Friday, February 26, 2010

The Problem with Making Idle Threats to Your Kids

Children don't just learn things through osmosis....they must be taught, and the best way for parents to teach values to their children is through leading by example. Say what you mean and mean what you say or the kids will see right through your idle threats.
I’m not saying that’s easy. Parents today are overworked and stressed out. The last thing we want to do is fight with our children. There are times when it's easier to give in than have yet another battle. However, your most important job is being a parent.

Kids are incredibly smart and they recognize how to get what they want. It is the parents' job to set the rules and carry them out and that is best done by leading by example so the kids understand what the expectations are. When parents tell their kids something, but don't follow through, they are being ineffective. Consider the story of Trevor.

Trevor was a three year old boy in our class who figured out very quickly that his father’s threats were usually idle. On a grocery store field trip. The kids, including Trevor, were very excited. Trevor wanted to touch everything he saw. First, he grabbed an apple from the shelf, which caused several more apples to roll to the ground. At that point, his father reminded him that Trevor wasn’t allowed to touch anything. A moment later, Trevor took a cucumber and started laying with it. At this, Trevor’s father raised his voice and told his son that if he touched one more thing they were going home. In a few short minutes, Trevor nabbed a candy bar off another shelf. Again, his father told him to stop touching things with the threat that they would go home.

And yet again, Trevor took another item from the shelf. His father got angrier, repeatedly threatening to leave the store, without having any intention of doing so. There was no reason for Trevor to stop touching things because he knew there would be no consequence. His father’s threats were idle.

Trevor’s dad had choices which would have stopped his son’s behavior and taught a valuable lesson. He could have threatened to leave and then actually left. Or, he might have chosen another punishment that he could follow through on. For example, he might have told Trevor that if he kept touching things, they’d have to sit for five minutes and miss out on the class visiting the lobster tank in the seafood department. By following through on that threat, Trevor would be disappointed to miss seeing the lobsters, but he would know that his father meant what he said.

Parents need to think about what they are saying, and be ready to follow through. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. If you follow through the first time, the kids will be less apt to challenge you the next time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Should You Hold Your Child Back in Preschool?

Liam is a three year old who is extremely bright, loves to laugh, and has strong fine motor skills. He also cries every time he loses at Memory, is sleepy by mid-afternoon, and his feelings get hurt very easily. Liam’s birthday is in August, which makes him one of the youngest kids in the class. So, when it came time to decide where he should best be placed next year, his parents and teachers had a difficult decision to make.

Today, more and more parents choose to hold their toddlers back a year in school for reasons that are not solely academic. Boys, especially, who tend to be less mature than girls, often benefit from an extra year of development. By repeating the grade level, they have the opportunity to revisit the experience as one of the older children in the class. They will feel more confident, self-assured, and oftentimes will take on a leadership role.

Liam’s parents decided to hold him back and have him repeat the three-four year old program. That extra year is truly a gift, and will allow him to use his skills more confidently. By making the decision now, he can make new friends who he will be in class with until he gets into elementary school. At that point, he will be right on target academically, socially, and emotionally.

This decision could have waited if his parents weren’t sure. For some children, it isn’t obvious that they need an extra year until they are in the four-five year old class, or even kindergarten. By that time, more academic skills have been taught, and it will be more obvious that the child is lagging behind. The same goes for social and emotional growth.

If you have a child about to enter kindergarten and you just aren’t sure whether he’s ready or not, consider this option - if you can afford it, send him to a private kindergarten where he will often get more individual attention due to smaller class sizes. If he still seems like he would benefit from an extra year, he can enter kindergarten again in the public school, and not feel that he has been held back.

Some parents feel that they or their child has failed if he is held back, but I couldn’t disagree more. Being on the older end, as opposed to the younger, has many advantages. He will be physically bigger and stronger; have a chance to further develop fine and gross motor skills; and have the advantage of learning information that is already familiar, which will make him more confident. If you are in doubt about your child, remember that you are giving him a gift when you give him that extra year.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do You Really Want a Family Bed?

Sometimes, having your children cuddling with you in bed is special. When there’s a loud storm, your toddler had a scary dream, or it’s a special occasion, it can be lovely to have everyone together in bed. Yet, making the decision to let the kids in bed should be a choice that you make. For that to happen, they need to be comfortable in their own beds, and expect that this is where they typically sleep.

