What are your best methods to handle whining?

You know their every need has been met, but the children are just at an age where they're prone to whining. How can you teach your children a positive manner of asking for what they need, and how can you handle it when their behavior is less than ideal?

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34  Answers

8 1

I say "that whining is not welcome here" and ask him what he's going to do with it. Then he gets to invent some scheme to get rid of it, like throw it out the window, down the garbage disposal, hide it in the sock drawer, etc. The silliness usually distracts him and keeps it positive. My son is almost 4 and now hardly ever whines. If he does I say "Hey, how did that whiny voice get back in here? We got rid of it. Still not welcome. How are you going to get rid of it now?" We have fun with it but I've also never never never given him what he wants when he whines for it. If it's something I don't mind giving him I have him try and try again until he asks me with his normal voice and then he can have it. Sometimes that takes a while but he doesn't think that whines equal me paying attention or him getting what he wants. Hope this helps.

39
14 27

Lisa, what a wonderful idea! I will try that when my other method doesn't work anymore.

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14 27

When mine were young, I had some "no brainer" rules as well as a "time out learning sheet". The two main rules I remember were: "If you ask for it, you don't get it" and "if you argue with me, you go to your room." The first rule really helped to curb the whining, especially when out shopping! This way I could look at them and ask, "What's the rule?" and be able to praise them for being so smart and remembering (You got it perfect, so right, you remembered the rule! Great job!).
If/when whining did occur I would calmly say, "put your whiny voice in your pocket and start over" (the firm "start over" also works well for the sassy voice later!). This worked well for me, although one day when my middle one (with Aspergers) was about 5, looked down then whined, "But I don't got any pockets!?" LOL! :)
In my experience, I have found that routines work best when children are young as they need structure and feel most secure when they know what is expected of them. I had visual schedules (which they got to help make & colour) as well as Morning, After School and Bedtime Check Lists (the after school list from when my boys were 3 & 4 in kindergarden is still on the fridge today; they are 18 & 17next week!).
I only had to use the Time Out Learning Sheet for whining once or twice and maybe a handful of times for other undesirable behaviours before it became it's own management tool. Basically, s/he would be sent to his/her room with a sheet and was not allowed down again until it was done. When they were really young I would follow them to their rooms after about 1-2 minutes of "alone" time and I would work through the questions with them while scribing their answers. I could look at them and simply had to ask, "Do you need a sheet?" and all would be calm again! :) I will try to add it below.
I also ensured that every Check List (with no more than 10 items on it: After School Check List
1.Put away shoes & coat 2.Empty backpack – check agenda for homework, empty lunch container & wash hands for snack 3.Watch TV & have snack – TV off at 4:00 pm 4.4:00 – 4:30 pm Homework Time 5.Do your chores & check your chart 6.FREE PLAY (unless homework is not complete or unless you need to study for a test) 7.Always let us know where you are going to be 8.Check in at 5:30 pm 9.Wash your hands with soap for supper 10. Share your day with the family during supper) had the following message at the bottom:
"Remember, if you wouldn’t do something if I (or another adult) were standing next to you, then it probably means that it is the wrong thing to do."
Hope you find this helpful!!!

TIME OUT LEARNING SHEET

Name: ___________________
Date: ___________________

1. What was happening before the problem occurred? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. What was your behaviour when the problem began? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. How did you feel? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. What other things could you have done instead? Name at least 3 that would have been more appropriate. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. Which one of the 3 behaviours you listed in # 4 would you like best? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. Why would you prefer to do that? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7. What are the consequences of the problem behaviour? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

8. How are you feeling now? __________________________________________________________________

9. Did you make any good decisions in spite of the problem? What were they? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. What can you do now to help yourself have a good day? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

17
4 27

We have what we call the "no wining zone".. I use my arms and make a big circle around me and say... What is this?... It's the no wining zone... it stops the wining and gets a pretty big smile!.. :)

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0 1

We started very early, so the first time my son whined. I said can you use your cheerful voice? It sounds something like this... and I repeated what he said in a cheerful voice. Then I repeated it again in a whiny voice. I asked if he could hear the difference and asked which one he thought sounded better? He said he like the cheerful voice better. I said I did too, and asked if he wanted to give it a try? He did, then we laughed about how silly the whiny voice sounded.

We have always been very consistent. When a whiny voice crops up, we always ask to use a cheerful voice instead; When necessary giving an example of how it might sound. It has worked well for us.

4
14 27

I adopted a "Special Needs" boy that tends to whine a lot and I got a WONDERFUL piece of advice from his teacher a couple of years ago = I tell him to "use words because I can't understand what you are saying when you whine." So far, it has been working. Now,. I have a little grand-daughter that is 27 months old and when she comes over to visit and I "babysit" her, I use it with her and (knock on wood), so far it is working with her too. I hope this is of some help to you.

