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Tricks for WHINING and TANTRUMS?!?

I was so excited when it was my turn for tricks-of-the-trade, because I need some new ideas to curb the summer-time WHINING (with a few tantrums thrown in)! I think (and this is just my opinion) that a 4-year-old + summer-time exhaustion = a whiny, tantrum prone little thing. I love my kids, but year four has proven to be the toughest for me! I've tried a million and one things to curb the whining, and tried really hard to not lose my temper, but my momentum is coming to an end and my patience is also! So any tips/ideas you all might have would be vastly appreciated!

A few things I do that work (some of the time, I have to switch them up)

* sometimes (if she's not too tired) I ride out the tantrum and then clap and tell her how wonderful it was until she starts laughing. (Sometimes, this makes it worse)

* sometimes I just pick her up and put her on her bed with a book or something and tell her that she's in charge of being happy, and when she feels happy again she's welcome to come out with us.

* I know I should ignore ignore ignore, but any tips on how to actually accomplish that would be much appreciated, too!!

* I sing primary songs. But I don't know how long this will work, because my mom used to do it and it made me crazy! It works sometimes now to distract her, though.

These things work some of the time, but not always. Any other tips to throw in the mix would be wonderful! And also -- what age was the toughest for you? I always heard 2 or 3, but so far, four is pretty tricky! I feel bad that she's so emotional, and sometimes I think it's confusing to be that little but not quite a baby anymore, and I want to help her figure out why she's feeling that way. I don't know, but I'm up for all kinds of advice!!

Happy Summer, Moms!


Janalee said...

1) I tell my girls that princesses don't whine, but they ask nicely and talk politely. (sometimes it works-I hope the day never comes when they say "Well, I'm not a princess!")

2) I never "give in" to what they want, but rather I distract them. They are whining for attention and I get mad at them because I want to focus on what I'm doing, but I've learned that I need to give them attention without giving them what it is they are whining for (toys, tv, not wanting to eat their dinner, etc.) Ideas:
Make funny faces
Sing their favorite songs but mess up the words untill they pay attention
Ask them questions but adress them as their middle name -this throws my 3 year old for a loop and then she argues it's not her name and by then has already forgotten why she was whining.
Time out works great for when we are out and about. stroller time or for older kids they have to hold my hand for the designated time. If they are allowed to be the "timekeeper" (let them hold your cell or watch) they usually don't whine while in time out.
Play "I spy" or 20 questions.
If it's whining from boredom sometimes they just need something to do. Have them help you look for a restroom (they know what the signs look like), ask them if they can get the water out of the bag for you. Or if you are home, give them a choice between a fun activity and a chore.

3) For bedtime whining. My girls get "Special Milk" (ovaltine or nesquick) in the morning if they don't fuss or whine for bedtime

Be prepared:
always carry snacks and a water as these are most aften the cause of out of control whining. If it's the summer heat causing restlessness then use baby wipes to cool them off, or purell to cool off their hands.

I get asked how I prevent whining and tantrums in the store. My 4 year old likes to go shopping with me. She gets her own list (mostly snacks and things she eats regularly) and we put one of the carrying baskets under the cart that she gets to put her stuff in. I miss the Smith's grocery b/c they had kids sized carts that she LOVED and she could have responsabilities just like a big person. Also, I promise them that if they can keep the shopping trip hastle free (no counting to three before they stop) then they can pick a $1 treat. However, this case is reserved for the big grocery trip, not every time we step foot in one.

I hope this helps! Now if I can just get Daddy to never give in! Do your kids whine more when he's around?

Tyler and Ericka said...

K, this is a good one and not because I have magical advice but because I have the feeling that I am going to be dealing with this in the near future. Actually who am I kidding I am already dealing with this! My son is 11 MONTHS and already is throwing tantrums like crazy!!!!!!!!!! i have no idea what to do with him since he doesn't even speak yet! He just arches his back, screams and throws himself on the floor if he doesn't get his way, I don't know where he picked up the behavior he's our first child! So I will be memorizing everything everyone says on this!
Although being a former teacher I have found that some kids need a lot of positive reinforcement, so compliment her a LOT when she does something and doesn't whine or complain, also maybe have a chart where she can try to win a small prize if she spends a certain amount of days without throwing a tantrum and each day she gets to put a sticker on the chart. One big key is that when you see it coming try to distract your child before it happens, pretty hard I know. Anyways, hopefully she will out grow it or put her energy towards other things! I can't wait to see what others have to say and see if I can use it on my baby too!

Kjar Family said...