From the first night that your little one moves from his crib to his bed, you must lay down the rules. Remind your son that he has this awesome new bed because he's a big boy now. Along with that comes responsibility and a few rules. The first rule is that he must call for you if he wants to get out of bed. Initially, he will likely call for you a lot, but the first step is that he's not allowed to get out of bed without your approval.

If you find that he starts calling for you too much, explain that the next rule is that there are only certain times when he can ask for you. If he's having a bad dream or feels afraid he can certainly call for you. Or, if he has to go to the bathroom, although be sure he uses the bathroom before bed to help avoid that problem. Give him a small drink before bed so he doesn't wake up thirsty.

No doubt, he will cry for you in the middle of the night and tell you he's scared, because he wants to come into your bed. At all costs, try to avoid that. It's easier at times to let him, but once he enjoys the comfort of snuggling with Mommy and Daddy in bed, it will be very hard to wean him of the privilege. Of course, there are special circumstances, such as a loud, scary storm, where you welcome a family bed, but you have to put your foot down on most other occasions.

When he does call you, it’s important for you to go into his room to ask him what's wrong, instead of letting him come into your room. If he says he had a scary dream, let him tell you about it. Reassure him that it was just a dream and he's very safe. You can even look under his bed and in his closet to prove it.

Be sure to place a nightlight by his bed so he can see his surroundings. Tell your little guy that you'll stay with him for five minutes until he falls back asleep, but you are very tired and you need to go back to sleep too. If he doesn't fall asleep in five minutes and starts to cry when you try to leave, tell him that you will wait out in the hall for five more minutes, but then you are going to your own bed by yourself. Try placing a clock by his bed so you can show him exactly what five minutes means.

Most importantly, you have to follow through on what you say. If he still calls for you, tell him that you are going to bed, he is safe and you both need your sleep. Then comes the hard part - you have to let him cry.

I know that it is so much easier to give in, but if you set the ground rules right away, he will understand that he has no choice. Then, on the special occasions when you allow him in your bed, he will know that it is truly special.

I have also had parents tell me that they allowed their child in their room, but the child had to lay on a blanket on the floor. This worked for them, although I don't really see the distinction between the floor and the bed. I believe it’s more important to set the boundary that his room is where he sleeps and your room is where you sleep.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Helping Your Child Deal with Anger

You’re at the food store and your child is shaking in the cart and screaming at the top of her lungs. She is too far gone for you to do anything to calm her down enough to finish your grocery shopping. Everyone is staring, you are hot and sweaty, and you just want to disappear. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. While all kids gets angry at times, some children seem to take their frustration to the outer limits.

“Some kids are temperamentally difficult and don’t cope that well,” says Richard Selznick, PhD, Director of the Cooper Learning Center and author of The Shut-Down Learner. “They tend to be more on the rigid side and are pretty inflexible. These kids don’t handle curve balls really well, so if you throw something at them that you haven’t given them reasonable time to sort out, you can expect them to react in a tantrum and have anger issues.”

How parents should deal with their child depends a great deal on the age and stage of the child. It is very difficult to reason with a three year old because she simply doesn’t understand. In that case, you need to be really attentive to her cues. “You have to be much more mindful of her tendencies,” Dr. Selznick explains. “Toddlers can be almost primitive in their reactions.”

With an eight year old, however, parents can talk sensibly to the child. The trick is finding the right time to have that conversation. In the middle of the meltdown, or even shortly after, the child will still be too upset to have a reasonable conversation. Instead, wait until bedtime when you are both calm and you are tucking her in. Talk about why she was so angry.

“At that point the window is open more than any other time,” Dr. Selznick points out. “Find out from your child what she was upset about and offer your perspective. The possibility of learning can take place in that situation.”

Of course, it’s better if you can prevent the tantrum in the first place. Dr. Selznick encourages parents to continually monitor their child. As soon as she shows signs of getting frustrated, try to redirect her. That might mean having a conversation about what is upsetting her or taking a quick walk to calm her down. He does not believe in indulging the child by giving her candy or buying her something, as that simply reinforces the bad behavior. In the worst case, the child will have her tantrum, and eventually it will be over.

