What are some tips to stop my 5 year old from whining so much?

Amy - posted on 06/21/2011 ( 202 moms have responded )

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In the last 2-3 months, my 5 1/2 year old has begun whining frequently. I am a single mom and I can't take it anymore. I'm ready to send him to my folks for a break. Any suggestions?!

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Pam - posted on 06/21/2011

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I have worked with special needs kids, in daycares, and have 3 kids of my own and 16 nieces and nephews. The best way I have found, and it is tough to do, is to simply ignore everything they say in a whiny voice. Tell them every so often that you cant hear whining kids and turn your back and walk away. Eventually, they get the point, and when they do, praise the "big boy or girl".

Jodi - posted on 06/21/2011

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I think they all whine at this age, its a stage they go through. Just ignore him when he whines. Make it very clear that if he whines you will not listen, and you will only hear him when he asks/talks without whining. He'll get the message.

Sherri - posted on 06/21/2011

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Completely ignore it and simply tell him when he can talk to you in his normal voice, you will speak to him until then you walk away.

Sally - posted on 06/27/2011

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I have a 7 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. They will all whine at some point, but a friend once told me that she made it a hard and fast rule that if you whine or throw a tantrum you get nothing. It works like a charm on mine, the minute it starts I say to them, "What do we get when we whine?" They will stop and say "Nothing!" or the other one will do it for them. As long as you stick to it and insist they use their normal voice they will usually stop. All they really want is attention, and if they know they won't get it until they adjust they usually adjust. But you can still send them to Grandma's for a break! :-)

Jodi - posted on 06/26/2011

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"spank him"

Are you kidding me? Spank him for whining is your first instinct? The punishment should fit the crime and I hardly think whining is even close to a spankable offence. That makes me sick :\

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Martha - posted on 07/05/2011

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Courage and patience are always at the forefront. Single parenting is a challenge but a doable thing. I salute you. As for whining .... it may well be child's way of wanting attention. May not be anything from 'right in the moment' but unfulfilled or not understood needs. It takes but a moment to stop, speak and ask child to use another tone of voice to ask/tell you his/her thoughts. You decide how to carry that request out. You remain in power yet feed both of you that much needed love and understanding.
With time and your consistency, your child will learn to speak in a way that engages not enrages you. If you struggle getting to this .... then give yourelf a time out; I use an egg timer! If I am seriously too tired to pull myself together in 5 minutes then I know I cannot interact with my kid as a parent. I have two play phones and I some times use this to help myself get to the place of "present and accountable' by just play talking till the real conversation starts. A life line ...your child @ 5 1/2 should still be able to play along .... you hear a lot of interesting things! You learn a lot about both of you. Blessings.

Lisa - posted on 07/05/2011

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You may need a break, and if you need a night off, don't feel bad! We all need a break sometimes.
However, the absolute best way to deal with it is to NEVER give in when he whines. Tell him you can't hear him with he whines and ask him to try again. At first you may need to tell him the correct words and the correct tone of voice to use. Once he talks politely, then discuss what he wants. Now, when my 2-year-old whines, I can just tell him I can't hear him, he takes a breath and starts over. Whining makes me absolutey batty!!!!

Jodi - posted on 07/05/2011

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"Read IT'S NOT FAIR JEREMY SPENCER'S PARENTS LET HIM STAY OUT ALL NIGHT By Anthony Wolf "

LOL, I haven't heard of that one, but I'm betting it ends with "But I'm not Jeremy Spencer's parents!!" I sound like my mother when I use that one, LMAO!!

Caroline - posted on 07/05/2011

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My 5 year old also whines so I know exactly how you feel. He is due to leave nursery and start 'big' school in September so that is interesting! I ask him how old he is and why he is behaving like a 2 year old but I guess I'm giving him the attention he wants. Thanks for the advice, I will try completely ignoring whiney behaviour.

