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My son is almost three and he just started getting into things and making the biggest messes! How do I get him to stop this?

For example, the other day he got into a two pound thing of hummus and painted the whole kitchen and rubbed it into the carpet. It took hours to clean that mess up. Today he got into chocolate chips and butter and thought it would be fun to pait the kitchen with that. It is all over the stove and the cabnets and the floor and the table and chairs. I took away his crayons because I kept on catching him drawing on the carpet when the coloring book was right next to him. I want to know what is a good punishment for this kind of behavior to make it stop. He has been doing this too often and I want it to stop because Iam the one that cleans it and I have other things to do!


Asked by JenFunSniffer at 3:18 PM on Mar. 27, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • Here are my first thoughts...somehow, what he is doing is earning him a reward, whether it is your attention (kids will take negative attention if they can't get positive!) or something else. Maybe he is resentful of baby sister. CHildren will often regress to more baby-ish behavior such as wetting themselves, throwing tantrums etc. in response to a new baby in the house. Perhaps you could involve him in her care. For instance, you could get him to help you bathe her, hand you a washcloth, pump soap onto it for you or bring her a toy. Something to think about. Good luck!

    Answer by TessaBianca at 7:22 PM on Mar. 27, 2009

  • Make him help you clean it up. Also they have fridge locks I don't know if that would help you or not.

    Answer by momoflukas at 4:29 PM on Mar. 27, 2009

  • It's called supervision.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:03 PM on Mar. 27, 2009

  • Supervision! Ok so far today my kid moved the chair to get the chocolate chips and the butter was on the far end of the counter when I was getting his little sister dressed this happened. (The hummus thing was when I was breastfeeding my DD right after dinner time and my DH said that he put everything away.) Then he was on time out and the phone rang so I ran down stairs to get it and he got off time out and into the pantry and grabbed a can opener and ran back upstairs and into his room when I was on a 26 second call. I have been feeding his sister with him in my view and when he knows that I cant see him that is when he starts causing problems. I took away all of his toys because he started breaking them on purpose, so he pulled out all of the drawers in his dresser. I know that he is doing this for attention but I want to know how I can get him to stop. Anyways how am I suppose to supervise my child peeing his pants?

    Answer by JenFunSniffer at 6:49 PM on Mar. 27, 2009

  • Supervision is easier said than done when you have other children.  I only have one boy, age 2 years, 3 months, and he would do exactly as you describe if I were not always within 10 feet of him.  He literally tries to swing from the chandelier in my dining room.  This is an age of extreme curiosity and impulse control does not seem to kick in for a few more years.  My son takes things apart to see what happens and learn how they work.  He gets into pots and pans and cooking stuff to copy what he sees me doing.  He has to try everything he sees others do. 


    Answer by DeTora_Family at 8:43 PM on Mar. 27, 2009

  • In your situation, I would contain him in a bedroom with toys and books while I was nursing the baby and never assume DH has everything put away. Explain to him that he has to stay with you because of the messes he makes. I even bring my son in the bathroom with me and shut the door. He cannot be trusted alone. It's a matter of safety for us.


    Answer by DeTora_Family at 8:43 PM on Mar. 27, 2009

  • yeah jenn don't worry about that poster we know you watch your kids but every parent knows your eyes cant be on your kid every second of everyday ;) Isabella used to do the same kind of stuff you just have to move things as far away from edges as possible and try and explain for him not to do it and maybe consider keeping them locked or sealed away

    Answer by mommy492006 at 10:22 PM on Mar. 27, 2009

  • Thanks for all of the help girls. I was being a brat because I am just so stressed out by him doing this. I had my son jump on the bed while I was feeding his sister so I could see him at all times. I also put him on one of those children leashes while I did the laundry (he grabbed a wrench while I was out there too). Other than that I guess he is just trying to be creative (my mom says that he gets that from me and it's just karma. I remember breaking blue and green drinking glasses because I thought that the broken glass was pretty. I will admit that what my kid wasn't as bad as me). Too bad that those child locks don't work for my kid. He is too dang smart, if he sees me unlock the child lock then he will go over and do the same thing. I just need to preoccupy him more.


    Answer by JenFunSniffer at 2:34 PM on Mar. 28, 2009