How to Outsmart a 4 Year Old

Post to Twitter .

Ryan is smart.  I will give him that.  And he’s also pretty darn sneaky.  I’m not sure this is a good combination.

Why you ask?

Well let me share a little story….

Each night we tuck the boys into bed around 7:30pm – 8:00pm and we head downstairs for the rest of the evening.  After the kitchen is cleaned and toys are picked up, we typically have the television on and we’re each on our laptop just hanging out with the Christmas tree lights on and a fire in the fireplace.  It’s peaceful and quiet.

But so is Ryan.  Quiet that is.

The last few nights Ryan has been sneaking out of his room and watching TV with us.  But we don’t know it.

How do we not know it? Well, I did mention he’s sneaky didn’t I?

He knows that if he opens his bedroom door we will hear his noise machine or music.  Or that we’ll see the light coming from his room.  So to ensure we don’t know he has left his room, he turns off all lights, all music, all fans, all things that make noise or light.  He opens his door very quietly and then closes it behind him.  If he doesn’t close it he knows that we’ll notice the open door and call him out on leaving his room.

So he does all of the above and then he hides behind this little wall on the left side of the photo and peers over the edge between the spindles to the TV below.

mobile upload

This picture was taken with my phone sitting on the couch so you can see that I can’t see him sitting behind that little wall.  And this hidden spot he has found is a perfect sight line to the television down below.

Sneaky, sneaky little four year old (well, almost four).  But he’s not only sneaky, he’s smart.  He has it figured out to a tee on how not to get caught.  And he’s good at it. I should be worried for the years yet to come, don’t you think?

So now I’m trying to figure out ways to outsmart him.  Because he’s obviously succeeded at outsmarting us the last few nights. And trust me when I say it’s hard not to laugh when we find him all hidden behind that wall watching TV.  I know it’s naughty, but I give him a lot of credit for figuring this all out on his own.  He’s so darn cute!  And when he’s busted he always jumps and says “Momma.  You scared me.  That wasn’t nice.”

Like my mom said to me once “You wouldn’t have been scared if you weren’t doing something you weren’t supposed to.”  True dat mom!  True dat!

But now I must outsmart him. I’m thinking jingle bells on his doorknob.  Think it will work?

Any other suggestions on how to do this?  Because I can’t do it alone……

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Laugh…you have to don’t you..
    However, they can’t know or they become the parent and you the kid.
    I had a similar experience years ago with a naughty son.So, I went outside and turned off all the power and stood there…you should have heard the ROAR….
    Because, he was in the dark….So then I turned it back on again and went inside..
    He was crying, “Why did you do that you scared me!”
    There is a scripture that says, “Be sure you sins will find you out.”
    I held him and loved him but told him he did wrong.
    He learned…it doesn’t pay to be dishonest. He never did it again…

    • Typical Suburban Family says:

      We find a solution that works for a night and then by the next night he has figured us out. Tonight we sent “Oliver” our elf back to the north pole and he’s not allowed to return until Ryan has better behavior and doesn’t get out of bed. It didn’t mean much to him tonight, but I think in the morning when he realizes that Oliver isn’t here anymore he will change his behavior. Or at least I hope!!

  2. Have you seen those little battery-operated door/window alert/chimes? I’d put that on it….at the top, hinge side corner of the door, but from the hallway where he won’t see it—only hear it. And so will you! Out smart that–Ryan!

  3. Have you seen those little battery-operated door/window chimes? I’d put that on it….at the top, hinge side corner of the door, but from the hallway where he won’t see it—only hear it. And so will you! Out smart that Ryan!

    • Typical Suburban Family says:

      Ah, yes. This will be our next step. Tonight Jim hung the jingle bells from the door frame because when I hung them on the doorknob Ryan figured out how to gently open the door so they don’t actually jingle. Smarty pants!

  4. Wow, I’m just really impressed by his ingenuity. He’s got all the makings of a mastermind. Your post totally lines up with today’s WW over at Natural Parents Network, by the way! Good thing you also knew to grab a camera and write a funny story about it. 🙂

    • Typical Suburban Family says:

      He’s smart. Seriously. He is STILL outsmarting us and winning this battle every night. We have not found a solution yet to keep him in his room. LOL!

  5. Thankfully my almost 3 year old hasn’t figured out how to open his door yet. Maybe do the jingle bells. Sounds like that might work. If he takes them off you could put one hanging from the top that he cant take off. ha ha.

    • Typical Suburban Family says:

      This same little sneaky boy of mind used to not even get off of his bed! And how he’s escaping his room. It happened overnight so enjoy the non-escaper while he can’t open his door! I knew this day would come and I never once took those other days for granted. These are the same reasons my almost 2 and a half year old is still in a crib. If he doesn’t climb out why change a good thing?!

  6. Kids truly are so much smarter than we give them credit for. I think they are tempted to want to stay up because they think the adults are going to have fun without them. Maybe as you put him to bed tell him you’re going to do laundry or the dishes, and then make sure he’s asleep before the tv goes on?

    • Typical Suburban Family says:

      This is what we are trying tonight. It’s been a long few weeks of trying EVERYTHING!!! Something might work one night and then he outsmarts us by the second night 😉

I would LOVE to hear from you!

%d bloggers like this: