With the holidays upon us, many parents complain about the whining. The barrage of holiday ads on TV and online don’t help us. A while back, I wrote a national wire column, and I’ll share one here at “The Lounge.” Some are longer versions of previously blogged about biz (this one included). This one, “Turning Whining into Wishlists,” was originally published and archived at a host of publications including The Miami Herald, The Charlotte Observer, The World News Network, and many more.

Any wine connoisseur can tell you the age, quality and history of a bottle of wine. The elegance of how the aroma fills the glass; the smell of the cork, freshly popped out of the bottle; the type of glassware best suited for different varieties; the degree of dryness, sweetness, everything. While a child’s “whine” is far from this civilized or tasteful, there are ways to manage it so it doesn’t permanently stain the tablecloth of life! So, consider this the “art of fine-tuning the whine.”

How many times do your kids ask or whine for things during the year? If your house is like ours when our boys were young, we got it often. They’d pause live TV every time there was a commercial with an 800 number for any toy that was “essential,” describe it in intricate detail, and then pause for me to respond. Clearly, advertising works, and coming from an advertising/marketing background, it made me smile, then itch uncomfortably, then smile again, to see what features a young mind picks up on.

It gets annoying, to say the least, and breeds stressful feelings of excess, especially around the holidays and birthdays when many kids get so much, and there are so many kids in our world who get nothing at all. The Business of Motherhood prescription for this “I want/need it syndrome” is a “Wish List.”

You can certainly keep track on paper, but I love my phone notes feature and even now, keep an electronic wish list for each kid. When they ask for something, I say, “Great idea, let’s add that to your wish list.”

This serves many useful purposes:

– First and foremost, it delays gratification, which is an important lesson to teach.

– Second, in a young mind, it isn’t “no,” but rather, “maybe in the future.”

– Third, it’s healthy to “wish” or want for things that you don’t get right away.

– And finally, it’s a great tool when relatives ask, “What does he want this year?”

Since I’m tracking their wishes, I’ll add ideas of my own throughout the year – something I notice them enjoy at someone else’s house or something I think of in the moment but know my brain can’t keep hold of until birthday or holiday shopping time.

Many retailers now enable you to create wish lists online which is a great way to engage the kids in the process. Plus, you can instantly click pictures and descriptions to see what each toy includes and age requirements. With young kids, if they pick an inappropriate or expensive toy, it’s easy to say, “Oh, you need to be 10 to use that toy! We’ll have to wait to wish for that one.”

Now that my boys are older, I ask them to do some of the work, and we have a shared Google doc where they make notes. It gets increasingly harder as kids grow up to get stuff they’ll find useful, so I like to have them help us keep tabs on stuff they might like.

It’s definitely a win-win-win-WISH!

So…fellow MomTinis…what do you do to stop whining at your house? Click “Leave a Comment,” and join the chat!