Most importantly, do not yell at your child. When you do, she’s screaming, you’re screaming, and the situation becomes out of control. “Parents utilize yelling as their number one tool,” explains Dr. Selznick. “I know it’s very hard, but I try to get parents to see it as bad weather. You might not like it, but it will pass. Yelling at it is only going to add fuel to the fire.”

Dr. Selznick reminds parents that you are not alone. In his experience it’s the rare family who doesn’t have at least one inflexible child.
For a special place to let your daughter calm down, check out Dora the Explorer Lounge Mat

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tips to Help Your Children Through Divorce

When a couple with young kids divorces, it is usually devastating for everyone. The kids don’t understand why Mommy and Daddy no longer live together, and despite your best intentions, they can sense tension between you. It is your job as parents to do your very best to keep your children’s lives as normal as possible, knowing that is a very difficult thing to do.

Many times financial needs mean that the children must leave the house they are used to. With shared custody, the kids might be shuffled between two homes, which disrupts their routine. (Check out Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two

I asked William J. Thompson, Chair, Matrimonial Department at Archer and Greiner, P.C. for some recommendations that divorcing parents should consider at the start of the process:

1. Consider mediation. In many cases it can be quicker, less costly and far less adversarial.
2. Be financially aware. You will need to know what assets exist, how much they are worth and how much you owe.
3. Know where your money goes. Checking account and credit card statements can help you pull together an accurate and realistic budget of what your family spends and what you will be able to afford in the future.
4. Be realistic. It is unlikely that you will receive all the assets or all of your spouse's income. The process is intended to be fair to both sides.
5. Keep the children out of the middle. No matter what your spouse's faults, the children deserve a relationship with both parent, and it is not their responsibility to negotiate the divorce.
6. Select professionals to assist whom you understand and trust. Ask questions and listen to their advice. A good lawyer will outline the pros and cons of a decision and give reasoned advice.

Adds Allison Granite, MSW, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker who works in Voorhees, “The most important thing parents can do to help ease kids through the divorce process is to constantly reassure them that their relationship with both parents is permanent and continuing. Parents must try to put aside their own personal crisis, which is easier said than done. Tell kids what to expect and give them enough time to process and talk about any major changes, such as a parent moving out of the marital home, before those changes happen. Parents need to be honest, but give age-appropriate answers when their children have questions about the divorce. Remember that although the marital relationship might end, responsible parenting must continue.”

As difficult as it will be, you may need to do some pretending when your kids are present, if you really can’t stand to interact with your spouse. That person is still your children’s parent despite your feelings.
So, the next time you want to freak out because your child has colored on your wall, or flushed a diaper down the toilet, keep your perspective, and your sense of humor. These are little problems. With luck, you won’t have to face too many big ones as the kids get older.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Loving Children Everywhere: Lessons from Haiti

“A young boy, twisting and turning, crying in his sleep as his father frantically tries to awaken him; a girl screaming in pain as her leg wound from an amputation is being changed and redressed; another boy’s eyes filling with tears as he gazes for the first time upon his right hand, realizing two of his fingers are no longer there;” are just a few of Nicholas Erbrich’s lasting memories.

Dr. Erbrich was one of twelve members of a team from Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey who recently returned from Haiti. His mission had a profound impact on him personally and professionally, reminding him why he chose to be a doctor in the first place. As a pediatrician, Dr. Erbrich was able to provide to care to many children badly in need. Here are some of the reflections he shared about his experience.

“When we arrived, an opportunity essentially found us,” he recalls. “We found a church that had taken in a lot of Haitian refugees who were essentially post-operative patients. The only doctors who were there to care for the children were one internist and one family practitioner who was leaving the next day. It was fortunate that when we arrived there was an immediate need for my services.”

Dr. Erbrich took care of kids with broken bones, post-operative wounds, and crushing injuries. Amid all the tragedy, he is able to reflect on many good outcomes. He treated a 13 year old boy who had an injury to his leg which had been casted before the Cooper team arrived. Since no x-rays had been taken, they didn’t know the extent of his injury.

“We fought very hard at the local hospital to get him the x-ray,” recalls Dr. Erbrich. “You can imagine, with only one x-ray machine it was quite difficult to get it, but we were persistent. I was able to show that x-ray to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who was also volunteering his services, and we determined that it was in the best interest of this young boy to have surgery. He still had a few years left to grow, and had we not fixed this surgically, it might have resulted in him having a leg length discrepancy which would have made it difficult for him to walk later.”

