positive parenting tip: curb whining

So I'm going to let you in on a little secret: my kids whine! Total shocker, right? Maybe yours do too? Something tells me it's true of kids across the board, but I've recently tried a little trick that has helped curb it a lot.

A lifetime ago, I posted a positive parenting tip on a new way to say "no" to babies, in hopes of my kids not having to hear the word 2136218036 times each day. Rephrasing a correction completely changes the sentiment, and this tip helps kids do just that.

Now, whenever I hear my kids whining:

I'm thirstyyyyyy!

I'm hungryyyyyy!

I'm borrrredddd!

I remind them:

Instead of whining, ask a question!

And it instantly dissolves the whining and turns it into useful communication! They usually snap out of it and realize that they just shifted into whine-mode out of laziness. Right after the reminder they usually ask:

Can I please have a drink?

Can I please have a snack?

Can we do some kind of activity?

You guys, this is pure gold. Whining is one of those low grade sins that I'm often too lazy to discipline. I'll let it go unchecked for a while, as it slowly but subtly drives me crazy, until I suddenly snap at the kids because I can't take it anymore. But I'll bet you never do that ;)

But this reminder, "instead of whining, ask a question", helps my kids be productive and actually get what they want, within the framework of respectful communication. And it makes the atomsphere in our home so much more peaceful and happy. The trick is being consistent to remind them, which I've seen really work.

And over time, they internalize the point and I've noticed them asking and communicating so much more than whining! It even works with our 2 year old, who is a late talker. She'll be mumbling nonsense in a whining tone and even then, I'll say, "instead of whining, ask a question!", AND SHE WILL! Even with her small vocabulary, she understands that I want her to communicate without whining, so she'll say "eat!" or "pool!" whereas before she was maybe just saying "mamaaaaa" while tugging on my leg.

Give it a try!

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