When I was a child, if I whined, one of a few things would happen – I would get a smack, be sent to my room, or completely ignored. This isn’t typical to how parenting happens these days. Any parent wants to stop toddler whining and no more so than parents of twins and triplets. To have two or three toddlers/children whining is going to be pretty hard to take. The sooner you are able to get on top of the whining, the better all your lives will be, ultimately building up to a thoroughly pleasant and happy child with doting parents, proud of their offspring.
However you can’t resort to duct tape to physically stop your whiner! The trouble with twins and triplets is that as soon as one stops whining you can bet the others will start. So how are you going to cope with this? I had various ways.. My triplets were very prem so I was a little slow at the get go as far as whining was concerned. I was worried that they would be sick or stop breathing or some other random catastrophe would befall them if I let them cry too long or became overly upset. So I would give in. This was creating a ‘rod for my own back’ and it took some time for me to realise this. A good friend, who was one of the special care nurses when my triplets were in NICU, was a fount of knowledge and support and she set me on the right path. My triplets were about 18 months old by the time i switched on and from then on with a few tweaks I was able to change their whining behaviour. Its not about stamping on their natural inquisitive nature or being a total witch!
Read on and hopefully some of these tactics used early on will bring out that contented, sweet twin or triplet!
Trying to get to the bottom of why your toddler is whining goes a long way in dealing with the situation. Twins and triplet parents stand a good chance of getting more than their fair share of the whine….. Toddlers and young children whine when they feel their connection with their parent/caregiver is broken. This normally would happen say when you’re busy with your new baby and your older toddler feels left out…. This is going to be a problem when you are alone caring for your twins or triplets. This is where I came unstuck as my son needed more care than his sisters did. But it could easily happen if I was on the phone or chatting to a friend… not that I had much chance to do that often/ One or other girl would start up… wanting a cookie, or an ice cream, or something else when we were out… there was always one. I realised that if there were two adults, so me and a friend then we had much happier children, no one seemed to feel left out. As soon as the connection is made again your child feels cherished and happy and confident.
When a toddler whines for something that they probably know they wont get, the minute you say ‘no’ it gives them the impetus to carry out the frustration feelings they have. They can express their feelings, not that they understand why they feel that way, but they get your attention and your arms around them, they forget what they wanted. They didn’t really want it in the first place.
This isn’t a really great idea. You can only ignore the whining for a certain amount of time before your patience will snap. Not a great place to be in. An older child may respond to this tactic, they will realise that you are ignoring them, and once their behaviour improves, they stop whining, you can reward them. If you can stand it that long……..
Twins and triplets are exhausting and responding to them when they are whining is beyond any super mummy’s powers. I have walked outside, closed the doors, screamed in the garden and walked back inside again. It worked but gave me a sore throat !
This might work with an older child but simply is not a solution. Sadly this sends the wrong message, you’ll end up with brats for children that you can’t take out because of their behaviour, leading to issues as they get older. Fair enough if they’re whining for a toy or game, get them to do some chores, doesn’t matter how well they do it, its the fact they are actually doing something and will stop them whining for a while! They can earn the money for the toy they want, side stepping the whining along the way.
As your child gets older, whining is more unacceptable. We start to call them brats. Blame the parents for not dealing with it when they were younger. This was one of my worries, that if I didn’t get it right I would have triplets that would not behave when we were out and about and be embarrassing or not liked at school. An older child can be punished. Sitting on the bottom step of the stairs, every time they whine, its boring and no one is there listening to them. Every time they whine, they have to sit on the step, this soon will filter through to an older child that whining will simply not work, they wont get what they want.
When a child is whining, being corrected and told how to speak and ask for something, every time they whine will help them improve their behaviour. If its something that you don’t want them to have, then they’re not going to like you saying ‘no’ to them. That’s going to cause more whining potentially but explanation as to why you are saying no, that them whining at you for something will not make you say yes. Again this is not for a younger child who cannot understand their own feelings yet. Older children are fully capable of understanding that whining is not going to get them anywhere.
REACT – RELATE – REPHRASE – REWARD
Have a plan to deal with whining and stick to it. Don’t deviate and give in, but give a positive, consistent message and your children will respond to the consistency, the boundaries they are set. You can react to the whining in a positive way, paying attention to your whining child, understand why they may be whining, they are upset, and feeling alone, give them time to calm down then the next time they ask for something that is allowed, but they didnt whine for it, reward their behaviour and positively respond to the improvement.
Everyone whines sometimes, we all have bad days, when things aren’t going well and thats okay, but you can’t let your children get away with it too much, you will end up with brats for children and miserable adults.
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