Julie - posted on 07/05/2011

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i would also suggest ignoring the whinning but sometimes they are actually trying to ask or tell you something you can't ignor. I have found something that works well with my 5 year old, when he asks me something in a whinny voice i reply in the same voice and tone, not sarcasticly or mean just in the same way it was said. it shows the child how silly they sound and you'll find the next words out of there mouth won't be in a whinny voice. it's the same with baby talk too. worth a try? it's working for me.

Millicent - posted on 07/04/2011

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Mimic the behaviour by whining about something which he can help with or find something the interest him and engage him in a conversation about it.

Sonia - posted on 07/04/2011

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Being a 'mother' is synonymous for patience. Be patient.....Be happy and the child will be like you!

Anissa - posted on 07/04/2011

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I made a game of it, it made light of it for the both of us. When she would whine, I told her that I would have to hug her and kiss her until she felt better. Only time made the whining go away, the game only made her laugh for a moment, annoyed her, and she went back to whining.

Pauline - posted on 07/04/2011

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have you asked him why he is winnging give him big cuddles he is upset about somthing

Melissa - posted on 07/04/2011

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No problem! I have found, over the years, that there are many psychological reasons for the things children do and you can psychoanalyze things all day long, but, in the end, often, love and simple common sense are the best cures. *** Not to say that I have NEVER needed any help! I've been through my fair share of docs and moms to learn the tough stuff! :)

Melissa - posted on 07/04/2011

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When my children began whining (I have 4 of them), I simply said, "I don't understand that." And then, if they didn't know WHY I didn't understand it, I told them, "I don't speak 'whine', but I DO speak English, so if you said it like this (give them appropriate example), then I might have understood." After a while, all I had to say was (with a confused look), "Excuse me? I don't speak 'whine'." and they grew tired such silliness and corrected themselves. It's much better than arguing - and yes, it works with VERY stubborn 5 year olds.

Pamela - posted on 07/04/2011

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From a simple behavioral standpoint, what should do to decrease your child's negative behavior is to first of all establish what is the antecedent (what happens right before) and what happens right after (the consequence of this behavior) in ordercto you to change this. Try by telling your son in a calm, but strict tone, "No whining." Praise him and give him something desirable, like your undivided attention as soon as he stops whining. after a while, ignore the whining behavior altogether and just positively praise non-whining behavior. good luck.

Makeda - posted on 07/04/2011

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This is a phase and it will pass. Do however not feel guilty about needing a break from the "kidzone" especially as a single mother. If you have parents that can offer you some respite, take it. You will feel much better and I am certain the hands of love that come from your parents will benefit all parties concerned. Keep up the good work.

Dawny - posted on 07/04/2011

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My 1st thought is: there must be something that has changed either in his life or yours. (work schedule, kindergarten, etc. Someone or something has given him reason to feel insecure; whining screams "I need more attention than I'm getting." Put yourself in his shoes, he depends on you for everything...be patient, count to 10 or whatever works, as many times as needed. I speak from experience (raising 5 sons). No mother is perfect, but you can set daily goals for yourself and your son; talk to him, be sure to listen!

Lucille - posted on 07/04/2011

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time out for the both of you can help, maybe mom can help you out for a day or two

Gillian - posted on 07/04/2011

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Read IT'S NOT FAIR JEREMY SPENCER'S PARENTS LET HIM STAY OUT ALL NIGHT By Anthony Wolf

Deanna - posted on 07/04/2011

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We convinced my son that we really couldn't understand him when he was whining, as if he was just making noise when he whined. After a few times of telling him that, we would ignore him when he did it. He was convinced. He would realize it and then talk to us in a normal tone. It may sound silly to some, but each child is different and that worked for us. (Plus, it was somewhat entertaining for us on the inside at times; we all need to be able to laugh on the inside at times to get through frustrating times! Best of luck!

Judi - posted on 07/04/2011

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I have to agree with the last 3 ladies. I would tell him in no uncertain terms that you do not listen to whining, you will only listen to a normal speaking voice, and then do just that, do not listen to him whine! You will have to completely ignore everything he says until he stops whining. I have two kids, and they were pretty stubborn, but after a couple days of ignoring them when they whine, they stopped doing it.

