We are in the first few weeks of summer vacation and this mama is getting really tired of all the whining my two older boys are doing. It seems it’s their new form of communication, whining about everything and anything. They’re bored, they don’t want to play upstairs, they don’t want to pick up their toys, they don’t want to eat their lunches or dinners – they don’t want to do anything and their main form of communication is the dreaded whine. Parents everywhere know it. It’s the high pitched sound where your children pretend that they’re going to cry, but don’t and then move their body in downward motions until they land on the floor (or closest couch/chair).
Summer is supposed to be fun! There’s no school or real set schedule, and this mama enjoys the slow pace to days that don’t require much. But the kids whining is giving me a headache and so I’m combating it with the summer contract. It’s an easy way to combat the power struggles (and the annoying whining) so that your kids know their obligations and responsibilities (such as summertime reading, chores, bedtime and anything else that can be a struggle).
Kids will benefit better knowing that there are still some expectations this summer and the contract lays it out in black and white. Knowing up front what they need to do will make the whining stop and allow them to still relax this summer while still being productive (aka listening to your requests). Here’s some ways to set up that summer contract to combat the whining at home:
1. Make The Contract Simple
In order to be effective, the contract needs to be simple. You don’t need 20+ rules. Instead, simply focus on what your main struggle areas are with your kids. Maybe they whine when you tell them no more screen time? Or it could be a whinefest when your kids fight over toys (sibling rivalry)? For me, it’s about screen time, cleaning up their mess, bedtime and eating what we make for lunch and dinner. Try to be intentional regarding your focus areas and choose a few to include on the contract.
2. Create One Contract for Each Kid
My 2-year-old won’t obviously be getting a contract, but my 4-year-old and 6-year-old will. They are old enough to understand that they have certain responsibilities as stated in the contract. But the one for my youngest son might be different from my oldest because he’s younger and my focus goals might not be the same. The older one loves screen time, but my youngest doesn’t whine when I take it away. If one kid says it’s not fair that their sibling doesn’t have the same contract, you just explain that everyone one is different and and each will have their own contract to help you be a better mommy this summer.
3. The Contract Should Be The Law In Your Home
On the contract, write clear and concise consequence so that your child knows what will happen if they continue whining about one of the contract’s rules. So if your child wants to challenge their actions that are stated on the contract, they know what will happen and so will you.
4. Get Buy-In From Them
If you can get your kids to help decide what goes on there, they’ll most likely follow it. They don’t have to buy-in to all the rules, but at least one or two.
5. Post The Contract And Follow It
Make sure you post the contract somewhere they can see it. Have them sign it (or scribble on it) so that all parties are aware of what the contracts states. The important part is to stick to it and not give in when your kids whine about something. All you should have to do is point to the contract posted on the fridge or wall or mention it and they’ll realize they are breaking it.
Let us know if the summer contract worked for you! Need more summer things to do with your kids? Here’s a summer bucket list!