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keeping little boys out of trouble outdoors


caedmyn
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I'm trying to think of ways to keep my 5 YO and 7 YO out of trouble when they go outside.  They spend a lot of time climbing the privacy fence between our front and back yards, raidng our storage sheds, moving sand OUT of the sandbox, digging holes, and generally doing things they aren't supposed to do.  We have large yards (1/2 acre lot) and the house is on a daylight basement and it is very difficult to monitor them from the house due to blind spots.  I am NOT going outside with them at this time of year.  They don't mind being outside (well bundled up) when it's 30 degrees and the wind is blowing 25 mph...but I do!  I think they would get in less trouble if they were kept busy with various projects...if only I could think of some.

 

FWIW, if it helps with ideas, the front yard has a couple of climbing trees, a swingset, a small currently-dirt area, and lots and lots of rocks of various sizes between landscaping and a gravel driveway.   They love moving rocks around...but it's not nearly as much fun to put them all back later.  The backyard has a sandbox, garden area, one area of grass, and a huge area with dirt/mud only.  These kids are at least 25% monkey...I've had a number of few experienced parents tell me they've never seen kids climb like mine.  There is NOTHING they can't climb.

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Have you ever read Teacher Tom's blog?  It's all about risk-taking and moving rocks (not really moving rocks, but you'll see what I mean if you check him out lol).  Of course, he does have other adults helping to keep watch.

 

Your guys may need more 'materials'. ;)

 

http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-process-of-risk.html

Edited by LibraryLover
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Scrap lumber, old tires, and landscaping blocks keep mine busy outside. Still, there is a three foot deep hole in the flat part of my yard, a sandless sandbox, and my siding is "painted" with mud and clay.

 

I put a lock on the shed, made sure the utilities were marked, and otherwise pretend I don't notice the state of the yard anymore.

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We give them bricks and tires and scrap wood, along with colored sidewalk chalk. My yard looks like a shanty town but it keeps them busy, creative, and out of trouble. Locking the shed and marking the unities with an explanation of why damaging them is no bueno is also a good thing :)

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Well, start with a couple easy to enforce rules, like "If I see you on the fence, you will have to come inside and sit for 10 whole minutes" and then back it up.  You will have to do it a couple times, just to prove you mean it, but they will catch on. 10 mins isn't that long, but it will feel like eternity to a little one.

 

Then, find a place they can dig. Give them a corner an let them have at it. Tell them if they dig where you didn't tell them they could dig then they can't dig any more.  If you don't want any digging...well...pick up the shovels and don't let them outside without an adult. And why doesn't the shed have a lock? If I saw sand coming out of the box, then it's back inside the house for 10 mins. 

 

FWIW, my backyard looks like a bomb went off, lol. I let them do pretty much whatever they wanted, with rules for safety that I enforced. Because I did give them tons of leeway (sure, dig to china, sure, paint that tree purple) they were actually pretty accepting of the rules we did have. But at ages 5 and 7 you only have about 8 more years of this...so just let them trash it and have fun. I mean, they will kill all the grass, lol, but you can replant when they are older. And I do think that you should be able to let kids that age outside without having to be there.

 

Do they have toys and stuff outside that they can play with?  Nothing fancy. I am not sure I would trust climbers with a swingset without supervision. We had one friend who would always get on top of the entire swingset, lol.

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I'm trying to think of ways to keep my 5 YO and 7 YO out of trouble when they go outside.  They spend a lot of time climbing the privacy fence between our front and back yards, raidng our storage sheds, moving sand OUT of the sandbox, digging holes, and generally doing things they aren't supposed to do.  

 

First define trouble cause your idea of trouble is different from little boys. From their perspective all the things you listed above are things they are supposed to do....it's in their DNA.  :D

 

Digging holes? That's like the BEST thing to do if you are a boy. The only thing better than digging a hole is filling it up with water after digging it and jumping in it. 

 

And sand is there to be transported all over the yard. You did not know that? 

 

Storage sheds are awesome. A curious boy might find anything in there, and they are fabulous at experimenting with new and exciting ways to use the stuff they find. Like using Mom's canning jars to fill with dirt (from dug out holes) and turning them into a housing development for various living creatures. Or using a hammer to dig the great Nile river across the yard and then using the hammer as a bridge.