Billie - posted on 07/04/2011

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I have a 9 year old and a 4 1/2 year old. When they whine when they talk to me, I simply tell them that I don't appreciate them talking to me like that and when they were ready to talk like a big boy or girl, then I would be ready to listen. Now when they whine because they're mad, that's a different story... I have yet to conquer that... other than telling them that I don't understand them when they talk like babies... :o/

Sarina Amira - posted on 07/04/2011

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Wow! I'm glad Holly isn't my Mother. If you don't understand kids and realize they cry and whine for a reason, you shouldn't have kids.

Mary - posted on 07/04/2011

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It's just a stage he is going through. It will pass, he may just need some possitive attention from you.

Dawn - posted on 07/04/2011

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I think there is nothing wrong with a break for both of you. A break might renew his love for home, they sometimes forget how good they have it, ya know? And it would do the same for you.

Heidi - posted on 07/04/2011

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there is nothing wrong with spanking a kid who won't listen or mind; and this is the reason whiny kids grow up to be whiny adults. she didn't say beat him = there IS a difference.

Jane - posted on 07/04/2011

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Kids whine, and people whine in the workplace. This behaviour should just be extinguished through planned ignoring.

Holly - posted on 07/04/2011

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Ignoring the whining is great. Say your ears can't here whining.
My Grandma used to tell me to throw the bad me out so I could be the good me. I would do that and get a whole new start being good all the bad was in the garbage. This works great with my 5 and 8 year old they smile and crumple the whinner and toss them right in the trash.
One on one is a good one as well. My daughter who is 5 loves puzzles as do I so we do them when she needs extra mom time. :) all you ladies have great ideas I'll have to visit this site more often :)

Milla - posted on 07/04/2011

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when i had littles my kids would drive me completly nuts too, so to stop it i gave them 15 minutes of my time just for them first thing in the morning, cuddle them and laugh with them and generally just chat to them about what they did in there day yesterday, it worked a treat, no more whining kids ever....plus side, it made our bond togeather tighter...i personally recommend it!- milla

Melanie - posted on 07/04/2011

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Yes, I agree with the above comments about ignoring the whining, in the first instance. However, it is also important to look at the cause of it. Do you have other children? At some point your kids will go through the stage of thinking they have been left out. Maybe it's time to spend a bit of extra time with this one: watch a movie TOGETHER, go out for a 'coffee' with just the 2 of you, read his favourite book, even paint each others nails! (my 5 year old enjoys that!) ... That way you will build up your relationship again.

[deleted account]

My 5 year old whines a lot also. It drives me batty! To keep from losing my cool with him, I resort to humor. I tell him I don't speak "Whinese" and if he wants me to understand him, he has to speak my language. That makes him giggle, and then he uses a normal tone of voice. He's my 3rd kiddo, so I've been through this twice before and can say that fortunately, it is just a phase - although one that seems to last forever when they're going through it.

Connie - posted on 07/04/2011

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My opinion is that he wants some attention and might be alittle bored. Get him outside to a park and play ball with him or have some of his or her little friends over for an hour playtime.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/04/2011

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Five and a half! What a big boy! Whining just didn't work in our house because it hurt Mommy's ears so much, she couldn't hear what her Sweet Pea was asking for! LOL. Very simply Mom can make clear that as soon as her Little Man asked in his REAL voice what he REALLY wanted and remembered to use his GOOD manners with a sincere, "PLEASE", we would discuss his needs and come to an understanding. If that didn't work, this Mom would clarify that whining would not help and if it continued, a time out was coming. One-Two-Three Magic gave him a chance to find another way to talk to Mommy. If he was successful, I would stop what I was doing and comply, within reason of course. If not, time out it was until he found a better way to ask. My guy is almost 11 now, and the manners have stuck, as well as his communication, negotiation and deferred gratification skills! Mom's the Boss. Don't get so frazzled that you get to the point of being the Mean Mommy. And sometimes a sleepover at Grandma's is a perfect idea.

