When little children whine, they are telling us something. Often that high pitched cry means “My blood sugar is getting a little low and I’m hungry!” Other times the annoying whine signals an over-tired child who has temporarily lost her ability to cope. A whine always means something, and with practice you can learn to read your childs’ signals.
But sometimes children whine and are not hungry, thirsty, or tired. Sometimes they are just bored and listless. Having a few activities reserved for such times can interrupt the vicious cycle of whining, and help your child to re-engage and start smiling again!
Here are a few ideas to tuck into your apron.
Kids of all ages enjoy a pleasant surprise. Nothing real scary, just fun. If your child begins to whine in the playroom, you can peek around the corner wearing a silly mask! Sneak up behind them for a tickle! Play an unexpected game of Hide and Go Seek. The odds are very good for bringing on the giggles!
Try joining in. I hate to confess this, but when my children got whiny, I sometimes threw myself down on the floor and imitated a little tantrum of my own! It honestly never failed to bring a perplexed smile. But I wouldn’t resort to this too often. We are grown-ups, after all.
Televisions, battery operated toys, and computer games are all just so much noise after a while. Kids need to be kids! And they won’t realize when they need to get outside for some fresh air. But you will. So when the kids start to whine, head for the backyard.
Turn the sprinkler on. Ride tricycles. Draw pictures on the sidewalk with chalk. Go to a nearby playground or park. Go to the Farmer’s Market and let your child pick out a fresh cantaloupe.
If it’s winter-time, make snow-angels! There isn’t a child in the universe who does not delight in making “wings.” Roll a big snowman to surprise Daddy. Stick your tongue out. Children can’t whine and catch snowflakes on their tongue at the same time!
On a rainy day, consider taking a walk around the block with your umbrella. What child doesn’t delight in stomping his/her boots in a mud puddle?
Another way to re-direct your whiny child’s attention , is to go on a treasure hunt. Who can find a pinecone first? A purple leaf? A piece of string?
Fill up the bathtub, and gather lots of things to toss into it. Decide ahead of time whether the object will float or sink. Sound educational? Of course it is. Yet it’s “doable” even for really tired Moms and stressed out kids. Plus, it’s lots of fun! And very engaging, which is why your child will forget all about whining.
In addition to water-therapy, buttons work wonders with whiny kids! Start early to create a very large, interesting collection of buttons. Put them in a big box, and let your pre-schooler dip in small cups to ‘pour’ the buttons into little containers of all sorts. Some children like to pour buttons endlessly. As your preschooler runs his fingers through the buttons, he will start to feel better. It just works. I don’t know why.
Don’t Forget the Timeless Classic -Smashing Clay!
Opening a can of craft clay, like Play-Doh, or Moon Sand, is a relaxing activity for whiny children, because there is no right way or wrong way to play with it. Little hands can snip it, stretch it, smash it, and squish it!
This is the kind of play that helps children to release stress and unwind. They will like it best when you play alongside them. The joy of your company and the sensory pleasure of an unformed wad of dough is practically guaranteed to be one of your favorite Whiny Day activities.
You can also make your own craft clay that is similar to Play-Doh. Follow this link to great recipes. www.playdoughrecipe.info/