Five Secrets to Stopping the Whining
“Mommmmmmmy, I don’t waaaaaaaant to put my shoes on! It’s not faiiiiiiiiirrrr!” As annoying as whining can be, your kid isn’t actually trying to annoy you. They’re just whining because they’re truly upset about something — and admit it, sometimes you give in just to make them stop (only, oops, that just trains them to try it again next time). Go beyond the “My ears can’t understand you when you talk like that!” tactic with these five ways to stop the whine before it starts.
Acknowledge the request.
If your child asks for something, let them know you’ve heard them before it escalates into whining, crying and/or a full-on temper tantrum. You may think pretending you didn’t hear your child ask for the 17th shiny toy that caught their eye on this particular trip to Target is your best course of action, but your kid is not likely to take the hint. Instead, lead with a little peace, love and understanding. “Wow, that glittery slime is cool!”
Try an answer other than “yes” or “no.”
Kids hate hearing “no.” But unfortunately, whether the question is whether your kid can impulse-buy that slime or have ice cream for breakfast, there will be a lot of times your answer won’t be “yes.” Try delayed gratification instead. “Wow, that glittery slime is cool! Should we add it to your birthday/holiday wish list?” or “Mmm, I love mint-chocolate-chip too! Let’s make a plan for when we’ll have some. After lunch or after dinner?”
Give your kid some choices.
If your kid asks if they haaaaaave to take a bath, tell them they can shower or take one in the morning instead. If your child is playing a game on the Q Wunder app and it’s almost time to leave for swim lessons, ask if they’d rather play for another three minutes before they get ready or get ready now and play for three minutes in the car. Kids are told what to do all day long, so giving them a little control over little things you don’t care about either way can reduce whining big time.
Set a schedule — without overscheduling.
When your child gets tired or hangry, guess what? They also get whiny. So stick to a regular schedule for meals, snacks and bedtime. In between, make sure you have plenty of unstructured chill time. Just like their parents, kids who have too much to do (whether that’s errand overload or karate, soccer and a play date all on one day) get stressed. And stressed kids whine.
Set aside special time.
Your child may be whining to get your attention because they aren’t getting enough time and connection with you otherwise. Intersperse your day with moments where you give your child a hug or high-five, tell each other a joke, whatever. And give your kid a longer dose of undivided attention every day, even if all you can manage is five or 15 minutes, where they set the agenda and you’re all in. Make a big deal about announcing that it’s special time, then put the phone away, get down on the floor with your kid, and enjoy some guaranteed whine-free time!
Help your child learn social and behavioral skills (and have fun while they’re at it) — download the Q Wunder app!