We’ve all been at that breaking point when our kid who just wants what they want (whatever that is) begins to whine. That familiar and dreaded wail can have us simultaneously rolling our eyes and reaching for the nearest brown paper bag to breathe our ensuing panic attacks into.
We know how to make it stop. But we can’t….give…in….!!! We know we have to shush the voice inside our heads taunting us to just give them what they want and it will be over…for now!
It’s commiseration day at Momsxyz and to celebrate, we’ve gathered the best advice from our writers and beyond to help our awesome readers deal with this problem that has wreaked havoc on many an otherwise enjoyable day:
1. Stop it before it starts
“To avoid whining, [pediatrician Laurel Schultz, MD] advises parents not to wait until children are in distress to acknowledge them. “It’s important to respond to that first bid for attention, if you can,” she says. “If you are on the phone or in the middle of a conversation, make eye contact with your child and put a finger up, so she knows you’ll be with her in a minute. Then give your child your attention as soon as you can politely do so.” (via webmd.com)
“The great thing about preschoolers is that they can still be distracted by a clever trick. For instance, Debbie Granick of St. Louis uses a “whine” cup, or bowl or bucket or whatever’s at hand. “Whenever one of them starts, I say, ‘Here, go pour out your whine and bring me your regular voice.’ It gets a smile, or at least that ‘Oh, Mom’ look and then they’ll usually change their tone.” She then thanks her child for using a “pleasant” voice.” (via parenting.com)
3. Go the “second-chances” route
“For little ones (ages two to six), implement a lot of “do-overs.” I have often told my kids, “No, you don’t get what you want when you ask like that. Try it like this . . .” And then I demonstrate how to ask in a pleasant tone of voice. They might have to try again five times before they finally get it right! We usually end up laughing while we’re doing this, because I make it silly—“Oh lovely and generous Mommy who is the best cook in the world, may I please have one of your divine brownies?”—but it’s a lighthearted way to get the message across.” (via lizzylife.com)
4. Feed the beast
“Making sure your child is fed and rested can ensure that a breakdown won’t be in your future. When kids feel overwhelmed, their natural reaction is to get whiny. If a child has a set routine of what they should expect during any given day, and is getting their basic needs met, they shouldn’t have a reason to whine.” – Erin Cash, Momsxyz
5. Remind them that there’s also good stuff
“Let your kids see you thanking waitresses, cleaning staff, Sunday School teachers, and “unseen” helpers. Prompt them quietly to thank people who serve them. Make thank-you notes a normal project in your home, and include people like pastors or AWANA leaders.” (via momlifetoday.com)
6. Set a good example
“If you feel that your child has learned this behavior from people at home, then speak to your family members and ask them to practice the right way of communication.
- Make sure there are no arguments or quarrels happening before your child.
- If you are stressed about anything at home, stop and think before you speak. Take deep breaths and count numbers to make sure you do not scream or speak in a harsh tone.” (via momjunction.com)
7. Use YOUR words…
“Sensitive children tend to burst into tears any time they experience a strong emotion, whether it’s embarrassment or frustration. For instance, if you tell your son that his friend can’t stay for dinner, he may suddenly become weepy. You can help by giving him the words for how he’s feeling: “Honey, I know you’re angry that Benjamin can’t stay.” Often it can stop a kid in his tracks to hear someone express his emotions, says Dr. Bashe. “Even if it doesn’t work in the moment, when your child hears someone talking about his emotions again and again, he’ll eventually start considering how he feels on his own instead of screaming and crying.” Later, you can also talk to your child about other ways to cope with his feelings: stopping for a break, taking a few deep breaths, or even hitting a pillow.” (via parents.com)
8. …because you don’t understand theirs
“Let him know that you don’t speak Whinese. When he approaches you with a request or an objection and presents it with a whine, say to him, “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t speak Whinese. This is how we say it in English (or the language you speak at home): “Mommy, may I have some water, please?” or “Mommy, I don’t want to go to bed right now.” Model for him how to say it. And then, the first couple of times, answer his request without any further ado. (Get the water for him or explain in a loving, yet nonchalant, way that you realize he doesn’t want to go to bed, but that it’s bed time.)” (via oursmallhours.com)
9. Be their hero…
“When whining is happening at the same time every day or over the same issue, examining the situation and finding a solution can be very helpful. My daughter used to drop the soap in the sink when washing her hands. Sometimes, unable to get the soap back out of the sink, she would start a high pitch whine. After noticing that this problem was not going to get any easier because it was just too frustrating for a 20 month old to understand the soap was very slippery, we got her a child friendly soap pump that she can operate on her own now and the whining is gone.” (via positiveparentingconnection.com)
10. …or else
“Set clear consequences. Explain to your four-year-old that if he forgets to put away his toys, he won’t be able to play with them after nap time. If your school-aged child forgets about her homework until bedtime, have her set the alarm 30 minutes early for the next morning so she can do it before school. “The best consequences are the ones directly related to the behaviour, so your child learns something,” says Carson.” (via todaysparent.com)
11. Stand your ground!
“Most parents can’t ignore the whining — that’s why it’s so common and effective for kids. And as hard as parents try to ignore it, if they cave even once, whining becomes a challenge of wills to see who can outlast the horrific noise. But if you ignore it for a while and then ultimately give in, you’re unwittingly teaching your child not only how to whine, but also how to do so for a very long time without giving up. Not a lesson you want to encourage.” (via care.com)
12. Keep calm if you want to survive
“Even if your child is a super whiner — the kind who could melt paint off a wall with his whine –there’s hope. According to Bilmes, whining is a fast and often very effective way for kids to get attention. Try to ignore it and not respond. Walk away if possible with a calm response like, “I can’t hear you when you whine.”” (via care.com)
13. Put the issue to bed
“We all know the sound of a child who’s tired. Often, their fatigue manifests itself in irritability, crying and whining. They’re young and don’t know any better than to express themselves in a manner that, unfortunately, grates on others. If your child is going through a bout of whining that seems excessive, do a quick review of their sleep schedule and make sure that they’re getting enough hours of rest every day.” (via multiplemayhemmamma.com)
How do you deal with your whiny kids? Sound off in the comments below!
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