wouldn't draw or listen to stories .As a last resort find a childrens TV show he's keen on and sit him in his chair in front of it for 15 minutes .Its a way to get a break.In my case I used to sit IN the playpen with a coffee whilemy child ran wild round it ..worked for me

Septimia Mon 20-Jul-20 11:08:06

Naughty step?

I think you're being too kind and should have a 'punishment' for bad behaviour. It could be that he doesn't get his Quavers (he won't starve) or something similar. Nothing too awful, of course, just something that will back up your 'that's really naughty'. You could get him to brush up the Quaver crumbs....

You'll have to use the sanction firmly and regularly at first, perhaps with a firm 'No!' It'll be hard work for you to keep it up but it shouldn't be long before he gets the message and you'll only have to remind him.

At the moment he's pushing the boundaries and you haven't yet shown him clearly enough where they are.

GagaJo Mon 20-Jul-20 11:25:00

I understand how you feel. I have one adult child, a daughter. She was by no means an angel as a baby and toddler BUT her son, my darling grandson, is a WHOLE different kettle of fish.

He behaves exactly as you say. Loud, boisterous and yes, violent at times. I talked to a nursery nurse, and she said that with boys, the testosterone can drive their behaviour.

So, helpful steps:

1) Baby proof a room. If you can, put a cheap rug down so it doesn't matter if it gets messy.

2) Take him out places where he can use some of that excess energy. In normal times, I'd say soft play. For now, a park or an area where he can run safely and you don't have to be behind him for every step (playgrounds are not ideal, because you have to watch out for swings and falling off things).

3) Offer healthy food only. If he doesn't eat it, no junk food snacks. They can affect his behaviour. He WILL refuse the healthy food. Be strong!

4) Time out/naughty step. It will take quite a while for him to get it and it is EXHAUSTING training them how it works. You might have to get your daughter involved, because honestly, with your health issues, I don't think you'll be able to do it alone. Basically, when he's REALLY naughty, you put him on it, explain WHY he's on it. He has to stay there for 1 minute (increase this as he gets older). He WILL get off. You have to keep putting him back until he learns not to get off (this is where you probably won't have the energy). Sometimes you'll have to put him back 20 or 30 times until he learns. EVENTUALLY, once he's got it, the threat of time out can be enough to change behaviour, and if it isn't, you can stop the behaviour by putting him there.

5) Get him a high chair to eat in. No eating or juice anywhere else. Only water while he's running around and then it won't matter if he DOES spill it.

6) Try to find toys he DOES like. Then you can sit and play with him. But he'll only concentrate for 5 minutes or so. It's his age.

7) TV. I know people are very sniffy about this but you'll need a break sometimes. My grandson is JUST like yours, but he will calm down for TV. BBC iPlayer has some good educational baby TV. Yakka Dee is good. It helps them develop their talking. OR if you can find it online, Sesame Street (or DVDs). That will teach him a range of things. Colours. Counting. My 35 year old daughter learned to count AND her colours from it.

I really hope you're able to work it out. I have a lovely relationship with my grandson, due the amount of time we've spent together.

EllanVannin Mon 20-Jul-20 11:25:36

I'm not a believer in the naughty step at all. It's not nice.
At only 15 months old you can't really expect much else other than what the child does. It's all in the excitement of finding his feet and also discovering surrounds.
I'd worry more if a child of this age sat quietly !

You'll just have to get used to crumbs and disruption and jelly up the wall, spaghetti draped everywhere and general mess, that can all be resolved after he's gone. Stick with it and try and not get so wound up---it's what kids today are like. Go with the flow, you'll soon get accustomed to it and move breakables out of the way.

Jane10 Mon 20-Jul-20 11:44:13

I agree about the high chair and food/drinks only being on offer if hes in it. Its up to his parents what he eats I suppose so no point in trying to make him eat stuff he doesn't like right now. Choose your battles!
I wondered about a good old fashioned thing I was glad of when I really needed to be doing something -a playpen. They seem to be out of fashion these days but in the course of a long day you might be glad to know there's a place he can be safe while you eg cook. He'll be able to see you and hear you. Maybe special toys could be in it. Just a suggestion.
Hard work at this age.

FlexibleFriend Mon 20-Jul-20 11:47:37

He sounds very like my grandson tbh and I had 2 boys and no he's nothing like them. My 2 didn't cry at the least little thing if at all. He needs exercise take him outside, my grandson loves the garden and his paddling pool not to mention the hose. He's also taken over the park or woods to tire him out. He's become much easier to handle since getting more exercise.

kircubbin2000 Mon 20-Jul-20 11:49:26

You need to structure his day. As soon as he arrives for example he helps you make a snack, count the raisins help him cut the apple. Then an activity,paint,dough, Lego. Tv for a break then later a trip to soft play or park.Dont give him time to mess.

Lucca Mon 20-Jul-20 12:02:38

I’d say first of all some children can’t concentrate on playing for more than a few minutes, secondly with the food would it be an idea to just not have quavers and chips available? Make a huge plateful of different things ...Banana slices, cheese, buttered bread, apple, tiny sausages etc etc and maybe he’ll end up eating something !
I’d also like to say I don’t buy into the no television thing sorry. My kids watched a certain amount just to chill out (both boisterous boys) as do my GC. If you’re the perfect family then fine but. .....
Outdoor play as much as you can cope with.

Lucca Mon 20-Jul-20 12:04:03


You need to structure his day. As soon as he arrives for example he helps you make a snack, count the raisins help him cut the apple. Then an activity,paint,dough, Lego. Tv for a break then later a trip to soft play or park.Dont give him time to mess.

Great idea but OP has said the child won’t play and just throws things !

trisher Mon 20-Jul-20 12:04:44

He is just a very lively boy. All the advice about child proofing is good and about getting him outside when ever you can. I'd also sort out his toys and put some away to be brought out as a surprise from time to time. Give him a soft ball he can chase if you have room in your house. Put things in one cupboard you don't mind him getting out. (Mine had a pans, wooden spoons, and plastic bowls cupboard) for some reason children know they aren't allowed in cupboards and will spend ages emptying one. Remember he really wants your approval so when he does something you want him to do make sure he gets big hugs and kisses.
I would have said see if there is a mother and toddler group you could take him to as well, but they are probably not open. Finally if you do find it all too much do talk to your DD about it. It may be possible to give him a nursery place for half a day to take the pressure off you.

midgey Mon 20-Jul-20 12:17:26

If all else fails put him in the bath! Children love water and bubbles. You must stay with him so he’s safe but half an hour sit down for you and him in the bath will calm you both down! Another lovely game is sensitive shaving foam..if he’s in a high chair strapped in he can just mess around with it and it’s fairly easy to clear up! Best do it in the kitchen though!

sodapop Mon 20-Jul-20 12:45:55

So many helpful suggestions on here cher child proofing your house, high chair etc.
Talk to your daughter about how she deals with his behaviour. Is it possible to reduce the time you look after him.

eazybee Mon 20-Jul-20 14:02:46

Cher, I don't think his behaviour is acceptable for a fifteen month old, not deliberately breaking things, throwing his food about, pouring juice on the carpet etc. You don't have the energy to contain him. This reflects on how his parents are bringing him up, and if they tolerate this behaviour it makes it almost impossible for you.
Have a very serious talk with his parents and say you cannot accept responsibility for him if he continues to behave like this; he will hurt himself and you.

Callistemon Mon 20-Jul-20 15:08:23

Perhaps his diet is making him hyper-active?

I really would try giving him healthy food at least when he is with you. He's still a baby and I shudder when I see little tots eating such rubbish.

Toddlers do tend to throw their food around as they experiment with it.
Luckily we had a dog who would hoover everything up, and so does DD.
He's at an age where he will like you to build up the bricks etc so he can knock them all down again. Great fun!

I hope you are getting treatment for your medical problems which could make looking after a lively toddler seem daunting; I do hope it is not full-time as you will need rest too.

Callistemon Mon 20-Jul-20 15:12:35

trisher yes, emptying the 'Tupperware' cupboard was a favourite occupation of one of my DD.

Furret Mon 20-Jul-20 15:24:09

Get a playpen and confine him in that. And ear plugs. Or say you refuse to look after him until he’s at least 32.