A Family Approach to Photos
Your Photo Albums:

Edit Albums
Upload New Pictures
Infant - Month #46

Get Weekly Updates on your Child E-Mailed to You
Complete Privacy - Your information will be used by edHelperBaby only and will never be shared with another company.

  Enter your E-MAIL ADDRESS:  

Communicating Without Tears

By Lindsey Hill, edHelperBaby

Your Little Communicator
           Your car is parked in the garage after a peaceful, relaxing dinner with great friends. You open the door with a renewed smile and your mood instantly changes when you're met with one crying child, a cranky and tired husband from a long day at work, and a three-year-old complaining about his dinner again. You know they're all communicating something to you, but you just wish they'd tell what they all needed rather than cry, moan, and complain.


An Eye On The Issue
           Fingernails on the chalkboard type whining is an ever-present behavior of many three to four-year-olds. In fact, whining even peaks with this age group because of their desire to be independent as they begin preschool or become a big brother or sister while still wanting to be coddled just a bit. Beginning with infancy, crying is how our babies communicate with us, and many believe whining is the natural next stage as they grow. Even though whining is a normal and age appropriate behavior for any young child, it's nonetheless irritating for the child's caregivers. Children whine based on their needs and wants. It's our job as their parents to assess the situation before reacting to the child. It's possible your child has good reason for his complaints, and he is just reacting to his environment.


Just Try It
           "HALT"-hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Remember this acronym the next time your child whines, complains, or throws himself on the floor. Before you react negatively or give into his demands, assess the situation. Using the HALT technique will keep you focused on the needs or wants your child desires while staying cool and avoiding the frustrations that go hand-in-hand with his high pitch whine. If you're still unable to stop the whining, give a few of these ideas a try:
  • Tickle the complaining child until he stops. Laughter is always welcomed.
  • Hug him tightly while singing the "If you're happy and you know it . . ." song.
  • Change your child's location rather than attempt to change his behavior.
  • Crouch down to his level and empathize with your child by repeating his demands.
  • Speak to him calmly and tell him you'll talk to him once his tone matches your own.
  • Distract him with something else around him such as an airplane in the sky, a picture on the wall, or a bird outside in a tree.

       If you're hoping eventually to put a cork in the whine, don't give into his demands while he's whining. Wait until he's calm and can ask without whining or crying. Positive words to your child or about your child while he observes will go a long way, too. Kids love to hear about how well they're behaving because they so desire to make you proud.


Parent Chit Chat
           Our son, soon to be four years old, goes through whining phases. We're pretty consistent not to give into his whines just to calm him down but rather try to discuss with him why he's whining and ask him to re-ask the question nicely. He doesn't hear the pitch or rolling of his words when he whines, so we often ask him to match our voice tones using a scenario such as this: "Mommy understands that you want some fruit snacks, Buddy, but I will only give them to you once your voice sounds like mine." He often realizes then that he isn't using a kind voice and changes his tone.       

       Another method we use with our son is laughter. We might mimic his tone to get a giggle out of him and lighten the mood, or we'll make up a "knock-knock" joke that's really silly.       

       I tried the HALT method with him this week. I first assessed his hunger and then anger, loneliness, and finally whether he was tired or not. It's often the case that he's tired from being so active, so I've realized that I must be patient with him while I'm figuring out what I need to do. I've begun using this method in reverse, and it's helping with the meltdowns.


Book Basket
           Open the pages of these unique learning books aimed for parents of preschoolers!
  • Love You When You Whine; Emily Jenkins
  • Wendy and the Whine; Carole Greene
  • Win the Whining War and Other Skirmishes: A Family Peace Plan; Cynthia Whitman
  • A Book About Whining; Joy Wilt Berry
  • Let's Talk About Whining; Joy Wilt Berry
  • Mama Cat's Adventures in Child Training Presents No Whining; Janice C. Villnerve
  • A Positive Plan for Creating More Fun, Less Whining; Karol Ladd
  • I Hate Whining Except When I'm Doing It; And Other Lessons Learned at My Children's Knees; Sheila Rabe
  • A Children's Book About Whining (Help Me Be Good); Joy Berry


Food For Thought
           No Whine Peanut Butter Cookies

       This recipe is so simple it's sure to keep you and your child from whining about the time it takes until you can enjoy their deliciousness!

       You will need one cup of crunchy peanut butter, one egg, and one cup of granulated sugar. Mix the three ingredients together in a mixing bowl and spoon the mixture onto a cookie sheet. Press each cookie dollop using a fork to create intersecting lines across the face of the cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges brown. Enjoy a cookie with a cold glass of milk and a little quiet time just to talk about the day ahead or behind you!


Ask Your Own Question

Ask a Question

Give a Suggestion     Contact edHelperBaby
Note: All information on edHelperBaby is of a general nature for educational purposes only.
For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
Your use of this site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.