There was also a ray of hope in the cries of a newborn baby. “This baby had literally been born three days after the earthquake and by the time I arrived, the baby was four days old,” says Dr. Erbrich. “Just being able to provide some reassurance and routine care to this first-time mother, who essentially didn’t know anything about childcare, was a very gratifying experience. The mother then came up to me and said she wanted me to bless the child.”

Dr. Erbrich admits that his experience was profoundly life-changing. “I realize that we get so caught up in our petty lives here in the states,” he explains. “Going over there and utilizing my clinical skills and what I had at my disposal made me realize why I went into medicine in the first place.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Helping our Toddlers Avoid Obesity

With Michelle Obama leading the charge to end childhood obesity, this serious topic is getting more attention. A new study on the subject revealed what most parents already know – there are three easy steps to keeping our kids healthy and avoiding obesity. According to the US Preventative Service Task Force, eating together as a family more than five nights per week, sleeping at least 10 ½ hours on weeknights, and limiting television and video watching to no more than two hours on weekdays, will give your child a 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity.

While these recommendations are fairly obvious, finding the time in our busy, hectic schedules to actually make these things happen isn’t easy. But, it’s necessary. The study points out that since the 1970s, childhood and adolescent obesity has increased three to sixfold. Approximately 12% to 18% of 2- to 19-year-old children and adolescents are obese (defined as having an age- and gender-specific BMI at 95th percentile).

Obesity can lead to other health problems for your kids, including diabetes and heart disease. Getting them on track now with a healthy lifestyle will set them on a positive path for their entire lives. In addition, all three routines also provide other benefits. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, by eating with your children, it is more likely that meals will be healthier and more balanced.

They also point out that teens who rarely have family dinners are three-and-a-half times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana. Girls who have five or more meals a week with their families are one-third less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits, which can range from skipping meals to full-fledged anorexia or abusing diet pills. Regularly sitting down for a meal with your children is one way to connect with them and be involved with what is happening in their lives. They are more apt to tell you when they face difficult challenges or temptations.

The second recommendation, getting enough sleep, can also be easier said than done. By the time everyone gets home from work and after-school activities, has finished the family dinner and homework, getting 10 1/2 hours of sleep can be tricky. Yet, kids who get a full night’s sleep are sharper during the day, have more energy to enjoy physical activities, and stay healthier overall.

The final recommendation, limiting television and video watching, will allow your kids to spend time doing other, more productive activities. Playing a family game, exercising, (check out the Hop 66 Ball) and reading, will all promote a healthy lifestyle.

Monday, February 8, 2010

How Much Homework Help Should Parents Give Kids

Children are assigned homework to help reinforce lessons they learned in school. Sometimes, if those lessons didn’t sink in, the kids will struggle to complete the homework without a teacher helping. In that case, if the parent can help, that is in the child’s best interest. Projects, however, are another story.

We assigned our three year olds the task of creating a bed for the stuffed doll they made in class. Some of the children obviously made it themselves, with crayons, stickers, and bangles adorning a shoe box. Other children worked side-by-side with Mom, in which case the beds were a bit more elaborate. And then there were ones where the parents completed the task without the child’s help.

One such child was Robin. Robin’s box was gorgeous – a bed fit for a doll princess. It had beautiful fabric glued to the outside, ribbon handles sewn on, and even a nightlight to keep the doll safe at night! When Robin showed me her box, I asked her if she and her mommy made it together. “No, Mommy made it all by herself!” she announced.

Standing nearby, her mother told us that she always gave her sister grief for doing her kids’ science projects for them. Now, she realized she was turning into her sister. I certainly don’t mind when a parent helps a child with a project like this. If they work together, it can be a wonderful bonding experience. They can enjoy each other’s company and input, and have fun talking about what a baby might need in her bed. They can reminisce about when the child was a baby, and make the experience positive.