Vicky - posted on 07/04/2011

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I would record them, over a few days, let him listen. So some options here would be, recording people speaking, then make some comparisons. Let him practice saying the same thing in a clearer voice. Maybe he's copying you - only magnified twenty times. Mostly spend some time with him, resolve it and move forward.

Vicki - posted on 07/04/2011

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have u tried to go down yr kids level and ask in simple words i.e tell mummy what's wrong ! what's made u upset ! i know it's trying times where sometimes it's so overwhelming for u , when yr child has her /his temper tanti or wingy mood & u can't take it make sure the child is in an safe environment where they can't injure themselves then remove yr self from the area of where yr child is so the can't c u but u can c them and take a few slow breaths and remind yr self yr a wonderful mother with a whole lot of love in her heart and u can pull thru anything yr little 1 dishes out . when c u c that yr child is calm approach them with arm out sitting on the floor and say to them i love u very much sweety plz tell mummy what is that is upsetting u . i hope my suggestion was helpful as i have a 5yr old son with global developmentle delay & adhad & a 2 yr old who's @ that age where they want to explore his environment around him . if u feel that it's out of yr control then 1st step is asking yr parents for help & then if it's succesfull then it's good :) but if u feel u tried yr parents suggestions & u don't get no where then u need to seek 2nd opinion i.e doctor paedotrition or take yr kid down yr local early child hood center they can provide any information u & yr child may need :) hope my suggestions where helpful . good luck with everything :) regards vicki santoro ..

Tiffiny - posted on 07/04/2011

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My son went through a phase like that (and still does occasionally). Ignoring him wouldn't work - he just kept repeating the same thing over and over until I responded. So I ended up doing 1 of 2 things. One, I'd whine in response and he'd laugh and stop whining. Or if not, I'd say I couldn't hear his whining voice, only his happy voice. That usually worked. Good luck! It's a rough phase to endure.

Linda - posted on 07/04/2011

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I have a 4 year old grandson who is with me a lot. I have found as a rule, if he is whining, there's a reason. Usually he does not feel good, is tired or something is bothering him. Even at 4 they still have thoughts that bother them. I always sit down and talk to him to try and get to the bottom of it. I call it our special talks..he understands that he is supposed to tell me if something is wrong and usually does.

Linda - posted on 07/04/2011

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Stay calm, do not react. Try calmly stating " I cannot understand what you are trying to say when you talk like that". Ignore it. Respond when your child uses the correct tone. It will re-inforce the behavior you are looking for.

Alba - posted on 07/04/2011

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I used to think that being at home with my children meant that they should be happier children. They too started all the whining stuff that I hate. From much reading and research, I have learned that being around my kids is not the same as connecting with them. I also learned that children whine when they need to feel connected...so that is what I recommend. Some books that I would recommend is Playful Parenting and Simplicity Parenting.

Tracy - posted on 07/04/2011

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I didn't read any of the other replies yet. however, a break can be good but they always have to come back. Maybe you could send the little precious one to your parents to think it over. Or you can ask your mom and dad. I always find it comforting that I have inlaws and parents that raised kids already and I can go to them for advice. However, you can tell your child you don't understand whining. That they are 5 years old and need to use big boy/big girl words. Or you can say, you want some cheese with that whine? Stop him in his tracks and look him in the eye and make him make eye contact with you and say you don't undersatnd whining and tell him you will not be able to help him if he whines. It's frustrating. It's something we all have to work at. It's so much easier to throw our hands up and give a whiney kid over to someone else so we don't lose our ability to parent properly. But they have to come back. It's even harder when we are expecting and some of us are already tired out. Keep on keeping on. Then you can look back and see the postive but always learn from it too.

Michelle - posted on 07/04/2011

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Good day... When mine whined I whined right back on how unfair it was about what ever the problem was that started the whining. Whining ment we did not get to the event, however that did not mean they got out of what ever they may not want to. I called slave labour, drawers got cleaned, the toys were sorted, cleaned. You whine about not wanting to do or go, hey then there is work to be done. Whining does stop and way to mom house chores are done, you may not have got your outing but you didn't have to stress. At 51/2, it will not take him long to figure out that whining is boring. Good luck. P.S. I always used save labour to correct theirs and my attitudes. My young men are 30 & 28 and are very independent men. I dislike house chores so if I had to do them, no fun to be had.