I'm not great with this one, but the one thing that does sometimes work for me w/ whining is I tell my son that I can't understand whiny voices. When he whines I'll say "Sorry, I can't understand you. You'll have to try a not-whiny voice". Sometimes he has to repeat himself 3 or 4 times gradually getting a little more whine out of his voice.

For tantrums what I have done is send my boy to his room (1 minute for every year old he is). If the tantrum is bad enough this means picking him up, kicking and screaming, and putting him on his bed and closing the door. Usually when the time is up he's done and has distracted himself with his toys for long enough that he doesn't remember what was wrong. If he does then he's calmed down enough to talk about it.

David and Shelly said...

Wow, these are some great ideas. I'm still just at the 2-year-old stage. When he's whining for something he wants, I make him use his "low voice". I demonstrate it a lot, too. It comes out really funny and we end up in giggles. It lightens the mood and stops the whining.

Staci Kramer said...

I think you are handling the whining beautifully. I don't have any advice but I do want to say that 4 is the hardest year. Two year olds get all of the credit for being terrible but no one ever seems to talk about the terrible fours. It is like the terrible twos but much smarter and more emotionally manipulative. When I was struggling with this stage my sister in law said "I have loved a lot of four year olds but I have never liked one." It helped so much to hear that it was normal and I wasn't the only one who wanted to strangle their child on occasion. The great news is that usually by the time they are five they are super sweet again. It seemed like it would never end and I started wondering if maybe my son had a serious personality flaw. Don't worry! Keep doing what you are doing and your daughter will come out of it. Hang in there!

Raejean said...

I have one child who is fiercely independent, ok I have two of them, but one's technically an adult. My younger one sometimes responds to me stopping what I'm doing and sitting down and cuddling with her for a few minutes. She's too stubborn to just tell me that she wants my attention, so she gets it in negative ways.

As far as what ages are the hardest, mine range from 8-18. I think all ages have their challenges and it really depends on the child. One teenager was extremely tough, while the other one is sailing through. Whenever I'm tempted to wish away the present, I remember that I don't know what the next phase will bring!

Bridget said...

I'm sorry Katie! I definitely know how frustrating especially tantrums can be. We were dealing with them regularly from about 18 months until about 3 1/2 with our girl. A big thing for us is sticking to a routine. She is very sensitive to eating too late (and sometimes, this unfortunately has meant lunch even 5 minutes too late...) or not getting enough sleep/quiet time, so I just end up being a stickler for routine and everyone in our family ends up being much more pleasant. For tantrums we just have her go to her room until she can calm down. When she was younger I would check on her regularly and ask her if she was ready to be nice, but now that she's old enough I'm mean and just let her calm herself down (now it really only takes about 5 minutes where it used to take a LOT longer). With our younger child, he is much more mellow and until now ignoring or distracting has been the key to his tantrums. But, luckily (fingers crossed) he'll stay so sweet!

As for whining, we just keep saying things like, "sorry, I can't understand you," or "what?" until she rephrases what she's asking. Here's the mean mom streak in me: for a while I would just ignore her unless she asked nicely (that's with a please as well as a nice tone) and now it's usually not an issue. Man, so basically I'm a jerk and mostly ignore my kids...sorry that I don't have better advice!

Cassi said...

Haha Bridget I don't think anyone would ever use the word "jerk" to describe you! You are an awesome mom!

I have a 5-yr-old that likes to whine and a 3-yr-old and almost 2-yr-old that like to cry and throw tantrums. With my 5-yr-old I do what's been mentioned before and act like I can't understand him when he's talking in his "whiny voice". Usually he's whining over wanting to do something and now he knows that if he's whining about it then it's an automatic "no'. His whining comes from boredom so I pretty much just try and make sure he always has something to do lately!

As for my daughter and son who throw tantrums... I'm pretty sure these comes from being too tired. And this also been mentioned but I just try not to give them any attention for it. Right when they start yelling/screaming/throwing themselves on the floor I tell my 3-yr-old to come talk to me when she's done and then I walk out of the room. And for my younger one I just stand/sit near by while he gets it all out and then I ask "are you done?". This seems to work for stopping the tantrums. I've found if I try to intervene they always carry it on longer.
As for preventing the tantrums... I have no idea! Earlier bedtimes would be nice but it's impossible with the sun being out so late!

I can't decide what the hardest age is! I think they all have their struggles. Right now I'd say my 2 youngest are the hardest because they are constantly making messes and getting into things! And it's a combined effort, while I'm cleaning up my daughter's latest mess my son is behind me somewhere creating another one!

Anonymous said...

I have alot to look forward to. My son turns 4 tuesday and daughter just turned 5. Im worn out!