One of my readers posted a comment that drew my attention to the need for information on how to handle whining in younger kids (toddlers in particular). While I am no expert, I have learned a few things about this topic through trial and error. The tactics in my last article work best with kids from about the age of 2 1/2 and up. . .kids who can talk.
“My son, 17 months old, is starting to whine when he does not get his way. The problem? He can only speak about 3 words, and sign about 5. How do you deal with a whiner when you are not sure exactly what they want? One time I remember getting very frustrated at him because he just kept crying in a whining tone. About 30 minutes later a little turd fell out of his diaper and I realized what he wanted.But usually that is not the case, he usually just wants a snack, or to go outside, or to get into the laundry and cleaning supplies… any advice?”
At his age, he’s probably whining because he can’t communicate what he wants. A good way to start working on it is to help him put words to his needs/emotions. For example, when he’s whining because he wants to go outside, say something like “I know you’re really frustrated that we have to stay in right now but we can go out later” then try to distract him with an activity. Helping him identify his emotions as sad, frustrated, angry, etc. is a good way to teach him to express them with words.
Second, be careful about responding to his whining. If you figure out what he is whining about, don’t give in to his demands right away. Tell him something like “You want a snack? Okay, let’s try asking for it”. Once he stops whining and attempts to ask for it in any other way, it’s okay to let him have it if you want him to. The point is, if you scramble to figure out what he’s whining to get and quickly give it to him, he will learn that whining is an effective way to get what he wants, which will just perpetuate the cycle and cause more whining. Hope that helps!!
Kids and whining. . .the two seem to go hand in hand, right? Right! To a point that is. Believe it or not, there are a few strategies you can use to help decrease the whining in your house. These have worked wonders for my daughter (and my sanity). Feel free to use any that prove effective for you!
*When my daughter comes to me and is talking in a whiny voice, I tell her I cannot understand a word she is saying when she whines (sometimes this is true, sometimes not). I may have to repeat this several times and she will repeat what she is saying several times, but each time is less whiny than the last. Sometimes she gets frustrated during this process gives up altogether and goes back to playing. Other times she stops whining and clearly speaks to me and I make sure I listen to her “normal” voice and give feedback.
*Occasionally, my daughter will ask for something and I will say no. She will then start whining “why not?”, etc. Never give in to this, it only reinforces the behavior. Calmly explain that your decision is final and whining will not change it.
*Show her what it sounds like. On occasion, when we’re seemingly having a very “whiny” day, I will have to resort to this tactic. The umpteenth time she whines something to me, I will whine back in a very exaggerated fashion. She’ll say “why are you talking like that?” and I’ll say “because that’s what you sound like.”. This usually causes a laugh on her part, and then she will speak in a normal voice. I think sometimes kids don’t even know they’re whining because it’s just human nature.
*Take 30 minutes and give her your undivided attention. With my daughter, excessive whining usually either means that she is tired or really wants my attention. Sometimes, if I stop what I am doing and play with her on her level for 30 minutes (not in response to a whine but in a quiet moment), it fills up her “attention meter” and cuts down on the whining. If she’s tired, a nap is really the only solution, but spending quality time with her is always a good thing.
The bottom line? Kids are going to whine, it’s part of being a kid. That doesn’t mean you have to let it go and try to ignore it while resisting the urge to pull out all of your hair. With a week or so of consistently using these tactics, the whining is sure to decrease and you and your child will both be free to enjoy the time you have together without the stress caused by whining.
Ten of the lessons I have learned from my 3 year old daughter:
1. Red sparkly shoes are a stylish compliment to any outfit, including your nightgown and a tutu.
2. Spring flowers from your own tree should be given as a gift to everyone you know. This includes the babysitter, Daddy and the random person you meet during your day. If it’s wilted, don’t worry, it will “bloom” when you flop the petals open.
3. It is never too early to sing at the top of your lungs.
4. A friend who shares her snack with you is worth her weight in gold.
5. Mom and Dad may be in charge of you but authority over the cat and dog is up for grabs.
6. If you have a question, ask it, even if you already know the answer and have asked it 10 times before. Who knows? The answer could change when you ask this time.
7. Why listen to the whole CD when you can repeat the same 3 songs over and over?
8. Wearing a necklace and pretty dress magically transforms you into a princess.
9. Dance when the urge hits you.
10. What we’re having for dessert is far more important that what’s for dinner and chocolate should be a food group. . .oh wait, maybe that one is me talking.
Well, as most of us know, it’s not actually the flu, or the influenza virus but it is a virus that causes gastrointestinal upset and can make a huge mess! My little one has a raging tummy bug today and we are not having fun. She doesn’t understand why she can’t eat normally and I feel like a very mean mommy because I have to set these limits. I have gotten advice from several different folks about how to handle the stomach flu, even a family member who is a nurse but since some of it was conflicting, I decided to call my daughter’s pediatrician advice line to get the real low down (or at least the current recommendations for kids with a stomach virus). Let me start by saying this virus apparently includes 2 days of intermittent vomiting followed by a day of diarrhea (we haven’t yet had the joy). The guidelines (for a child over the age of 2) I was given are as follows:
-It’s okay to withhold everything for a little while after your child vomits. For an adult, doctors recommend you wait 6 hours after throwing up before eating or drinking. For children, this is too long because children dehydrate quickly. 15 or 20 minutes is long enough to let the tummy settle. Then start very small. Give sips of water, Pedialyte or white soda every five minutes or so for about an hour.
-If the liquid stays down and your child is hungry, offer a saltine cracker or pretzel. One or two is all to start with and if that stays down for an hour, you can give a few more.
-If all this is going well, after 5-6 hours you can move on to other easily digestible foods. Examples are white rice, chicken broth or cooked noodles.
-Continue with these foods as tolerated until bedtime. If your child wakes up the next morning and does not vomit, it is okay to gently re-introduce normal foods. Go for bland for the first part of the day until you make sure the worst is over. Once your child has not vomited for 24 hours, a normal diet is okay.
-The BRAT diet (Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast or tea) is for diarrhea only, not vomiting and does not apply in this situation. It is meant to bulk up the stool but a person who’s throwing up needs things that are extremely easy to digest.
-Avoid dairy products and other high protein and high fiber foods. A good rule of thumb, if it’s something that “sticks with you”, don’t feed it to a kid who’s throwing up.
-Contrary to what I’d been told, scrambled eggs are NOT easily digestible and are on the “no” list for the first day.
-Avoid fruit juice. While this may be a tempting source of hydration, the sugar is not good for the tummy and may aggravate or cause diarrhea.
This is not an exhaustive list and is not meant to replace the advice of your own pediatrician. If your child shows signs of dehydration, it is an emergency situation. Please call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room. These signs include decreased urination or very dark urine, very dry skin, decreased tear or saliva production and listlessness. You can also do a capillary refill test by pressing your child’s nailbed and seeing how long it takes it to turn pink again and a skin turgor test by pinching some skin and seeing how quickly it returns to the normal position.
For any of you moms and dads out there also dealing with a stomach bug, you have my sympathies. I hope we all feel better soon!