Robin - posted on 07/04/2011

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are you spoiling the child? If so, you need to stop! Ask your folks for a break. That's a good idea, and maybe they have some different idea's that will help you in the future.

Lorraine - posted on 07/04/2011

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Hi Amy I give behaviour advice all the time - it is part of my job as a family support worker. I would suggest you try a few things together. Firstly try and spend at least 20 mins a day giving your child one to one attention where you both engage in an activity your child enjoys. Turn the Tv off and completely get engrossed talking positively throughout. Secondly use a star chart to reward good behaviour, ie when he speaks to you in a 'calm' voice, or helps you with something. Thirdly try not to respond in an agitated manner or give attention for the 'whining' ie don't say "stop whining" because by drawing his attention to the behaviour will encourage it to continue. Use a tone of voice that you want him to mimic back - calm and soft. If you use all 3 of these approaches consistently after a while your child should stop whining. It is an attention seeking behaviour but think of it more as your child 'needs' positive attention. If you continue to have problems I would recommend that you go to your local children's centre and register there because you can receive lots of support and guidance. It is difficult to give advice in this way it is better face to face because then you can look at things from all angles. Also they do parenting programmes that are really casual and fun, where you can do the course with other parents wanting advice on behaviour management. I hope that has been helpful to you. Best wishes. Lorraine

Serena - posted on 07/04/2011

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I wish I had tips - but my son (about the same age - min will be 6 in October) has been doing the same thing. It drives me up a wall. When he's totally out of control I have told him to go to his room to find a better face. I said I don't think the mean/crabby/etc. face is working - and to go find a happy one. He looked at me as though I had 3 heads, but when he came down he apologized and it has continued to work as of now. Good luck!

[deleted account]

biggest thing, don't give in! my kids are 4, 5 and 10....and they all like to whine!! I just tell them I don't speak that language, they have to speak in big girl voices or I can't understand them...then I walk away from them. Never give what they whine for or it will reinforce it, and they will be more whiny the next time. It is hard to listen to, but be strong girl, cause there is nothing worse than whiny teenagers....they turn into spoiled divas!! (i know...my cousins...it's pretty bad!)

Pam - posted on 07/04/2011

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I have found that whining is usually a way to convey a need going unmet....that a child is feeling insecure about something. May be something major, or something so minor that we will never know what it is. I have found that ignoring the whining can work in some children, time outs work with others, telling them you can't understand them when they speak in that voice...every child is different. Choose times when they are not whining and then give them lots of love, hugs, kisses and positive reinforcement...I like the way you just talked to me, etc. It's not easy, doesn't change quickly, but in time, with lots of patience, it does change. Good luck!!

Jessica - posted on 07/04/2011

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I have a almost eight year old with the same problem, we started a reward chart with allowance when he was five and contiune with it. He receives money when the chores are done but a certain price is placed on whinning and he has lost close to $500 in 3 years. It has helped but if you have other ideas I would be up for it.

Bourque - posted on 07/04/2011

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Have you ever received a lot of answers on this one. As many have said - state you don't hear whinny voices and they don't belong in your home. She tried it a couple of times, but we actually would just sit down and talk to her, in our voices ... we have an incredible conversationalist now. CONVERSE with YOUR KIDS.

Mona - posted on 07/04/2011

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Walk away. He will find a more effective way to communicate when he learns the whining will not work. When he is not whining, try to find out what he is upset about. He may be bored. Interesting, challenging things might stop the whining -- especially if you take it away when he starts to whine.

[deleted account]

First you must realize you are a parent so please take responsibility and take the good with the bad. Children at this age are easily molded and sometimes...by turning away from the situation you are only making matters worse. Whining is usually an act for attention...speak to the child, see if the whining is truly a situation or call for attention. Speaking of attention, occupy the child so there is less time for whining. Quality time, puzzles, reading, walks, parks, simple pleasures will help this problem. Sending the child away will not...

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