Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top 3 Ways to Handle Child Whining

My 3-year old daughter relies on her mom for her milk and bedtime stories, and on me if she wants to doodle on the internet. Typical with other preschoolers, she relies on grown-ups for almost everything - food, drink, toys, bath, etc. She has to get an adult's attention to obtain the things that she need, especially if she finds it difficult enough (like tracing her hand on a paper). And if she doesn’t get her needed help, she starts to whine.

A whine is the sound of a child who feels helpless and is repeatedly pitching her request in higher and higher tones to get someone to pay attention to her.

Still there are times that even though her needs have been met, she still feels whiny and cranky for no apparent reason. And so we usually end up spoiling to her demands. Sigh… makes me worry that she might grow up to be a whiner and never be anything less that miserable in her behavior.

Not if daddy can help (or her grandpa and grandma since she spends most of her daytime with them). With proper and consistent guidance, my daughter will (I’m positive about it) eventually grow out of her whining.

Show your kid what to do
Make sure your child knows exactly what you mean by whining. Explain how you would like her to ask for something without whining. Encourage the use of "please" or "may I". For example, when my daughter asks for milk, we teach her "Mom (or dad), may I please have some milk?" Let her practice requesting things pleasantly several times. She’s hesitant at first but eventually complied. And we make sure we satisfy her request, to prove our point that asking nicely gets results. If, however, your child isn't talking yet, show her how to suggest her needs by using actions or gestures.

Create a "whining place" if necessary
If your child's whining continues even after teaching her how to request nicely, just let her be and don’t get upset (and don’t raise your voice either… temper, temper). Tell her that she can whine as much as she wants, but that she must do it in the "whining place", an area designated for whining. Let her know that you'd rather not be around a whiner who can't tell you nicely what she wants. Say, "I'm sorry you're so upset. You can go to the whining chair or table (but not directly facing the wall) and come back later when you're feeling better."

Don’t give in (too easily, that is)
Be extra wary when your child’s whining goes into overdrive. Most parents give in but the last thing you would want your preschooler to learn is that whining in public is a sure way to get what she (or he) wants. Wherever you are or no matter who you are with, keep a cool head. Your kid is (subconsciously) testing your limits and if ever they figure that out, there goes a bratty kid in-the-making.


  1. Thanks for the tips. I've been looking for ways to handle my 2 yr old daughter's whining. :)

  2. You're welcome Mama Mia. Consistency helps in training our kids :-)

  3. I wrote an article a while back about Whiny Days. You might enjoy reading it. (I put the link in my name...)

    I have found that there are so many ways to avoid or deal with whining.

    I love the idea of creating a "whining place." I had never thought of that.

  4. Read your article Mom and I agree that most of the time, they just need that extra love and care.

  5. Pinoy pala si green tiger eh. Salamat sa iyong pag-pugay!