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Tantrums, Fussing and Whining

From The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

Teach the Quiet Bunny
When children get worked up, their physiological symptoms keep them in an agitated state. You can teach your child how to relax and then use this approach when fussing begins.

You can start each morning or end each day with a brief relaxation session. Have your child sit or lie comfortably with eyes closed. Tell a story that he's a quiet bunny. Name body parts (feet, legs, tummy, etc.) and have your child wiggle it, and then relax it.

Once your child is familiar with this process you can call upon it at times when he is agitated. Crouch down to your child's level, put your hands on his shoulders, look him in the eye and say, let's do our Quiet Bunny. And then talk him through the process. Over time, just mentioning it and asking him to close his eyes will bring relaxation.

Distract and involve
Children can easily be distracted when a new activity is suggested. If your child is whining or fussing try viewing it as an "activity" that your child is engaged in. Since children aren't very good multi-taskers you might be able to end the unpleasant activity with the recommendation of something different to do.

Invoke his imagination
If a child is upset about something, it can help to vocalize his fantasy of what he wishes would happen: "I bet you wish we could buy every single toy in this store." This can become a fun game.

Use the preventive approach
Review desired behavior prior to leaving the house, or when entering a public building, or before you begin a playdate. This might prevent the whining or tantrum from even beginning. Put your comments in the positive (tell what you want, not what you don't want) and be specific.

When it's over, it's over
After an episode of misbehavior is finished you can let it go and move on. Don't feel you must teach a lesson by withholding your approval, love or company. Children bounce right back, and it is okay for you to bounce right back, too.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) by Elizabeth Pantley www.pantley.com/elizabeth

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