 

The problem is that you just have the wrong mind set. :tongue_smilie:   

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Ha! I am glad my boys aren't the only ones doing these things.  We try our best to let them do things within reason.  I gave them a spot to dig holes in the garden.  Wood and stones can be moved around, but if you leave it in the yard in the summer you (not dad) will be the one moving it on lawn mowing day.  Having to go clean up a ton of branches and rocks all at once made them think twice about leaving too many out in the yard all at once (as opposed to leaving them in the garden or in the scrap wood pile).

 

We gave them one tree to climb and explained why the other trees aren't strong enough or healthy enough for climbing.  Ditto on the fence -- our fence is rickety and sways when they climb it.  While I do have to remind, they know that if they are the ones to pull it down, they will be in a ton of hot water and will have to help fix it. If we had a storage shed, it would be locked (instead we have a detached garage, which stays locked with a padlock). 

 

I keep fully expecting broken bones or a need for stitches...but it miraculously hasn't happened yet for the boys.  And somehow my relatively cautious DD has broken two small bones. 

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First define trouble cause your idea of trouble is different from little boys. From their perspective all the things you listed above are things they are supposed to do....it's in their DNA.  :D

 

Digging holes? That's like the BEST thing to do if you are a boy. The only thing better than digging a hole is filling it up with water after digging it and jumping in it. 

 

And sand is there to be transported all over the yard. You did not know that? 

 

Storage sheds are awesome. A curious boy might find anything in there, and they are fabulous at experimenting with new and exciting ways to use the stuff they find. Like using Mom's canning jars to fill with dirt (from dug out holes) and turning them into a housing development for various living creatures. Or using a hammer to dig the great Nile river across the yard and then using the hammer as a bridge.

 

The problem is that you just have the wrong mind set. :tongue_smilie:   

 

Yeah, as the mom of girls, it never occurred to me that (a) these were problems or (b) these were boy things.

 

We don't have any more dessert spoons.

 

Or sand.

 

Or rakes. How can you lose a rake???

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I keep fully expecting broken bones or a need for stitches...but it miraculously hasn't happened yet for the boys.  And somehow my relatively cautious DD has broken two small bones. 

 

You strengthen bone density by impact:

 

http://nof.org/exercise

 

Falling is good for girls and boys.

 

Edit: Also, I am terribly sorry about your daughter's broken bones. Poor baby!

Edited by Tsuga
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From my perspective as the mom of three boys about that age is...most of the stuff you listed seems fine to do. My backyard looks like hobos have set up camp (it's a secret club!!!), but they pretty much do what they want back there with a few rules for safety. On a nice day every few weeks I go out and sweep dirt and detritus off the patio and throw out cardboard and garbage that is beginning to decompose (that's the door to our club!!!), but otherwise they just do all kinds of stuff out there and I'm happy they are outside. They get all my Amazon boxes and other recyclables for their goings on out there.

 

So, from your post it looks like too many rules to me, but if you have the rules you also just have to consistently enforce them for awhile until they get it. But most of it is natural -- no more sand in the sandbox...ok, the sandbox doesn't exist anymore now and I'm not going to buy more sand.

Edited by JodiSue
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Unfortunately their definition of what is "not trouble" includes things like throwing tomatoes that were laid out to ripen around the garage, running their bikes into the garage door, dragging the axe out of the shed, and banging on windows with rocks. I don't know when boys develop common sense, but clearly they have NONE at this point. And the sheds aren't locked because DH is generally reluctant to childproof anything...because I'm supposed to be watching them every second. Although he did mention a few days ago that he's going to put actual locks on the sheds...

 

They do climb on top of the swingset. It's wooden with a big fat beam across the top, so that doesn't concern me as long as they don't attempt to stand on it (they haven't...yet), and their little brother doesn't get up there (he couldn't, last year...I hope he can't this year either. He's not quite as coordinated as they are.)

 

We have escaped broken bones thus far also. And stitches too, except for a set last summer when one cut his foot wading in a creek. I suspect the youngest will more than make up for this...he's determined to keep up with them but trips over his own feet on a regular basis.

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Unfortunately their definition of what is "not trouble" includes things like throwing tomatoes that were laid out to ripen around the garage, running their bikes into the garage door, dragging the axe out of the shed, and banging on windows with rocks. I don't know when boys develop common sense, but clearly they have NONE at this point. And the sheds aren't locked because DH is generally reluctant to childproof anything...because I'm supposed to be watching them every second. Although he did mention a few days ago that he's going to put actual locks on the sheds...

