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Whine oh Whine am I the only one?
I thought I was the only one in the world with a whiny 5-year-old. All the other 5-year-olds that I know of are either well-behaved or are total monsters! My elder child is a cross between the two – most times he’s well-behaved and sometimes a total monster. And when he’s a monster, mommy turns into an uglier one (blushing in embarrassment).
I don’t want this to sound like a “Dear Thelma” article with me doing my whining online and venting it angrily out at readers, about how unfair this world is and how horrid my child is whenever he whines…when in actual fact, I think the problem lies with me. I have a problem with giving him the attention he needs, therefore, he resorts to whining to get my attention.
Does my younger son whine? Not as often as my elder child. My younger son is wiser, he uses a more effective method to get my attention. He would yank my sleeve or part of my clothing up (or any other embarrassing parts of my clothing that reveals undesirable parts of my body) and place hot and wet kisses there! Boy oh boy, you have to give it to the boy for knowing how to get my attention.
Anyway, let me get back to the topic here….whining.
The very basics about why toddlers and preschoolers whine.
From a very young age, kids need their parents and rely on adults for everything. And to get those things, he has to learn how to get the adults’ attention. As babies, they cry. As toddlers, they cry and kick around. As preschoolers, they whine and complain.
The reason why children and kids whine and put up a fuss is because they want something from you and they feel powerless in obtaining it. If they know how to get your attention, like my younger son, they won’t whine. It’s only when their calls for help are not answered or if they are not getting their way that their calls rise in pitch, resulting in a whine.
Children whine because they are looking for a response and it could be good response or bad response. They want your attention and if bad attention is the only kind of attention that they capable of getting, they’ll take it and figure out how to turn it around after that.
How to define whining to your whining preschooler
Instead of pointing a finger in their faces (which I have the tendency to do, as well, when I am stressed), try pinpointing their whining. The moment they start whining about something, state very firmly, “You’re whining and I can’t hear you when you do that. Can you please talk in your normal voice now?” If your preschooler doesn’t understand what you’re saying, repeat the word ‘whining’ and then imitate him whining. You’ll either end up with a wiser child or you’ll both end up rolling on the ground with earth-shaking laughter. Either way, it’s good news.
Have you noticed when it is that your child is most likely to whine?
Take a wild guess…..yes, when you’re in the middle of something important, trying to concentrate on a game or a television program! It’s when you’re most occupied with your own things or not focused on them.
Respond to a child as quickly as you can or politely redirect them
The worst thing you can do to a child is to snap at them when they’re asking something from you nicely. That’s like saying, “Not now. Try whining. I might get angry about it and answer you”. Instead, respond to them immediately, as you would any other adults. If you’re in the middle of something important, you can always explain to your child as patiently and kindly as you can that you are doing something important. Explain to them that you won’t ignore them but if they can wait, they should. Most preschoolers can understand this type of instruction – they can understand more than we give them credit for.
Don’t just say ‘later’ to a whining child
Later could mean 5 minutes, it could mean 1 hour, gee whiz, it could mean TOMORROW! Give your preschooler a ballpark figure and a realistic length of time that they should expect the wait to be. Once you’re done with whatever that is that you’re doing, keep your promise.
If he waits it out, offer encouragement, offer congrats, shower praises on him and make him feel like the President of the WORLD for waiting it out so long.
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