I don’t, however, think that parents should do their children’s projects for them, at any age. That is a child’s responsibility and the only way she will learn how to do things for herself. Lending a guiding hand can provide valuable lessons, but the bulk of the work must be the students.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tips to Keep Your Children in their Own Beds

Everyone’s excited now that your child has moved from his crib into his big boy bed. Now things will be easier for the family…..or, maybe not. This new experience may be exciting for him, but it’s also a little scary. Plus, it’s easy to climb out of a bed. Getting him to stay in his bed all night is important, and you must set the rule right away. Here are a few tips to help:

1. Remind him that he has this awesome bed because he's a big boy now. But that means he must accept the responsibility comes with that. That means there are a few important rules. The first rule is that he must call for you if he wants to get out of bed. Initially, he may call for you often, but you must stick to your guns that he is not allowed to get out of bed without you.

2. If he calls for you repeatedly, tell him that the next rule is that there are only certain times when he is allowed to ask for you. If he feels afraid or is having a bad dream he can certainly call for you. Also, if he has to go to the bathroom, he should let you know, although be sure he uses the bathroom before bed to help avoid that situation. Limit his drinking before bed so he doesn't wake up thirsty.

Initially, he will likely cry for you in the middle of the night and tell you he's scared, because he wants to come into your bed. At that point you will be exhausted, and it’s easier to say yes, but, try to avoid that. Once he enjoys the comfort of snuggling with Mommy and Daddy in bed, it will be very hard to take away that privilege. There are certainly special circumstances where you welcome a family bed, such as a loud, scary storm, but you have to put your foot down on most other occasions.

3. For the times when he does call you, go into his room as opposed to having him come into yours. Ask him what's wrong in a gentle, soothing voice. If he says he had a scary dream, encourage him to tell you about it and reassure him that it was just a dream and he's very safe. It’s often helpful to place a nightlight by his bed so he can see his surroundings.Cloud B : Twilight Turtle
Tell him you'll stay with him for five minutes until he falls back asleep, but you need to go back to sleep too. If he doesn't fall asleep in five minutes and starts to cry when you try to leave, tell him that you will wait out in the hall for five more minutes. Place a clock by his bed so you can show him exactly what five minutes means. Most importantly, you have to follow through on what you say. If he still calls for you, tell him that you are going to bed, he is safe and you both need your sleep. You have to let him cry, and that isn’t easy.

I know that it is so much simpler to give in, especially when you are all sleep deprived. Yet, if you nip it in the bud right away, he will understand that this is the way it is going to be. Then, on the special occasions when you allow him in your bed, he will recognize that it is truly a special occasion.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Big Kids, Big Problems; Little Kids, Little Problems

As a parent, every problem we have with our children seems monumental, especially the first time we experience it. Enduring potty training, suffering through a difficult bedtime routine, seeking out a responsible babysitter, the list goes on and on. Despite how huge our problems seem, when our kids are little, their issues should not be too catastrophic. In my experience, the saying “big kids, big problems; little kids, little problems” has generally held true.

As I sat in the chair getting my hair cut recently, my cell phone vibrated repeatedly. While I believe it’s rude to check the phone in that circumstance, I was concerned that it went off so many times. So, I checked and discovered calls from two of my young-adult children. It turned out that one was very ill, and the other had a relationship setback that had her very upset.

When our kids are little and they’re sick, we take them to the doctor, be sure they get the appropriate medicine they need, and let them cuddle in our laps. At 22 years old and living in another part of the country, I felt helpless to deal with my son’s illness. I urged him to go to the health clinic, get his friends to buy him Gatorade and chicken soup, and take ibuprofen. But encouraging him to do these things and actually doing it for him are very different things. Scrabble Crossword Game

My daughter needed a shoulder to cry on, but she, too was several states away. I could offer advice, but I couldn’t stroke her hair, make a silly face, or take her out for ice cream. It’s so hard to watch your children, at any age, suffering.

When our kids are young, we hope that we can help them navigate disappointments, illnesses, issues at school, and social problems. The goal is to teach them enough so that they can deal with these things when we aren’t there to guide them. Once kids hit middle school they are faced with peer pressure, drugs, smoking, alcohol, sex, and dangerous behaviors we can barely envision. Hopefully, we’ve guided them well as they’ve grown up, and they can make smart choices. With luck, they will trust us enough to clue us in on what’s going on in their hormone-crazy young lives.

