I’m sure that as a parent, you can relate to the sound of your child whining. It’s all-too-common, and it can be so hard to ignore. After all, their high-pitched voices seem to carry on forever! As parents, we all want our children to be well-mannered, respectful and obedient. But getting them to stop whining is no easy task.
Kids whine because they’re trying to get the attention they need, express their feelings in the only way they know, or maybe because they just don’t understand whatever is happening around them. Whatever the reason, it’s important to take the time and listen.
Here are 5 tips to get your kids to stop whining
Establish clear boundaries and expectations
Tell your child what behavior is acceptable, and let them know that whining is not tolerated. Explain why it is important to be respectful and give them examples of how this looks in practice. Create a set of rules and expectations together, so that they are an active part of the process. Make sure to give them positive reinforcement when they follow the rules, as this will help them to take ownership of the boundaries and stick with them. Involve them in coming up with creative solutions to any problems that arise, so that they feel empowered and understand why certain things are not allowed.
Identify the triggers
I have found that it’s important to identify what is triggering your child to whine in order to resolve the issue. Often times, a simple change in activity or environment can make a huge difference. Asking your child what they need or want and then providing it helps them feel heard and valued. Sometimes, a distraction or redirecting their focus can be just the thing to stop the whining.
Ignore the whining
I know it can be difficult to ignore whining, especially when you’re already exhausted and feeling overwhelmed. But try your best – it’s worth it in the long run! Show your child that whining won’t get them anywhere; instead, reward good behavior with your attention. Talk to them about why whining isn’t helpful and make sure to emphasize that you’re always there to listen when they talk calmly.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings
Let them know that you understand how they feel and empathize with them, but that whining isn’t acceptable. I like to take a moment to acknowledge my child’s feelings without rewarding the whining behavior and let them know that I’m open to having a conversation with them and hearing out their concerns, but that whining isn’t going to get us anywhere. When my child is feeling overwhelmed, I remind them that there are more productive ways of communicating their needs and that whining won’t get them the attention they may be looking for and will instead lead to negative consequences, like time-outs or not being able to participate in certain activities.
Model the behavior
Show them what it looks like to express emotions in a respectful way instead of whining. Modeling a better way to communicate can help your child learn that whining isn’t the right way to get what they want. Set an example of expressing yourself clearly and respectfully, and show your child that they can do the same. For example, if you are feeling frustrated with a situation, try expressing it in a calm, respectful way. Explain why you are frustrated and how you would like the situation to be different. Your child will learn that this is the right way to express feelings and needs. By modeling positive behavior, you will help your child learn the proper way to communicate in a respectful, mature manner.