 

They do climb on top of the swingset. It's wooden with a big fat beam across the top, so that doesn't concern me as long as they don't attempt to stand on it (they haven't...yet), and their little brother doesn't get up there (he couldn't, last year...I hope he can't this year either. He's not quite as coordinated as they are.)

 

We have escaped broken bones thus far also. And stitches too, except for a set last summer when one cut his foot wading in a creek. I suspect the youngest will more than make up for this...he's determined to keep up with them but trips over his own feet on a regular basis.

 

Ack, that is different than the first post! No, our kids aren't allowed to play in the garage or do damage to the house. They'd be coming in to sit quietly for stuff like that.

 

Mine did play "fruit bash" with lemons from our lemon tree once, which consisted of smashing lemons on the patio on the side of the house where I couldn't see and don't go often. They then got to scrub rotten lemons off the patio when I found it all. :yuck:

 

But, yeah if the shed and garage are off limits and they go there anyway to damage stuff, mine would just be back inside where I could watch them every second. Which rhey would find do be no fun. And they would be made aware that if I could trust them not to damage property that isn't theirs, then they could go back out.

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I remember when my oldest were 5 & 6. they were home form school because they were ill ( pre homeschooling) I was at work and DH was looking after them. I drove up the driveway after work and saw vegetables flying around the garden. Came into the hose and asked Dh what was going on. He said the boys were in their room   :001_rolleyes:  they  had snuck out of their room and were having a vegetable war in the garden. :eek:   :svengo: They had destroyed the veggie garden and were completely covered in bruises form being hit by vegetables. :glare:  :glare:

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I agree with no destroying things. Lock the shed.

 

Then buy the best gift ever for young boys.

.....

Delivery of a truck load of clean fill sand/dirt and do it in the corner of the yard. Give them shovels, a wagon or wheelbarrow, sticks, wood pieces, old tires, cement blocks, etc and let them at it. That dirt pile was the favorite of the neighbor kids for years when my son was younger.

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My 5 and 8yos can definitely be terrors.  When I forget to lock the shed, I consider it my fault.  When they climb my minivan and scratch my windshield with their coats, I consider it their fault, and they have to come inside.

 

For the most part, outside of actual, unacceptable damage, I anticipate a certain level of craziness and consider it the price of getting the tornado out of the house for a bit.  If the craziness is truly out of control, it's my job to control it.

 

FWIW, my dds were just as crazy at those ages.  I think they were about 6 and 7 when I painstakingly cleared, filled, leveled, and planted a small grass yard by hand, and they immediately went and dug holes!  :crying:   They did outgrow it.

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Pick your battles very carefully, childproof what you can (if my DH opposed I'd let him spend a few Saturdays watching them every second, and if that didn't work, the childproofing would just happen while he was gone ;) ) and strictly enforce the rules you choose. Throwing ripening tomatoes would be a major problem for me, but maybe they can throw some rotten ones (not at the garage though!)

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Your kids are learning in exactly the way they should! Even preschools and elementary schools are adopting the loose parts theory of play. That kids need to manipulate their environment to learn. My friend allowed her boys to dig a four foot deep, eight foot long, five foot wide pit in their backyard and assemble poles over it like a teepee and this kept them occupied, literally, for years. Now that they are grown, the pit remains and she gets nostalgic looking at it. Of course, you don't want them to destroy other people's property, your valuable things, or to pull up living plants, etc. so there have to be limits, but with enough other stuff to do, they should be good.

 

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/when-one-new-zealand-school-tossed-its-playground-rules-and-let-students-risk-injury-the-results-surprised

 

http://www.childcarequarterly.com/pdf/winter14_parts.pdf

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They are doing exactly what boys do... Being boys, going on "adventures" exploring their surroundings, digging, climbing,, exploring. You will have to pick and choose what they can and cannot do and be specific.....

 

If you dig a hole, do it here and fill it back when done.

If you empty the sandbox make sure the sand goes back.

The shed is off limits.

Etc.

Edited by lynn
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Sounds like my kids. We have a bunch of honeysuckle so I let them dig back there instead of the flowerbed right in front of the house.

