It is so. freaking. hot. out. I know, just call me Dr. Obvious. But I have a confession: the higher the temperature goes, the more annoying I find my kid. I actually said to myself last week “Oh my God! Why is she so annoying??” under my breath, through gritted teeth. True story. My girl is a VERY affectionate, huggy, kissy girl. All great qualities, but in the middle of a heat wave I don’t want my own skin to touch let alone be smothered by a 40-inch gangly goober girl who can’t keep herself off my lap. Gimme some space!
But, honestly, the worst part is the constant whining. I think everyone will agree with me when I say that the sound of a whining child is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. Add 95 degree humid heat? Yeah that’s no fun. It seems like every sound out of my daughter’s mouth these days is in Whine-ese. She whines, I get frustrated and yell at her to stop whining, she whines more. It’s a vicious circle really. So now I’m looking for ways to break this cycle. This is what I’m going to try:
Be calm and don’t whine back. Yes, it’s true. I can be a yeller and I have stopped myself when I hear the same whiny tone of voice being shot back at Zoey. Could she be learning this from me? Probably. So I’m following the course of the Orange Rhino. No more yelling–Well, at least less yelling. When I feel frustrated or like my ears are bleeding from the whining sounds, I will stop and take a deep breath. Then ask her to please use her normal voice or to please ask politely.
Don’t feed into it. Shut it down. I am hot too, and I get annoyed really easily in this weather. It’s easy to fall into the call and repeat pattern of “you whine, I whine back.” But that just perpetuates the problem. One strategy I am going to try is to announce that when she uses her normal voice, I will listen to her. And then ignore her until she’s ready to proceed calmly. I can read a book, look out the window, sing a song, do something so she knows I’m not listening to her. If I shut it down, hopefully she can too.
Model and praise the “normal.” When Zoey starts whining, I think why can’t she just stop? Well, maybe she doesn’t know how. My job as a parent is to teach her things, including communication! Go figure! I can say “I don’t like it when you use a whiny voice. If you want me to turn on the TV, ask me like this.” And model the voice that I want her to use. It’s also an excellent way to work in teaching please and thank you, too. Don’t forget to catch her doing it right! The next time she uses the normal voice during a frustrating situation, I’ll heap on the praise. “When you used your normal voice it made Mommy happy and I could understand you so much better!” or “My ears love it when you use that voice.”
Sleep well and eat right. Again, a very obvious statement. But if there is anything you can do to stop the whining before it even starts, making sure your child is well rested and nourished tops the list. (This actually goes for both of you!) Look for patterns in the whining. Does it happen when she’s hot and tired and hungry? Does she do it when she craves your attention? Is she sick? Does she have to use the potty? (My answer to everything.) If you know that the long car ride or the trip to the grocery store is a trigger, then be prepared. Games in the car or help shopping-think treasure hunt at the store-can help stave off boredom and prevent the whining. Jen has some great ideas for road trip prep here. I’m sure you can use some of these for shorter trips too.
Give in…a little. Sometimes, you just need to pick your battles. If there is any way possible to give in to the whiny requests and not create a total monster, I’m open to it. So if meeting her half way is the solution, then so be it. I’m a big fan of let’s make a deal with Zoey. If she wants me to do something, then she has to give me something in return. You want more dessert? Ok, then here’s the deal. After you eat it, you take a bath with no crying. Deal? Good. I’m teaching her about compromise and give and take. I think it’s a win-win.
Hopefully with these tactics, I’ll see some improvement. And, hopefully this heat will end soon too, before we have to do something drastic:
Sound off in the comments with your suggestions. I’d love to hear what works for you!