Does your child seem to whine all the time? Here are some simple, yet effective tips for how to stop your kid from whining.
I don’t know about you, but for me, whining feels and sounds like nails on a chalkboard. I just can’t take it!
When my young daughters whine, this sets me on edge immediately and triggers all of my worst responses. It has taken a lot of practice for me to be able to address the whining in a calm adult manner.
Here are some helpful things that I’ve done to help minimize or eliminate the whining from our daily life!
Why do kids whine?
First, it’s important to consider why kids whine.
The simple reason is that kids often whine because it works for them. They may whine because they need:
- to express feelings
- because you will give in
When they whine and you help (connect with them, give in, etc.) then they are getting what they need or want. This will reinforce their whining.
How to help your child avoid whining
First, to keep your sanity it can be helpful if you adjust your own personal view of whining (does it feel likes nails on a chalkboard to you?!).
If you change your view from “My kids is whining to drive me mad!” to “She just wants to be heard (or express frustration or it works to get my attention)” – it can help you to keep calm and deal with it in a patient, calm manner (which is always helpful when raising children).
Do you notice any particular triggers?
Does your child always whine when:
If so, you can help prevent the whining (or cut it off) but meeting your child’s needs first.
How to stop your kid from whining
Describe the whining
When your child whines, stop and describe the whining – be specific and show an example of what it sounds like (but don’t make fun of them!). You could say:
When you talk like this (give a whining voice example), it doesn’t sound nice and I can’t understand you very well.
Don’t let the whining affect you!
If your kid whines and he can tell that it affects you (because you respond or give in), then the whining “works” for them (i.e. gives them the response/attention they are looking for).
It’s best to change your internal view of the whining and remain calm and unaffected by it.
If your kids always whine in the checkout line for some candy and you give in one time, then they will be strong enough to try this method every. single. time. you shop again! Be gentle, firm, and consistent!
Anticipate their needs
As I mentioned before, if your child always whines when hungry or tired (or lonely or angry or…), then try to anticipate their needs and make sure you have a snack always ready or are able to let them rest when needed (or express their feelings).
Everyone wants to be heard and understood! If you make a sincere effort to try and actually listen to your child and understand her feelings, this helps in so many ways. This can also be helpful to avoid or minimize the whining.
To summarize, here are some simple steps you can do the moment your child whines:
- Be calm and say kindly: I can’t understand you when you whine. Please use your regular voice so I know how to help you.
It can be helpful for you to talk with your child (at a calm time, when she’s not whining) and explain that it’s hard to understand a whiny voice and that you won’t respond when she whines.
- Always model the appropriate tone of voice
- Thank your child when she speaks normally and clearly (without whining)
- Persevere – this might take time and lots of patient reminders on your part (and practice on your child’s part!).
Lastly, be sure to meet your child’s need for attention with lots of positive, genuine attention – at least 10 minutes a day! Play a game, do some artwork, or ask what they would like to do with you!
Related: Easy ideas for spending quality time with your kids
Related: How to teach your children to handle difficult emotions
As a parent, nothing seems to be worse than having to listen to whining! You can help prevent and minimize whining by being calm, anticipating your child’s needs, and empathizing. These tips can show you how to stop your kid from whining. Please share your own ideas about how to stop whining in the comments below!