 

Sounds like they need to burn off energy and figure out acceptable ways to do it. Maybe walk around the yard with them and ask them why they like doing certain things. Then figure out acceptable alternatives. I'm ok with kids being kids but they do need to respect other people's things. Riding bikes into the garage door is a problem in my book but maybe they could make a ramp to ride up. Could they shovel the sand into a 5 gallon bucket so it can be easily dumped back into the sandbox? Instead of climbing the fence could they have a tree to climb?

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Unfortunately their definition of what is "not trouble" includes things like throwing tomatoes that were laid out to ripen around the garage, running their bikes into the garage door, dragging the axe out of the shed, and banging on windows with rocks. I don't know when boys develop common sense, but clearly they have NONE at this point. And the sheds aren't locked because DH is generally reluctant to childproof anything...because I'm supposed to be watching them every second. Although he did mention a few days ago that he's going to put actual locks on the sheds...

 

They do climb on top of the swingset. It's wooden with a big fat beam across the top, so that doesn't concern me as long as they don't attempt to stand on it (they haven't...yet), and their little brother doesn't get up there (he couldn't, last year...I hope he can't this year either. He's not quite as coordinated as they are.)

 

We have escaped broken bones thus far also. And stitches too, except for a set last summer when one cut his foot wading in a creek. I suspect the youngest will more than make up for this...he's determined to keep up with them but trips over his own feet on a regular basis.

Delineating between creative and destructive might be something, lol. We let ours dig, but it was only restricted to certain areas. Mud pies, etc. are the bomb :) They could climb certain things but not others. They were absolutely not allowed to do anything at all to the house. Big no. So the garage ramming and rocks bashing into windows would be a big consequence-worthy offense. Things that gave dad extra work because of breakage or loss would result in them sitting there doing nothing while they watched dad fix it. (Yes, there is benefit to them learning how to fix things, however, we were working to deter the behavior. Boredom is a big motivator :D )

 

They each also had little tool kits that we put together with small, real tools. We had a bin that kept their "supplies" in the yard... Things like two by four scraps etc.

 

Rocks in the yard was another big one because, not only is it extra work, it is dangerous because they get thrown by the lawnmower. They had to pick up rocks in the yard. It took them forever the first time or two, and I had to walk our large yard with them with my Attila the Hun face on, but they soon realized that it was in their best interests to keep rocks and such on concrete or in their "mud/digging" space.

 

Shed was definitely locked. We had bins of their toys under our back deck that they could take out. As far as axe use, etc. Dh would show them how to use axes and then tell them what was ok and what was not ok. If they did something counter to that boundary, axes would go away for a really long time because the potential for injury to people or property was just too high.

 

We are not helicopters. And at those ages being out in the yard on their own is perfectly reasonable. We wanted to let them have their adventures making wasp soup and being daredevil monkeys, while still learning the difference between creative and destructive and how to take care of our things. If it is any consolation, they still break things. Often. But now it is more accidental because their growing bodies aren't good at estimating their limb positions or new found strength:-)

 

If we lived on a farm, we would probably have had different rules, some more lax because there is more room to roam, some tighter because of dangerous equipment. But, we were in a subdivision. I didn't mind certain areas be less than perfect, but we couldn't let the yard go to pot. And they realized that, if I could trust them out there, they would get longer play times. If they were being destructive, they weren't old enough to be out there, and they would have to come in by me. That was scary enough :lol:

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I agree with no destroying things. Lock the shed.

 

Then buy the best gift ever for young boys.

.....

Delivery of a truck load of clean fill sand/dirt and do it in the corner of the yard. Give them shovels, a wagon or wheelbarrow, sticks, wood pieces, old tires, cement blocks, etc and let them at it. That dirt pile was the favorite of the neighbor kids for years when my son was younger.

All of these ideas are bringing back memories lol.

 

We also started putting in a fire pit in the back yard. It was the year of the 100 year floods though and we were on a river, so the fire pit hole was put on hold. It turned out to be an epicenter of enjoyment for the neighborhood kids. Big round mud pit with tons of frogs and often filled with water.

