My Child Whines All The Time: How to STOP the Whining!

When your child whines all the time, it can be frustrating making even the easiest tasks impossible due to whining and crying. Today we have positive ways and solutions to stop the whining for the most common whines. There is hope that you can stop the whining at your house!

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My child is so whiny!

Whiny Kids

There are things that you can do to help when your child whines. Whining usually comes from frustration, and soon, it becomes a habit. They whine one time and see results, so they try it again. Pretty soon, they whine all of the time.

Related: Check out this advice if your kids are not listening or they cry about everything.

Don’t worry, there are ways to discourage this whiney behavior and help your child develop new skills to manage their frustration a different way.

What is whining?

For most parents, we haven’t really thought about WHAT whining actual is, but we know it when we hear it!

“the act or activity of complaining in an annoyingly childish or petulant manner”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary, What is Whining

How to Stop Whining

If you are reading this article, you may be like me and realize your standard response to whining hasn’t worked. The good news is that you can turn that negative attention into positive attention with just a few strategies.

Remember that every child is different so start with these common reasons why kids whine and work toward a pleasant way of dealing with whining at your house. Here are some ways to stop whining that have worked for other parents in the same situation.

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What does whining look like at your house?

1. Start with Patience when You Hear a Whiny Voice

Be Patient and don’t immediately react when you hear whining. Take a deep breath and consider…

“When children whine they are feeling powerless. If we scold them for whining or refuse to listen to them we increase their feelings of powerlessness. If we give in so they will stop whining, we reward that powerlessness. But if we relaxedly, playfully, invite them to use a strong voice, we increase their sense of confidence and competence. And we find a bridge back to close connection.”

Lawrence Cohen, author of Playful Parenting

2. Show Them What Whining Sounds Like

Talk to your child about what whining sounds like. As simple as that suggestion  sounds, I can remember being a child, and not understanding what adults meant when they said, “stop whining.” I thought that I was just asking, even when they would say that I was whining. So, before you expect change, be sure to explain it to your child.

Tape record your child whining and let them listen to what you have been hearing. Make sure that you explain that you are doing this so they can learn, and not to make them feel bad. Maybe even tape record your response to their whining, and review it, so they see you learning, too! There is always room for everyone to improve, even Mom and Dad!

3. Model Good Behavior by Not Whining Yourself

Hey, don’t whine (yes, YOU.)

Your children are watching you and listening to you.  Everyone melts down at some point, but try not to do it in front of your kids.  They will model your behavior… good or bad.

4. When it Comes to Whining, Don’t Give Up!

Stick with it. Changing behavior patterns takes time. A day of trying these tips won’t make a difference.  A few days probably won’t, either. Be patient and consistent.

Do not let it get you worked up.  You have to avoid the temptation to become frustrated, because they will pick up on it. This will just lead to more whining.

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Let me think this through…

5. Show Them That Honey Attracts More Flies Than “Whine”

Say “When you can ask me in a regular voice, I’ll help you.” Try telling them that you can’t understand whining to encourage them to talk in a different voice.

If they are over 5 years old, charge them for whining. Every whine costs a penny or nickel.  They put they money  into a jar, so they can see how much they are whining.  If they go a full day without whining, they get the money back.

Set ground rules when you are out.  If they don’t whine, maybe they get a piece of gum or a sticker.  If they do whine, even once, all bets are off.

6. If Your Child Whines, Try Positive Reinforcement to Break The Habit

Note if your child self-corrects. This is huge! They are recognizing behavior in need of a shift. Reward this! If they stop whining and ask for something politely, praise the nice voice. “I love when you talk in such a nice voice. It makes me so happy!” 

Think about why they are whining. If it is more than normal, what do they need? Have you been extra busy? Has there been any sort of a life change recently? Would one on one time help? At the end of the day, all our kids want is our time and love.

Compliment your child  for doing a great job of asking nicely, and reward him by saying YES a few more times during that day, just because he asked nicely. “Well, I would have said no to ice cream, because we had some last night, but since you asked so nicely, let’s go for it!”  

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Reward good behavior when you see it…quick!

Practice Proactive Parenting with a Whiny Kid

Kids thrive on a schedule, especially younger kids, who might be more likely to whine. Before you get angry, check to make sure that their basic needs are met. Hunger and tiredness would make anyone whine!

7. Prevent Whining by Planning Ahead

With a little planning, you can stop them from whining before it starts. If your kids are talking to you, try to listen to what they have to say. If you ignore it, they will probably start whining. Frustration then leads to whining. Make sure they know that you are listening by stopping what you are doing and giving them your attention. Get down to their level, and make eye contact. This should stop the whining in its tracks.

Most of the time, when a child whines, it is a way of asking for something when they are frustrated. It is simply a low-grade form of crying. It usually happens during the preschool years and lasts until the age of 6 or 7. Don’t worry! It gets better, and it is just another opportunity for you to teach them important life skills, and how to cope when things don’t go their way.

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Be patient. Be kind. Let them know they are safe with you.

8. Be Their Safe Harbor Even When they are Whiny

Kids whine. They’ve probably been doing it since the days when Mom was too busy painting her diary entry on a cave wall, and Junior wanted his brontosaurus egg omelet, like yesterday, so a conniption ensued. Maybe that’s where the inspiration for Bam Bam came from…

Be patient. Be kind. Let them know they are safe with you, and that you love them, unconditionally. Especially when they are having a bad day. We all have them! This will only serve to strengthen your bond and their confidence as they learn how to communicate with the world around them.

9. It Takes A Village…Even if it is a Whiny Village

With the ideas above, you can hopefully stop the whining before it becomes a habit. Try to take the time to listen to your kids to stop the whining before it is a big problem. And next time start with one of these solutions first!

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Looking at childhood from a perspective can help the daily bumps smooth out…

More Real Life Parenting Advice & Fun from Kids Activities Blog

Please leave your advice below in the comments if you have another suggestion for how to stop the whining. The more we learn from each other…the better!