How to get your kids to stop complaining

Everyone has his/her pet peeves: chewing with your mouth open, shoes on the furniture, punctuality (or lack of punctuality), etc. But there are few things that annoy me more than complaining. Especially when my kids complain.

Whenever my kids complain or make passive-aggressive requests like, “I’m so hungry” in the hopes that I have been just sitting around waiting to prepare food to serve to someone, I simply respond with, “tell me the solution not the problem.”

Don’t tell me that you are hungry. Ask me for a snack.

Solve the problem.

Don’t tell me that you are cold. Ask me for a jacket.

Solve the problem.

But alas, even with my constant reminders, my kids still complain, and it drives me INSANE!IMG_2634 (2)

A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter pushed me over the edge. It was over the course of two days filled with non-stop complaining: her clothes, her hair, her meals, her snacks, her TV shows – everything she encountered elicited a complaint.

I wracked my brain to try to think of a punishment or consequence that would really keep her from complaining and then it dawned on me.

I got an empty plastic bin and slapped a sign on the side and “The Complainers’ Bin” was born.

The new rule in our house is that anyone who complains is given one warning. After that I get to remove something from that person’s room and place it in The Complainers’ Bin. The item will stay in the bin until a chore of my choosing is performed. (The chore that is always on top of the list is scooping dog poop!)

There is no limit to how long an item can stay in the bin or how many items a person can amass at one time. And the chore to earn back one of your items is only given upon specific request.

I simply walk into my kids’ rooms, take something, place it in the bin and wait. Once one of them comes to me and says that she would like to do a chore to earn back her toy, I will come up with a chore.

Now, I did have the idea to write a bunch of chores on different post-it notes and place those on top of the bin. Then the kids would just choose one of the post-it notes and complete that chore. However, 2/3 of my kids can’t read, so that wouldn’t really work quite yet.

The bin is so simple and remains empty 90% of the time, but man is it effective. My oldest would rather lick the garage floor than have me take something out of her room.

So, I still try to keep them focused on the solution in any given situation, and if that doesn’t work – I just bring out the bin!

Cheers – Emily

Check out more of my writing on my personal blog or on Facebook: Please Send More Wine. Instagram :@pleasesendmorewine Twitter: @plssendmorewine or find me on Pinterest.




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