 

Disclaimer, Some people care more about the kids actually getting dirty. I usually didn't mind that. I had lots of extra grunge clothes for that very purpose. I would just have them strip down, clean up and change. More laundry was worth it at that age for the quiet time in the house while they were outside. I considered it the price of sanity :D

Edited by Professormom
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I just wanted to gently add that even though you don't really like to go outside, it may be helpful for you to bundle up and go outside with them for awhile every day.  You can help teach them constructive play, give them new ideas, etc.  If you have snow, you can show them how to make snow houses.  (That used to keep my kids busy every afternoon, all winter long.)  You can take them on walks, with hot chocolate at the end.  If there's no snow, you can show them how to make mud bricks and make a sod house, or supply safe materials and show them how to build forts, or make "stews" out of sand and leaves.

 

Oh, I just remembered something that used to occupy our kids.  My husband brought home several huge refrigerator boxes one day.  The kids had so much fun with those.  They connected them all together like a long tunnel, with each of them claiming one part as their own fort.  They brought blankets and books out there, even ate lunch there.  I helped cut windows for them in the cardboard.  Very fun.  It lasted for about a month, before it was demolished in the rain.

 

 

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Echoing others, lock what is dangerous.

 

Make very few, but very firm rules and enforce them.

Get more dirt.

Let them be boys and enjoy them as they grow up.

Sometimes a trip to the thrift store can turn up some great backyard "toys". My kids like clothesline, sheets, buckets or plastic tubs, light furniture etc.  

 

Mine is 8 and he is crazy too.  :lol:

Edited by ScoutTN
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Unfortunately their definition of what is "not trouble" includes things like throwing tomatoes that were laid out to ripen around the garage, running their bikes into the garage door, dragging the axe out of the shed, and banging on windows with rocks. I don't know when boys develop common sense, but clearly they have NONE at this point. And the sheds aren't locked because DH is generally reluctant to childproof anything...because I'm supposed to be watching them every second. Although he did mention a few days ago that he's going to put actual locks on the sheds...

 

They do climb on top of the swingset. It's wooden with a big fat beam across the top, so that doesn't concern me as long as they don't attempt to stand on it (they haven't...yet), and their little brother doesn't get up there (he couldn't, last year...I hope he can't this year either. He's not quite as coordinated as they are.)

 

We have escaped broken bones thus far also. And stitches too, except for a set last summer when one cut his foot wading in a creek. I suspect the youngest will more than make up for this...he's determined to keep up with them but trips over his own feet on a regular basis.

 

I think you need to have locks around things like axes and if you told them that they shouldn't use the tomatoes, then that is kind of a larger issue. I won't suggest that you aren't disciplining them because god knows I've been through all this with my girls, but that's less of a "trouble outdoors" than "instilling some kind of order in the home in general" which of course is much easier said than done!

 

If you didn't tell them about the tomatoes... some kids need to be told everything. Everything.

 

Our kids picked every last tomato and made tomato juice and tried to play baseball with a rock and a broom that we actually use. NO! They also try to get on to the roof from the side of the house.

 

Amazingly, with the roof and the riding full tilt down two-story hills, all we've gotten thus far is a contusion.

 

I think a strategy of locking everything they can't touch in one place and having dad sit down with them for a talk about the stuff that you guys need later would be helpful. I don't think that most of the things you've described are things most kids don't try at least once. It is very hard to put up with.

 

(I don't always go outside either. They need time to explore. I look at their "mischief" outdoors as the payment for my quiet time at home to tidy up.)

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I have several city friends who bring their sons out to our farm so that their boys can run wild and free all day long.  They say they envy the wide open spaces and "danger" our boys get to experience every day.  

 

That said, do you have a friend who lives out in the country where you can let them loose to blow off steam and be a boy without having to impose a lot of restrictions?  (Not that mine don't have restrictions, but they really can do whatever crazy thing they want to do most of the time without me even paying them that much attention.  I did draw the line with the tight rope in the barn when their cousins kept getting rope burns from falling off.  And we did discuss with our then 8 year old that any coon he could touch in broad daylight was probably diseased and therefore a hazard to his health....)

 

There are lots of studies done that boys grow up to be more confident when they are allowed to be boys.  :)

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I have several city friends who bring their sons out to our farm so that their boys can run wild and free all day long.  They say they envy the wide open spaces and "danger" our boys get to experience every day.  

 

That said, do you have a friend who lives out in the country where you can let them loose to blow off steam and be a boy without having to impose a lot of restrictions?  (Not that mine don't have restrictions, but they really can do whatever crazy thing they want to do most of the time without me even paying them that much attention.  I did draw the line with the tight rope in the barn when their cousins kept getting rope burns from falling off.  And we did discuss with our then 8 year old that any coon he could touch in broad daylight was probably diseased and therefore a hazard to his health....)

