Whining is a normal part of a child’s development. Here are a few tips on understanding why your child may whine, along with some ways to prevent it.
Why does whining work?
- It gets your attention
- You want the noise of whining to stop
- You easily get in the habit of giving in to stop the noise
How can you reduce whining?
- Reframe your thoughts. Stay calm and don’t show a reaction. Your child does not whine to drive you crazy. They do it be heard or to get their way.
- Check out the cause. Look for what’s behind the whining. Is your child hungry, tired, or maybe bored?
- Create awareness. Your child may not know that they are whining. Tell your child they are whining and whining is not going to get you to change your mind. If your child wants you to listen, they need to talk in a normal voice.
- Set expectations. Tell your child you are not going to listen to whining. You can say, “Please stop whining. Whining hurts my ears.”
- Don’t give in. Often it would be easier to just give in and give your child what they want. This only encourages your child to whine again the next time they want something.
- Be consistent. Do not enforce the “no whining” rule in one instance and then give in on another. When you are consistent, you are sending the message that whining is something you will not tolerate.
Be prepared in public
When your child doesn’t get their way, it may lead to a tantrum. Handling a tantrum at home is one thing, but in public the need for quietness is heightened. One tactic to managing public whining and tantrums is to tell your child the expectations you have for them before leaving the house.
- Tell your child your expectations. Say something like, “We are shopping for groceries. I am not going to buy a toy today. If you start to whine and fuss we will leave the store.”
- Remind your child. If whining starts, remind your child of what you said and what your actions will be.
- Follow through. Be prepared to cut your shopping short if needed and leave the store.
- Remain calm. Be a role model to your child on how to manage one’s emotions. Stay focused on what you are teaching your child versus your frustration with the behavior and situation.
A major key to stopping your child’s whining is your reaction. You can actually turn whining into a teachable moment in which you can teach your child how to manage her own emotions and communicate appropriately.
- Hang in there: Ways to put an end to temper tantrums
- What’s your baby’s temperament? Knowing can help parents
- Best ways to teach empathy to children