Getting any almost 5 year old to stay focused and not be distracted is a challenge. With Thing 3 it’s impossible.
A seemingly simple request to go upstairs and put his pajamas on turns into an endless string of diversions. He is distracted by so many shiny objects along the way, by the time he gets upstairs he forgets why he went there in the first place.
Then he gets mad, because he can’t go in the basement, because his pajamas aren’t on, so he goes back upstairs and the cycle starts over. Meanwhile, his brothers had their pajamas on long ago and are playing in the basement.
Today I came up with a new approach. I call it the team approach. I said to Thing 2 and Thing 3, “You are a team. The team goes in the basement when the team has their pajamas on.”
I knew this would have no effect on Thing 3. He was already onto a new shiny object. But for Thing 2, this was the motivation I was looking for. He went upstairs with Thing 3, picked out his pajamas, and pushed on him to put them on.
Instead of being a new distraction for Thing 3 and getting silly with him, Thing 2 kept him focused. Thing 3 listened to his brother way better than he ever does with me. And I didn’t even need to be upstairs!
Why didn’t I think of this sooner? I am a genius. Wait a second. I’ve thought that before and it always backfires. There must be a flaw here but I’m not seeing it.