So, the next time you want to freak out because your child has colored on your wall, or flushed a diaper down the toilet, keep your perspective, and your sense of humor. These are little problems. With luck, you won’t have to face too many big ones as the kids get older.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Importance of Encouraging Independence in Children

It certainly is much easier and quicker if we do things for our children, instead of taking the time to watch them muddle through simple tasks by themselves. Yet, the only way that kids will ever master skills on their own is through trial and error. Whether it’s tackling cutting skills, learning to put on a jacket by himself, potty training, or understanding that blue and yellow make green each and every time, that ‘ah-ha’ moment is priceless.

Certainly, it takes lots of practice for most kids to master something new, and there are usually missteps along the way. Many times, the child gets frustrated when a new task is difficult, and for a parent, watching that frustration can be difficult. Yet, learning perseverance is also an important skill, and we must let our kids figure things out by themselves.

Jean Thomas, MD, MSW, is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at both The Children’s National Medical Center and The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, who is internationally known for early childhood diagnosis and treatment strategies. She urges parents to allow their little ones to figure things out through trial and error.

“Self-confidence grows from feeling your successes, and this is true in young children, older children, and adults,” she says. “If we’ve done a good job at work, we’ve had a good day and feel proud of ourselves, and we know a little bit more about we’re going to do the next day. We’ve honed our skill. It’s the same thing for the child who has so many things new to learn. Pride motivates all of us to try harder and succeed again.”

Remember that, and give your child the time and patience he needs when figuring something out for the first time. When he gets it right, you will both be proud of his independence. While you had to wait a little longer for him to figure it out for himself at first, once he masters a new skill, he will be able to save you time in the future when he completes that task all by himself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tips to Stop Your Child from Whining

While I have always prided myself on my patience with little ones, I admit I fail miserably at being accepting when they whine. One of my own children whined as a toddler, and I’ve taught a few whiney kids throughout the years. I’ve learned some great tips on how to stop your child from the annoying habit of whining.

1. Never accept what they say in whine-language. When your child whines, tell her that you do not understand whine language, and she needs to say it again in a big girl voice.

2. Wait until the child is in a happy moment to have a real conversation about why she must stop whining. Typically a child whines when she is upset about something. Maybe she felt slighted by another child, maybe she really wants your attention or a toy, and she feels that she must whine to get what she wants. In those moments, she won’t be thinking rationally when you speak to her, because she is too focused on her needs at that moment. Wait until she has moved on from that episode and is happy. Then explain to her that babies whine, big girls do not, and if she wants to be treated like a big girl, she will have to speak like one.

3. Use positive reinforcement. In my experience, children always react more favorably through praise than they do with threats and punishments. Certainly a whining child can make you want to threaten her, but take a deep breath and think about the long run. Instead, remind her that you will not listen to her until she uses a big girl voice. Then, throughout the day, when she is speaking normally, praise her on acting like such a big girl.

4. Find incentives to keep her behavior positive. Create a sticker chart and if she makes it through a certain time frame without whining, give her a sticker. That time frame will depend on how often she whines. If it’s constant, your time frame must start off short, maybe from breakfast to lunch. If she refrains from whining in those few hours, you will give her a sticker. You can gradually increase that amount of time. When she reaches 10 stickers, give her a treat of some kind. That might be a small toy, a visit to the ice cream parlor, a trip to her favorite playground, etc.
MY CHORES ~ 25 Weekly Chart Forms & 175 Stickers

5. Point out the fact that other children, siblings, classmates, or friends, do not whine. Remind your child that her family members and peers are able to speak without whining, so she can too.

6. Be consistent. There might be times when your child’s whining doesn’t bother you as much, or you are embarrassed to discuss it in front of other people. Yet, children need consistency to understand that you mean what you say. If you pick and choose when her whining is allowed, and when it is not, she won’t understand the difference.

7. Encourage your child to save her tears for something important. Oftentimes, whining is accompanied by tears. Most of the time the child is crying over something trivial, like arguing over a toy, or wanting to go first. In those cases, once the child has calmed down, remind her that there is no reason for her to cry over something like that. She should save her tears for when she is hurt.

8. Try to figure out what triggers the whining. Many times, a child starts to whine when she is over-tired. In that case, try to move her nap time a little earlier, before this behavior begins. You might find that simply giving her rest earlier will stop her whining altogether.