We’ve all been there, at some point in time your little one gets into the stage where whining is the new normal. But, that doesn’t mean things have to stay that way, you can reduce whining. Today, we have Savannah Shea Blake from Earth and Water a blogger and Douala with 4 ways to reduce whining.
Savannah Shea Blake is a Spiritual Life Coach, Meditation Teacher and Birth Doula at EarthandWater.co who helps women unleash their inner warrior goddesses through chakras, mindset and alignment work so that they can conquer the battles of life, feel more supported in their ventures and love who they are.
My son is a whiner. It’s just who he is. From the moment he was born he was whiny and needy, refusing to sleep unless he was held, only ever not crying when he was being coddled.
He’s now four and it’s a lot better than it used to be, although he does still have his moments. We all do though, don’t we? He can not wake up without crying and if he gets hurt, no matter how minor, he has to cry about it until he feels acknowledged and heard.
But that’s the key to us all isn’t it? All any of us want is to feel loved, acknowledged and heard. Some children are more emotional than others and they need different things than the ones that are always happy and chill. One of the things I learned as I was trying to navigate his excessive dramatics is that all his whininess is, is his emotions boiling over.
And I can relate to this. I’m an overly emotional person myself. I’ve spent my life coping with my intense emotions and I can’t blame him for not knowing how to handle them.
Call it being an empath, call it having a water heavy birth chart. Either way, it’s hard when you’re someone who feels emotions at a high intensity rate. No matter your age.
Constantly telling children to “stop whining” isn’t very effective. They aren’t whining out of malice or “being spoiled”. They’re whining because they’re feeling emotions and don’t know how to cope with that. So the solution? Teach them how to cope with their intense feelings.
Breathing practices were the first thing I started implementing with my son in an effort to calm his whiney-ness. Nothing complicated. Just deep breaths.
Whenever he’s losing control of himself or crying, I ask him to take a breath. I’ll breathe with him dramatically so that he can see how I’m doing it and copy me. I get on his level with him and make eye contact, ensuring him that I am there, present with him.
Was this a magical remedy to whining that worked immediately? No. When we first started trying to tame his emotions, he wasn’t interested in breathing.
He would instead simply continue to scream and cry. But we kept this our initial go-to. It was always the first thing I tried when he started acting out and now, it’s often times the only thing I have to try.
Talk it Out
If the breathing exercises calm your child enough to where you can hear each other talk, take the opportunity for reasoning. I understand it’s nearly impossible to reason with a toddler, but they’re also smarter than most give them credit for. They can understand things if you bring them down to their level.
Acknowledge their feelings. Make sure they know that you hear, see and understand how they’re feeling and then explain to them what’s going on, try to see their point of view and understand what they mean/want/need. Ask specific questions, get them to explain what’s happening to you. Break everything down for them.
We often assume they know things that they don’t and expect them to act a certain way automatically. We also have habits of impatience, jumping to the “Because I said so” instead of taking the time to explain. Explanations go a long way. If someone told you to do something a certain way, you’d most likely want to know why. Right?
A lot of people think that time out is harsh and neglectful. I’m convinced these people either don’t have children or have naturally really well behaved children.
The truth of the matter is, sometimes kids can be spiteful, stubborn and mean just like adults and refuse our gentle methods of behavior correcting. They have their own will, just like adults and will sometimes scream in your face just because they think they can.
As parents, it’s up to us to not succumb to these power struggles and remain the person in charge of the situation. That often means a show of demanding respect and cooperation on some level.
Time out has been the gentlest form of this I have found and is only used after all other methods are exhausted to no avail. If something else works for you, that’s great!
Before the breathing and talking methods started working, we had to resort to other things that showed my beautifully strong willed child I was serious and expected better of him.
I would always ask him to breathe first and talk to him about it, asking specific questions. When these didn’t work because he was too busy screaming to try, I would put him in time out.
I would sit him in his time out spot, ask him if he knew why he was there and if he said no, explain to him that he was there because he wanted to scream instead of try and be happy. I would say that when he decided he wanted to try and be happy, he could come back out with the rest of the family.
Did this work the first time? No. Almost nothing works the first time when it comes to children. Consistency is key.
The first few times he wouldn’t even stay where I put him but I just picked him up, carried him back and told him again. Depending on the strength of your child’s will, you may have to do this several times before they listen but stay strong, it’ll be worth it eventually.
Dealing with unwanted behavior is only the first half of getting children to act accordingly. The second half is rewarding the behavior you want to see. When these methods work and your child turns their behavior around, praise them.
Make a point to tell them how proud you are of them that they decided to be happy or ask nicely. Don’t let bad behavior initiate the praise. Any time you ever see them doing well, tell them.
Also remember that children act out more when they’re not getting the physical love and personalized attention they need. They need A LOT and it can be overwhelming when you have a million other things to do.
But remember that spending just thirty minutes completely focused on them and what they want to do can make a world of difference. They’re only small for a few years and that’s nothing to a lifetime of running errands and doing housework.
Has my son’s whining completely stopped? No. It might not for a few more years. It’s just a part of who he is. But it has gotten much more manageable and eased tremendously. We shouldn’t punish children for having emotions. We should teach them to manage them.
Want to connect with Savannah? Find her at one of the links below.