 

There are lots of studies done that boys grow up to be more confident when they are allowed to be boys.   :)

 

I know quite a few girls who enjoy living out in the country, and know how to handle themselves in the woods.  My younger son is quite smitten with one such young lady. He admires that she is so self reliant and fearless. Sadly, she won't give him the time of day, he just slows her down, lol.

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I know quite a few girls who enjoy living out in the country, and know how to handle themselves in the woods.  My younger son is quite smitten with one such young lady. He admires that she is so self reliant and fearless. Sadly, she won't give him the time of day, he just slows her down, lol.

I have daughters, too.  Thankfully they weren't as "dangerous" as my boys (they are adults now), but they did their share of digging and climbing back in the day, too.  :)

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My 10 year old still says one of his best talents is digging.  Lock the shed for sure, with your Amish made hoe and the pitchfork inside.  He started doing real work with an electric weed-eater when he was 7, maybe that would be a chore for them.  Sweeping the driveway or sidewalks is good hard work too. Raking leaves.  Washing the front porch with buckets of water. 

 

They have these awesome short handled real shovels made for people doing work under houses.  Get one....best thing ever.  

 

This is also a girl thing.  My daughter gets much dirtier outside than my son ever did.  

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At least they are not cllmbing your neighbor's fence which is what my former neighbor did when he was about 3. My mom yell for his dad to get him down. My nephews climbed up my piano.

 

We had to child proof because my kids and my nieces and nephews enjoy opening cabinets and drawers.

 

Mine used to throw sand at each other like a snowball fight until they finally understood that it hurts the other person. We had a big bucket of sand toys.

 

It happens to be the Year of the Monkey for the chinese zodiac :lol:

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It isn't just boys! When my daughter was younger, she got the yard behind the garage. She and her friends had a ball digging holes. 

When we moved, I had the kids add what they wanted in a house to the list of what we were looking for. Her #1 must-have item - space for digging holes. 

 

Now that she is older, that hole digging is now channeled into gardening and rearranging plants.

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Pick your battles very carefully, childproof what you can (if my DH opposed I'd let him spend a few Saturdays watching them every second, and if that didn't work, the childproofing would just happen while he was gone ;) ) and strictly enforce the rules you choose. Throwing ripening tomatoes would be a major problem for me, but maybe they can throw some rotten ones (not at the garage though!)

 

This. It's not fair to ask you to supervise to that level if there are other options available. Kids who don't know that they should not bang on windows with rocks need more direct instruction and more boundaries. 

 

I would encourage you to accept that your boys might not have common sense for a long time. Some kids just don't have it. I have a friend that did not have it growing up, and she did not learn by example, by trial and error, or anything else--she'd do stuff like touching hot burners, over and over. She can't tell you why she did this stuff, and her daughter is the same way. However, she is an amazing mom and has TONS of common sense now. But you do have to accept what you've got if you want them to be safe when playing.

 

I do think you have options and can establish rules, but you will not be able to take anything for granted (like the tomatoes), and you'll need to out think them. I would think carefully about the toys you want them to have before the toys come in the door and set up rules for them. It seems like kids would know not to band on windows with rocks, but some just do not.

 

If it makes you feel better about climbing, I did not climb a lot (couldn't climb a tree to save my life), but I did climb on the swingset. We had an old aluminum one with monkey bars, and I walked across the monkey bars routinely. It never occurred to me that I would fall because I was completely competent to do this--OTOH, I also never thought about what would happen if someone scared me or slammed into the swingset, and I fell. I was NOT a risk taker in any way, shape, or form. My grandmother totally freaked me out about my balancing act, and then I started to question myself on a lot of things. It would have been much nicer if she had just recognized that I wasn't reckless and had a nice conversation with me about that! (I would not let my kids walk across the monkey bars, just to clarify.)

