Do you have a hard time setting boundaries with your Kids, or anyone else in your life when it comes to whining?
Here's a little scene from a pre-school classroom to help you think about it.
"Excuse me. Miss Sophia, Can you please help me buckle my sandal when you’re done helping Trevor?”
How does Miss Sophia do it? How does she get the Kids in her classroom to speak to her in such a well-mannered and respectful way?
I know Miss Sophia's secret and it's not as hard as you might think. I know because I've been an early childhood educator for around 40 years and believe me, I know that her secret is something you don't want to live without for one more day.
Imagine ten 3-year-olds all whining for something at the same time. Yes I said ten.
That’s the legal number of 3-year-olds for 1 teacher according to Wisconsin State Licensing Rules. It goes up to thirteen to one for 4-year-olds. I don't think it's a good ratio for teaching social nuances but sometimes that's the way it is.
So how do we do it? How do teachers get kids to speak to them with respect? We confront words with words. You, too, can use language to tame the whiniest whine monster and do it quickly. I mean like 1-2 days tops. Here are the words that work.
Instead of saying this.........
"Please stop whining at me, I can't stand it any more!!"
"You should hear yourself, you sound like you're dying!!"
"Oh my goodness! Here!! Here's your water already, now be quiet!"
"How many times do I have to tell you not to whine?!"
Label the behavior. "I call that tone of voice you’re using whining." (deadpan voice works well here)
Draw the line. "When you use that tone, I automatically say no. When you learn how to ask me in a nice, normal tone of voice, I'll think about your question."
"I don't respond to that tone."
"My ears are shut off to that tone."
"If you want a chance to get what you want, you can say it like this, May I have a snack please, Mommy? Let's practice saying it together. Match my tone." (practice with them. Practice often)
"Breathe with me and try that again. I know you can ask me in a nice tone!"
"Good! You did it, you used a nice tone of voice. Now ask me again in a few minutes with that tone and I'll decide the answer to your question." (set timer to help them to wait)
"You did it! You used a really nice voice. That's the one I like to hear!! Now let's go together and get that snack, buddy!"
The secret is to make their nice tones more likely to work and their nasty tones more likely to fail. You'll have to be pretty consistent for a day or two with this in order for it to work, but its mostly a matter of awareness and noticing. You'll get better and better at this with time.
Notice as much as humanly possible each time they get it right and say “You did it! You asked me nicely! I like that tone of voice you used!"
When you do this they literally lose their chance to get something right away by demanding it. It's the easiest way to get them into the habit of talking nicely. And that's a habit worth cultivating! Don't you agree?
Yes, sometimes parents have to decide things. And we stick to our decisions because we know that it’s good for kids to see us set limits successfully since soon they’ll have to set their own. Think about that.
A parent or teacher who sets good solid boundaries based on love and compassion is the one they need. Trust me.
As we know, however, being overly tired or hungry can definitely play a big part in the amount of whining going on at any given point in time.
Luckily, we can head some whining off at the pass with healthy snacks and naps.
Some healthy snacks I like to serve kids to help with their hunger levels and their behavior are listed below. I call these “feel good” snacks because they fill you up and tend to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Organic strawberries with cashews and goat cheese, full fat or coconut milk
Apples and mild cheddar cheese, full fat or coconut milk
Grass-fed beef meatballs, oven roasted zucchini in mild garlic and olive oil, side of tomato sauce, almond milk
PB&J Joy! see photo below. Recipe found in The Book of Keto Joy! by Nanci J Bradley
Want to find out how I personally created and used Joy! to go from this
Learn the special recipes and lifestyle changes I used to drop almost half my body weight. Click for Joy!