Whether your child whines every time you say no, or whines about eating dinner, going along on a shopping trip or cleaning up their room, whining is very tough to listen to. But why do children whine so much and what can be done to reduce or even stop whining completely?

Why do children whine?

Children don’t always whine to intentionally irritate us. Instead, they whine because they recognize that whining can often be effective. It’s a good way to annoy adults into submission. Additionally, they haven’t learned a better, more productive way to get attention or have their needs met.

Without proper intervention, though, whining can get worse. That’s why it’s so important to curb it as soon as possible. 

Tips to help stop your child’s whining

  • Identify the whining

Often, children may not even realize that they’re whining. So, it’s crucial to call your child’s attention to the behaviour. But take care not to make fun of them. The point is to show your child what they sound like, not to mock their feelings.

  • Reconnect

Ignoring whining is not always an effective way to stop it. But refocusing your child’s attention and reconnecting with them can be successful. Sitting down for a snack and asking them about their day or giving them a quick cuddle can be highly effective in redirecting their attention to positive behaviour. 

  • Teach them better ways 

Unfortunately, if you don’t help your child change their communication approach, the whining may get worse. So, find innovative ways to help them calmly communicate their feelings, ask nicely for things they want, and to voice disappointments in a controlled and calm way.  

  • Don’t give in

Listening to a child whine can be incredibly frustrating. However, you must try to stay calm. Take deep breaths or leave the room if it will help you keep your cool. But whatever you do, don’t give in. It will only teach your child that whining is the best way to get what they want.

Remember that children may whine because they need your help

Keep in mind that sometimes, children whine because they are stressed, hungry, thirsty, tired, or overwhelmed. It is important to realise the difference between whining because they’re not getting their way, and whining because they need your help. 

There is hope 

Whining can be very frustrating for the whole family. But the good news is that you can definitely influence this challenging behaviour. It’s also worth noting that whining typically becomes much less frequent as children get older. So, there is hope if you are struggling to get the whining under control in your child’s early years.