 

Best wishes that this gets less stressful, more safe, so that you can enjoy their liveliness. We have "that yard," and I think the neighbors are secretly relieved that their kiddo can come to ours and make his messes here. :-) 

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The big problem is that they don't follow the rules about anything (ie repeatedly throw rocks at each other, break sticks of the trees and hit each other, etc...then come whine to me when they get hurt, and of course go do it again a day or two later, besides the things I already mentioned), and they don't care about consequences. At one point last fall I started making them sit on the couch and do nothing for an hour every time they climbed the fence. After 3 or 4 times each of this, they were starting to be a little more cautious about climbing the fence. I bet it would have taken about 15 times of an hour sitting apiece, at least once a day, for them to *mostly* stop climbing the fence. But then the weather got bad and they didn't go outside for a little while and I'd forgotten about it after that. They just do not care what the consequences are. I guess this is what life with strong-willed children is like--my other two are NOT like this.

 

Every time someone talks about how much fun little boys are, I feel like saying, "Who are you kidding??" Little boys have been decidedly UNFUN since DS1 was a few days old and it started becoming obvious that he was an intense baby who would spend most of his first year screaming. About the time the screaming started to subside a little, the endless climb-and-destroy missions started. DS2 came along and started joining in the climb-and-destroying before he was a year old. I am so tired of little boys who think they can get into whatever they want, whenever they want, and are utterly unfazed by consequences.

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The big problem is that they don't follow the rules about anything (ie repeatedly throw rocks at each other, break sticks of the trees and hit each other, etc...then come whine to me when they get hurt, and of course go do it again a day or two later, besides the things I already mentioned), and they don't care about consequences. At one point last fall I started making them sit on the couch and do nothing for an hour every time they climbed the fence. After 3 or 4 times each of this, they were starting to be a little more cautious about climbing the fence. I bet it would have taken about 15 times of an hour sitting apiece, at least once a day, for them to *mostly* stop climbing the fence. But then the weather got bad and they didn't go outside for a little while and I'd forgotten about it after that. They just do not care what the consequences are. I guess this is what life with strong-willed children is like--my other two are NOT like this.

 

Every time someone talks about how much fun little boys are, I feel like saying, "Who are you kidding??" Little boys have been decidedly UNFUN since DS1 was a few days old and it started becoming obvious that he was an intense baby who would spend most of his first year screaming. About the time the screaming started to subside a little, the endless climb-and-destroy missions started. DS2 came along and started joining in the climb-and-destroying before he was a year old. I am so tired of little boys who think they can get into whatever they want, whenever they want, and are utterly unfazed by consequences.

 

This is enough on the edge of normal that you might want to seek behavioral help for them (someone to help design a plan). I am not sure strong-willed children "forget" so much as ignore. My intense kiddo (who was a seriously demanding baby from day 1) turned out to have a startling (at the time) diagnosis in mid-elementary school. Comparing notes with others who have a similar diagnosis, it's come about the same way about the same ages. I can see the diagnosis in hindsight now that I know more about it (correct things, not stereotypes), but it was not clear at that age to most people. Getting targeted help for that diagnosis makes all the difference in the world. You can PM me if you want more information. We were not out to label our kids, but stuff just kept getting wonkier and more difficult, and it became clear that my son was not capable of meeting expectations in the typical way without specific kinds of support

 

I do hear of kids outgrowing their difficult phases, but more commonly, I hear about people whose difficult kids turn out to have other stuff going on, and working on that yields remarkable results (particularly when "difficult" has been from very early ages and results in big limitations on what "works" for parents). I sound vague--I just feel more comfortable talking about this stuff on the LC board, lol! Bigger audience here.

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I'm trying to think of ways to keep my 5 YO and 7 YO out of trouble when they go outside.  They spend a lot of time climbing the privacy fence between our front and back yards, raidng our storage sheds, moving sand OUT of the sandbox, digging holes, and generally doing things they aren't supposed to do.  We have large yards (1/2 acre lot) and the house is on a daylight basement and it is very difficult to monitor them from the house due to blind spots.  I am NOT going outside with them at this time of year.  They don't mind being outside (well bundled up) when it's 30 degrees and the wind is blowing 25 mph...but I do!  I think they would get in less trouble if they were kept busy with various projects...if only I could think of some.

 

FWIW, if it helps with ideas, the front yard has a couple of climbing trees, a swingset, a small currently-dirt area, and lots and lots of rocks of various sizes between landscaping and a gravel driveway.   They love moving rocks around...but it's not nearly as much fun to put them all back later.  The backyard has a sandbox, garden area, one area of grass, and a huge area with dirt/mud only.  These kids are at least 25% monkey...I've had a number of few experienced parents tell me they've never seen kids climb like mine.  There is NOTHING they can't climb.