4
50 4

I tell my daughter that I can't hear her "whiney voice" and I can't understand her. She has to calm down and try again, so I can understand her. I tell her to try it again in a nice voice, this works well for attitude, sassy, mean, etc behaviors and voices. If she continues I try to distract her with telling her to throw her attitude (or whatever-voice, meanness, etc) away, or in the potty and "flush" it, or out the window, etc. I think it's more of a visual thing that she can better comprehend than just telling her to change. I also tell her that certain things are a "choice" and she can choose to change those voices, attitudes, moods, etc.

3
14 27

Hope, you have wonderful ideas too. I came onto here just to give my input and am seeing a lot of posts that are good information for the future.

5 25

Whining in my opinion is usually a call for attention or another need that has not met. When my son whines, instead of being firm and cutting him off, I try (sometimes I am not always this patient) to sit down next to him, ask him to explain what he is feeling and honestly listen and acknowledge what he is whining about. Then, I offer a solution - can Mommy give you an aspirin or can I make you some food (may be hungry) or give you a hug or cool you down with a wet cool wash cloth.

Attention, your time, and acknowledgement and soon they are back to happiness on to the next thing.

2
0 0

I simply look my son in the eye and say, " Hey buddy.. I dont understand whining (or screaming, crying, whatever it is that I dont want him to make habit out of as a form of communication).. Let me know when you're done. I'll be *insert over here, on the couch, in the kitchen, ect* when you decide you want to talk.

2
3 6

I can't tell people enough about the,"Love and Logic" books/approach.
Look it up on Google, it is changing my life as a parent, and I have four kids (one is 16)
It is amazing starting over at my age, it's much better to start as early as possible...

2
0 20

My 4-year-old was having a hard time understanding that she was whining when she talked. We found that asking her not to whine when she asked a question didn't do any good, because she seemed to not understand the term. We talked it through with her, and decided that a better terminology would help. Now we ask her to ask again without using a "sad voice," and that's been working very well. She understands immediately what we mean, and switches to her "normal" voice.

I love Lisa Erickson's idea. I'm definitely going to combine "sad voice" with her technique of having her "get rid of it."

2
9 30

For younger children, like my nearly 18-month-old, when it is usually whining to request something, I say, "Use your words." and don't honor the request until she does so. For older children, such as the Autistic children I teach, when it can be used for complaining, anger, requesting, etc., I. similarly, say, "Use your words." and don't acknowledge what they are saying/discuss it until words are used in a normal voice tone. In both cases, after while, if the child becomes frustrated and/or escalated, I then teach the correct way of saying what they are trying to say, without the whining. Once they listen to my teaching and practice it on their own, I will honor/discuss. :)

2
352 2

That used to work... then she turned 3...

0 3

This summer I've been giving my girls (7 & 4) six silly bands each morning to wear. Each time one of them whines, the offender has to give me one of her bands. At bedtime, the number of silly bands they have left is the number of books we read with them. It has worked like a charm!

1
0 0

Shelley, you are a frickin' genius! Thanks so much for this absolutely brilliant idea.

0 1

I just want to say how much I appreciate these practical suggestions. I taught public school for years and used a similar 'behavior sheet,' but this one is better. Thank you!

1
27 4

I have worked in daycare for 12 years and elem for 9 years. I always tell them to use the big boy/girl voice. When you talk like a big boy/girl I will listen to your words. Please repeat them again. I this one more time then walk away. I use this method on my son and it has worked for me. Good luck

1
10 2

I have an anxiety disorder and whining tends to set off an anxiety attack. I have always told my children, "I can't hear whining." "Use your words," has always worked well. For children with limited communication ability we learned very basic sign language. This can be learned as early as one year. The inability to communicate wants and needs is frustrating for both of us.

As my children got older and the whining became attitude I would tell them to go outside and come back in but they had to "check the attitude at the door." Once they realized I would not let them back in the house until they "checked the attitude" they began to understand that their behavior was their choice. Communication became much easier then.

1
34 20

Do not listen to whining and tell the child they are whining and you will listen when they use a normal voice. After a bit they will learn what whining is and will stop. You can use praise and cheerulness when they use the normal voice and frown and remind them when whining to please use their normal voice.

1
0 2

Whining drives me up the wall. I just tell my daughter to talk normally and to stop whining, and she does because I never give her what she wants when she whines. Sometimes she reverts to the baby-voice thing too and I react in the same way. It drives me nuts.

1,951 0

I ask for a better voice. When they are very young I will script and model what it should sound like, and eventually I just need to say "use a better voice please."

0
1 0

I tell them I don't speak whinese and they need to speak English.

0
0 7

I just say it wont get you anywhere with me and if you need me speak properly.. to me and we can see if it allowed . then a decision is made and is final . if whining happens afterwards the privileges of park or treats are stooped ,first I warn .

