The chance to chill out at home.
Or get out and have an adventure
And actually enjoy family life together.
But before you know it.
The kids are grumbling and moaning AND whinging!
And you’re yelling back!
Because you can’t believe they can be so ungrateful.
And because you’re mad they’ve ruined the time you so wanted to be special.
And just because there is something so infuriating about kids whinging.
Because, somehow, kids whinging presses the buttons like nothing else you know!
So what can you do?
Is there actually any way you can stop kids whinging?
Or is it just part and parcel of parenting?
Payback from our parents for all the whinging we did?
Well, yeah, kind of BUT …
… I have found these THREE simple tricks DO make a big difference,
… and actually stop kids whinging. Quite alot.
Three Tricks To Stop Kids Whinging
1. Breakfast In The Park
So the first trick to stop kids whinging is breakfast in the park.
You what? Yep, seriously.
Forget showers. And teeth brushing. And hair tugging.
The minute you’re all up, get out of the house.
Just grab some toast. Some fruit.
Chocolate croissants a go go if you want.
AND a flask of coffee!
And hit the park.
Take a ball. Take a book. Take the dog.
But LEAVE your phone at home!
And for one hour – two if you’ve got it – give your kids, your undivided attention.
FREE from all the stuff that needs doing round the house.
FREE from those oh-so-urgent – really? – work e-mails and phone calls and messages.
And FREE from all that sneaky skulking on social media.
Because the strange thing about kids lives today is they’re never left alone.
BUT when we’re with them we’re NOT there!
Mentally we’re somewhere else – work, worries, Facebook, wherever – and they know it.
So often, kids whinging is just a cry for attention.
They can’t get it any other way.
So they whinge.
A big blast of in-their-face you time – a real connection – first thing sets kids up for the day.
And leaves them quite happy to be left alone!
So we can then get the work and the whatever done.
PLUS the double whammy of the whole family getting outside first thing is we all sleep better.
Cos’ all that daylight actually resets our body clocks.
2. Hit The Woods
My second trick to stop kids whinging is to hit the woods.
“What if we live in the city!?” you scream.
Well, yeah it’s a bit harder.
But even here in central London we’re only half an hour from big woods.
And the thing about woods, is they give our kids freedom.
A freedom they just don’t get any longer, most of the time.
Woods let kids run and climb and build and hide and imagine and explore.
They let them connect with the world
The real world. The beautiful, physical, mysterious, dangerous world.
And that gives them a freedom to express themselves in a big, bold way.
That the sanitised safety boxes of homes and schools, and the anxst-ridden artificial world of the screen, never can.
And you know what?
When kids are being big and bold.
And designing dens.
And conquering great heights.
And bridging streams.
And chasing squirrels.
And fighting dragons.
And opening conkers.
And munching blackberries.
They never winge.
And, yeah, you can’t go to the woods every day.
But once a month at the weekend.
Or every week in the holidays.
An afternoon in the woods – a big dollop of freedom – helps them connect with themselves in a way that seems to keep them going for days and days after.
And stops them winging.
OK, so now you’ve got two tricks to stop your kids winging.
Onto the final one.
And it’s a bit controversial.
Because my third trick to stop your kids winging is to ditch the car!
3. Ditch The Car
You what! Are you crazy?
My kids winge if they have to walk anywhere, you shout!
But strapping kids into the car and driving for hours is guarranteed to make all kids whinge.
And not surprisingly.
They get NO positive attention from you because you’re driving.
Have NO freedom to move around so they’re bursting with restless energy.
And have NO control over – or responsibility for – the journey.
And you know what? These are enough to make anyone winge.
If you go on the bus, you can actually talk to kids face to face.
If you go on the train, you can read Harry Potter.
Or play endless rounds of Uno.
And if you scoot or bike, kids can burn off all their natural energy.
Whilst getting places fast.
As every kid I know, can actually break the land-speed record on their scooter!
PLUS – and this is a biggy – they can actually help with the journey.
They can carry stuff. They can find the platform.
They can read the map.
And the funny thing is, when things go wrong – as they do – they get the chance to step up.
At Easter we went on a day trip with friends. And just missed our train back.
The kids had, had a fab day – egg hunting, paddling in a stream, dressing up as Tudors.
But the highlight of their day? The thing they remember? That they tell everyone about?
Helping to navigate our way home on four different trains.
And doing the Hither Green dash to make the connection with a minute to spare!
They were all tired. All hungry. But they seriously stepped up. Not a winge to be heard.
So next time, you go on a family adventure – and you don’t want the kids to winge – ditch the car!
I really hope these simple tricks help to stop your kids whinging.
Let me know how you get on.