When your gifted child starts to whine, a simple trip to the grocery store can turn into an ordeal. You want to get home quickly to make dinner, but now you’re falling behind schedule. You try to remain patient, but those high-pitched wails frazzle your nerves.
While it may be tempting to lose your temper or give in to your gifted child’s pleas, there are more constructive alternatives. You know that they need a different type of stimulation to stay engaged, but you do not always have the resources of time, toys, and attention.
Learn how to deal with melting down and prevent it before it starts.
What to Do When Your Gifted Child Whines:
- Stay calm. Your gifted child will pick up on your mood so ensure you’re doing what you can to reduce both your stress levels. Take a deep breath and smile. Speak softly and clearly.
- Stand fast. Giving your gifted child what they ask for is the quickest way to stop their melting down, but that approach will backfire in the long run. That’s because you’re training them to believe that melting down works. Instead, hold your ground.
- Suggest alternatives. Let your gifted child know that it’s okay to ask for what they want in a courteous manner. Roleplay so they can understand the difference between a shrill voice and a pleasant one.
- Offer positive reinforcement. Praise your gifted child when they behave well. Applaud their efforts to put their feelings into words and seek mutually satisfactory solutions. Let them know that such achievements are difficult even for grown-ups.
- Lighten up. You may feel like there’s a spotlight shining on you when your gifted child has a meltdown in the school parking lot. In reality, most parents know that it’s natural for kids to whine, and you may have more sympathy and support than you realize.
- Rule out medical causes. While most melting down is harmless, it could sometimes be a sign that your gifted child is under the weather. If they seem more irritable or fidgety than usual, check for health issues first.
How to Prevent Your Gifted Child From Melting down:
- Nurture your connection. Your gifted child’s grumbling is often a way of seeking more of your attention. Make it a top priority to spend significant family time and one-on-one time together on a daily basis.
- Learn and play. Adequate stimulation will also reduce melting down. Share fun and enriching activities with your gifted child like reading books and playing outdoor games. Buy a family membership at a local science museum or community pool.
- Enforce bedtimes. Many modern gifted children are sleep-deprived. Try moving bedtimes back an hour and stick to a consistent schedule even on weekends.
- Encourage healthy eating. A nutritious diet will give your gifted child more energy and help to stabilize their blood sugar. Plan balanced meals and healthy snacks, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Take breaks. If your gifted child is acting up, you may have exceeded their attention span. Switch activities or give them a little quiet time to refresh and recharge.
- Avoid other triggers. In addition to the events that most gifted children find to be a little stressful, your gifted child may have their own personal triggers. Pay attention to when they whine to see if it may be related to something going on at school or at home.
- Be a positive role model. Your gifted child will be less likely to whine if you avoid excessive complaining too. Monitor your conversations to ensure that you are setting the kind of example you want them to follow.
Give your gifted child the attention they need, and teach them how to replace melting down with more effective communication styles. You’ll enjoy your time together more, and you’ll prepare your gifted child to interact politely and respectfully with others as they grow older.