0
0 0

I always told my children I couldn't understand what they were saying when they used that voice. They had t keep repeating it until there was no more whining. Eventually, they only used their normal voices. It was too hard to keep saying the same thing over and over.

0
0 6

tell my child I cannot here him when he uses his whiney voice and I do not give him any attention until he stops. period.

0
0 18

I just say...can I have some cheese with that whine. Works every time.

0
505 54

Ha, My husband just calls the boys "chardonnay" :D

0 0

If my 3 year old daughter is whining because she wants something, I will tell her: "Ask nicely" and proceed to prompt her if she forgets: "Mommy, can I please have...?" This teaches her manners and also gives her the words for asking for something she wants.

0
2 0

I remind our little one to use her words. Also, when she is whining she is incomprehensible. We explain that we cannot understand what she is saying when she is screaming or crying or talking like a baby. This helps her calm down a bit for her to communicate her feelings. If that doesn't work, she is sent to her room for cool down time. If this happens at a supermarket, we go to the bathroom or the vehicle to talk, that usually does the trick because she doesn't want to miss any fun.

0
505 54

One warning, I usually say, "I can't understand you when you talk that way." then I ignore the behavior. It is the most effective way for me. I believe negative attention is still attention. Feeding into the behavior with games, and names and fun only reinforces interaction. My husband however will call the boys, "chardonnay" in reference to "whine with cheese" I however ave no tolerance for whining, it stops quickly, because no one is listening.

0
0 6

We have a notice on his bedroom door, about proper ways to express himself. So when the whining, or temper tantrum starts, I send him to his room until he can express himself in a way that is acceptable and meets the house rules. I also remind him this is not a punishment, but a way we can both communicate together, in an effective way. Thus this is used when teasing too much happens. And he is allowed to let me know when I am not communicating clearly with him. Usually when I am irritated with the world.

0
0 14

I always compliment my child with the good behavior and express my thanks of not whining. She still whines from time to time but it has been less. Hopefully will be a "whine free home soon" !

0
2 9

Our son is 3 yrs, 2 months old and we have not had much of a problem with whining really. We have been very firm with it from the start, when he would whine for no good reason, we would put him to bed. He would cry it out for 5 or 10 minutes, and then we would hear him happily babbling over the monitor, and go get him and ask "Are you ready to come back downstairs now and play and have fun?"

I guess because we've always done this, now all we need to do is ask him "Do you need to go to bed?" when he starts to whine, he says "No" and stops whining. I'm not saying it will be this easy with every single kid out there, they are all different, but it has worked great for us.

Of course this is not the case if there is something wrong, like when he is whining because he is sick and doesn't feel well... Then it is curl-up-with-mommy-and-snuggle-and-watch-cartoons-time : ) But whining for no reason, or throwing tantrums... "Hissy's have to go to bed and rest". I see other toddlers throwing tantrums that last a half hour or more! My son has never done this, and we feel very fortunate in that!

0
6 10

i tell my grandkids grandma dont like whining and if they dont stop its time out now if they are just tired i put on a movie for them and they usually go to sleep i didnt allow my kids to whiners and i dont allow my grandkids

0
87 13

I just simply tell her, "Ask nicely," when she wants something...then she changes her tone of voice and says please...if she says 'pleeeaaase,' then I say, "No, how do you ask nicely?" then she will try again and usually change her tone. I don't give in to whining and if she wants something then she will ask in a normal tone, with manners. If she is whining about something that she is not asking for, then I get to the bottom of what she needs or is trying to tell me, and I either fix it or distract her. Sometimes I do get a little frustrated, but if there's nothing I can do, I just walk away and start doing something else and she realizes I am not listening to her any more and she usually finds something else to do.

0
1 20

I told my kids I could not speak that language and that I could not help them until they spoke a language I could understand. Very quickly they understood I would not cater to whining and let it go. They are now, 10, 11 and 14 and just recently tried to start again and I just reminded them I no habla whining and they got the message. Good luck with whatever works for you. :0)

0
1 7

I tell my daughter that I cannot understand what she is telling me. To talk to me in a way that I can understand. If she continues, I ignore it. I found the more I payed attention to the whining, the more she did it. As soon as she realized that I was not paying attention to her when she was whining, she would stop, calm down and tell me what she wanted.

0
0 11

I have a five year old son, and when he starts to get whiney I pretend that I can't understand what he's saying. A simple "Hmm? What? I can't understand you when you whine" has always worked for me.

0
0 0

I tell my three year old that he needs to speak English I do not inderstand that language and if he needs HELP or wants something he need to tell me! reminding him that no one wants to be with a SISSY LAW LAW.. talking to him on his level asking what I can do to help! he responds better than crying or whining! lucky haing older cousin helps he wants to be a big boy!

0
0 3

I ignore them if the demand is unreasonable but I am still monitoring their behaviour without them realising it. It works.

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