A Little Whine with that Cheese Stick?

Usually I have a couple of months’ break, but this time, it started almost as soon as the school year did. I tried to stave it off from the beginning. I hyped up the new subjects and textbooks. I was excited about all the new things we were going to learn together. I talked about fun field trips we could take as we studied each subject.

But the whining started early. In fact, it’s been going on since about Week 2 of our school year. My son gets up, follows the morning routine, then sits at the kitchen table with me. And then he whines, and whines, and whines.

“I don’t want to do school. Why do I have to do this? I can’t do this! How long is this going to take?”

He’s the youngest of four and the only one I still work with one-on-one on a daily basis. His sisters do most of their work in their rooms and only come to me if they have a question or to check their work. So his latest complaint: “I’m the only one around here who does any school!”

I’ll admit it; I’ve threatened each of my children at some point or other with sending them to school. I’ve told them how they’ll have to get up at 6:00 in the morning to get ready on time, stay there most of the day, then come home to do more schoolwork. I try to make it sound as unappealing as possible, but this tactic works only for a short while, if at all. They know I’m bluffing, and eventually they call my bluff.

So I’ve had to find some better ways to quell the whining. If you have a child who tends to whine about doing schoolwork, here are some things you might try, too.

*Write or print out a list of exactly what needs to be accomplished that day. My son does especially well with a list like this. Before we ever begin, he wants to know what the assignment will be for every subject. As he finishes each one, he crosses it off the list. It’s a good way for him to see his progress and see how far he has to go.

*Set a timer for each subject. It’s easy in a relaxed home environment to take your time when working on something. To speed things along, set a realistic goal for finishing a worksheet, writing practice, or math lesson.

*Take short breaks. Not many adults can sit for hours plowing through work they have to do. Offer your child a short 10-15 minute break when he finishes an assignment or two. The break might involve running outside or playing with toys. Set the timer for the break so he knows it’s not arbitrary.

*Offer rewards. My son loves to play video games, and having that time to play is a great motivator for him.

*Deny privileges. This work for us in regards to the video games, too. If the whining just won’t stop, the video games will.

*Remember the cheese sticks (and other snacks)! If your child is hungry, he will have a hard time concentrating. Offer him a snack while he works and surprise him with some of his favorites. Something as simple as a cup of cocoa makes for an unexpected treat!

What helps stop the whining during your school day?

Photo by: Benjamin Gray

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