Parenting Tip: Ignore Whining

The Situation

sign saying "This is a no whining zone"Parents frequently ask, “How can I get my child to stop whining?”

It feels like kids whine a lot about doing chores, wanting to go to their friend’s house NOW, not having certain clothing or toys,…

The list goes on and on.

The Tip

Today’s tip will help put an end to all that whining:

Teach children to use a regular voice by ignoring the whining.

I know, you are probably thinking it is easier said than done. But it will work if you stick with it.

Why Kids Whine

Often children’s whining is their way of letting you know about a need or a want. Unfortunately, it is a way of talking that can drive you nuts because kids don’t give up and because of the tone of voice is so annoying.

You know the one, that sing-songy way that sounds as if they are crying with words:

“But m…o…o…m, I need to go to Michele’s house now.”

Are you all cringing just thinking about it?

How this Tip Works

  • When your child first starts to whine, you can say, “I cannot hear you when you whine. You need to use a regular voice to tell me what you want.”

  • If your child continues to whine, repeat your request again, “I need you to use a regular voice.”

  • You can demonstrate what you mean. You can say, “A regular voice sounds like this…’Mom, can you take me to Michele’s house now?’”

  • Tell your child that it is hard for you to understand what he wants when he is whining.

  • If the whining persists, let your child know that you will listen when he is ready to speak in a normal voice. In this way, you are encouraging your child to stop and think before he speaks. You are also teaching him that you want him to speak to you in a less irritating way.

You can do all this while remaining calm but firm.

Closing Thoughts

When your child does use a regular voice, be sure to acknowledge and praise him. Let him know how much easier it is for you to hear his wishes when he speaks in a more pleasant way.

And remember that just because he does use a regular voice does not mean you have to give in to his requests; you can still hold firm to your expectations.

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