 

Let's see...

Do they have bikes?  Neighborhood friends?  Nerf weapons?  Lightsabers?  :lol:

 

I'm just trying to think about my two when they were that age... they went (and still go) outside all the time.  Back then we had neighbor boys who are around the same age as Link, and Astro could easily tag along.  We actually have a whole neighborhood of kids, so back then, especially, there could be up to 10 kids in the yard at any given time.  We didn't have fences, so I don't think I have any suggestions for that... Oh do you have trees??  Climb trees instead of fences!  :lol:

Astro taught himself to ride Link's bike when he was around 5.  Water is a HUGE thing here (for all of us lol).  There was one summer that Astro spent all day, every day, in swim shorts.  They'd have the sprinkler on for a bit, play in it enough to get wet/cool, and then turn it off and do whatever else.  We now have a big wooden swingset and a trampoline but we didn't have those then.  Well... maybe we did.  GOSH It doesn't feel like it was 5 years ago already, but I guess that's about right.  So we did have those.  Trampolines are wonderful for energy, as are big trees.

My kids are weapon kids.  One day last year DH sent me a pic of our back doorstep - there were nerf swords, maces, and Pink's bow and arrow all sitting there.  He said 'I think the whole Fellowship of the Ring lives at our house'.  And that's how they've always been... much less into 'toys' in the action figure sense than whatever nerf weapons they can find.  We literally have everything imaginable.  :lol:

 

Idk.  Are there just a couple of these things that you'd really like to see changed, or does it need to be all of them?  

 

What's their currency?  My kids' has been screen time.  It is something they have never had unrestricted access to anyway (no screens til after dinner, ever), but I have taken away all screens completely for as long as needed before - until whatever behavior was changed.  

Perhaps it wouldn't just be having them sit on the couch inside for an hour, but taking away one of the outdoor privileges altogether.  I don't know.  

 

 

 

It's funny, as I read your later reply (replies?) - I would much rather deal with stuff like this than what people consider typical 'girl' stuff.  I don't have a typical girl (is there any such thing though really? lol), as, thankfully, she has two older brothers, so her interests are much the same as theirs.  My MIL has another granddaughter (also the youngest after even more boys) who is super-duper girly for some reason.  She loves tea parties and other weird stuff, supposedly (that's tongue in cheek - no one get offended!  Just totally weird to me.  :D )... so MIL thought Pink would like the same stuff (they're the same age).  So she asked Pink, when she was there last weekend, if she wanted to have a tea party, and Pink just looked at her funny, then took off running to go do something else.  

I'm incredibly thankful.  :lol:  She has clear interests of her own (she doesn't do everything the boys do), but I'm so glad she's not that little girl, because I'm not that mom.  

So anyway, as I'm reading I'm thinking, man, I'm so glad I have boys because this stuff is cake.  :D  But I tend to be pretty hands-off and 'free range', as well, so that's part of it.

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I think they just aren't ready to follow those rules. Either go out with them and nip it in the bud, every time, or they can't go.

 

I **know** that just makes it harder on you, but two little (and they ARE little, I promise) boys will be two little boys. I know of what I speak :-D My eight year old just got hosed down from playing something called "mud ball" with his brother. The mud was so thick, it ha seeped into his bone marrow. They are never "allowed" to get muddy back there b/c our yard is, imo, disgusting. That's the way it goes. On this particular day, it was more important for me to take the chance on them getting muddy, than to keep them inside with me where I am stuck under a teething, crying infant.

 

All empathy, but for real they're not ready to self-regulate together. Sorry.

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They are perfectly capable of getting into trouble separately too, although yes, they do get in much more together. Maybe I should try limiting their outdoor time to 10 minutes at a time and pair them up with siblings and not let them go out together and see if they can manage to behave themselves for that long. I will start going outside with them most of the time once the weather gets a little nicer and the wind dies down some. Honestly though, even in the house when I am right there, they still try to get away with whatever they can.

 

I have read SO many parenting books. I'm sure I've read both of those by Dobson...I can read them again.

 

They would just destroy nerf weapons I am sure. They have bow and arrow sets from Christmas that have survived thus far, but they haven't been outside yet. I suspect their lifespan will be very short once they start playing with them outside. They somehow manage to break everything they touch.

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