Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mmmoommmmyyy!!!...Dealing With Whining Kids

Ahh, to have preschoolers in the house.
I LOVE these ages, 2 and 4 are so fun, the kids are learning so many new things, they actually play together instead of side-by-side and their imaginations are awe inspiring in their creativity!

But there are the drawbacks of preschoolerdom. For one, whining. Or, actually in my house, it's WHHIIIIIIINNNINGGGGG!!!!

It's exhausting and tries the nerves. So we're on the search for help with our 2 whining loves. Here are a few tips from the experts. Side note, I find the term "expert" and "child rearing" to be antonyms. Anyone who does work with kids knows first hand that the kids haven't read what the experts have to say, and so try, try, try again inevitably comes into play! But I also recognize that those who have been-there-done-that DO have great tips and tricks for those of us coming into our own with regard to parenting. Just keep in mind that your kids are unique (that is, after all, one of the things you love about them!)

Here are a few articles I read about whining, the whys and the how to stops:
WebMD Looks at prevention and modeling for your children the correct way to speak
Parenting Magazine examines why kids of different age brackets whine and different approaches for parents
Mighty Mommy offers her thoughts on a few different techniques and some quick tips to try.
Consistent Parenting Advice uses a blogger's story if her own daughter's whining, bringing the point back to the personal interaction with your child and how you may want to be responded to if you were in their shoes

Here's the run down if you don't want to read each article (though each has good points and helpful hints):
**The best way to stop whining is to prevent it. Make sure blood sugar levels stay even and enough sleep is gotten by your child.
**Teach your children how they should speak. That being tired or hungry is understandable but whining is not acceptable. Model for them how you want them to speak to you and have them repeat you.
**Don't cave in to whining, once you've explained yourself some resources suggest ignoring the child until they comply (this does not work at my house however, it just gets louder. Though I do agree with not caving in)
**Whine back at your child so they know what they sounds like (this was a TOTAL FAIL in my house - I did this to Hazen a few times and he started sobbing that I was making fun of him instead of listening to him. It was not my finest hour.)
**Let the child be part of the solution to whatever problem they are upset about
**Listen to your child, respond the first time they request your attention (or as soon as you are able)
**Think about how you would want someone to respond to you if you were feeling ignored, frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, exhausted and/or hungry. Remember your children are tiny people and they needs may be complex. Listen to their underlying issues as well as their requests. (Maybe 5 minutes of snuggle from Momma or a big hug from Daddy would do wonders)

So we are embarking on yet another trial and error parenting stage. For me, I need to remember that sometimes my kiddos really do need my undivided attention, that I need to respond to their requests of "MOM!" sooner so it doesn't escalate into whining, I need to explain that whining makes it hard for Mommy to understand them and I want to hear big kid voices.

And most of all I need to love and serve them above my relentless to-do list. Because one day they'll be grown up and I'll still have dishes to wash and house projects to finish, and I'll wish for the days when they just wanted to snuggle on the couch while I read to them, or make cars dive bomb off the stair-case, or cook Mac-N-Cheese in my high heels with Veggie Tales music blasting through the stereo. All of that sounds much more fun than my to-do's anyway.

What are your tips and tricks for dealing with whining kiddos and keeping your sanity in tact in the mean time??


  1. My mantra "I can't understand your whiny voice, can you ask in a voice that I can understand?" Sometimes I get more whining, but most of the time, he understands and even says PLEASE the second attempt!

  2. Hi, Hintzs, you probably didn't know I was reading your blog. But I do! I love it and I love praying for your family.

    Every kid is so different, and this is no exception, right? Maren has always been a highly communicative kid, so I know that healthy, informative words work well with her. When she is whining, I tell her so - "Maren, you are whining right now. Do you need to take a break?" Even in the midst of her whines/cries, she is able to say what she needs - "I want you to hold me", or "I need to sit on the couch for a couple minutes."

    What a blessing! And it makes for a lot of laughs around here. Sometimes she just comes up to me and says, "Mom, I need to calm down" and then goes to a corner by herself and comes back to tell me "I'm so happy now!"

    So I guess my long answer/method is - tell the kid what they are doing and ask them what they need to do to stop. Good luck!

  3. I started with Jesse, who will be 2 in a couple weeks, when he first started making "uh uh uh!" whining noises, at about 15 mos. I would say, "Jesse, don't say 'uh, uh'. Say, "Mommy, please help. Or Mommy please more.'" He would, through a combination of words and signs, and it worked wonderfully. Now it's easy to build on the lessons learned early on, especially when I am quick to follow through on my end. Also, making sure he is fed and well rested is very important.