Whine Busters – 5 Tips to Stop that Whining!

whiney boy

  1. Call attention to it
    Your child knows what she wants, and she knows she doesn’t have it yet. What she may not know is that she’s whining. As her usually sweet voice turns into a wail, make sure she understands what she is doing. Try telling her that you can’t understand whining and even mimic the sound she is making. Not only will this help her understand, it may distract her to hear Mommy make such funny noises.
  2. Use encouragement and praise for proper behavior
    Not only is it important to let your child know that whining is inappropriate, it is important to reward him when he asks for something in a polite manner—and I don’t mean a reward of treats or stickers. Acknowledge his behavior and let him know that you appreciate and approve manner he used, even if your answer is “no.” For example, if he asks for a toy at the store, you could say, “Thank you so much for asking nicely. Mommy loves it when you ask that way. But we’re not here to buy toys today. Maybe another time.”
  3. Have a “whine zone”
    Just like you may have a designated “time-out” spot for tantrums and other inappropriate behavior, try a “whine zone”: a place where your child can whine and vent her frustrations without bothering you. This will make it easier for you to ignore the whining and will make it clear to her that her behavior is socially inappropriate. Make sure you send her to the “whine zone” calmly.
  4. Try to understand the reason
    According to pediatrician Laurel Schultz, M.D., whining is a learned behavior. If a parent is too busy to respond to a child’s request right away, the child gets more and more desperate and eventually begins to whine, as whining produces results. So, try to respond to your child’s first attempt for your attention. Again, even if your answer is “no,” make sure your child knows that you hear him and that you understand what he wants.

        Becky Bailey, PhD, says, “Often whining signals its time to reconnect with your child.” If whining is getting out of hand, ask yourself if perhaps you need to spend more time with your child. “A few minutes once or twice a day can make a huge difference for families dealing with difficult behavior.”

        Also, make sure your child isn’t just emulating your bad habits. Do you have a whining problem? And, of course, make sure your child isn’t whining due to illness or pain.

  5. Be consistent
    Common advice in childrearing is to “pick your battles.” That may be true, but whining is one battle you may have to fight several times. If you stick to your guns on Tuesday, but give in on Wednesday, you’re sending a mixed message. Your child will realize that if she pushes you hard enough, you will cave and the whining will not only continue, but possibly increase.

        If you say “no,” to something, don’t back down. Once the whining begins, don’t step back and say, “Okay, you can have this if you stop whining.” You may think you’re rewarding your child for not whining, but you’ve just demonstrated that whining will get her the result she wants.

No form of discipline is a one-size-fits-all. Try these suggestions and use them as a springboard to come up with some of your own!


What do you think?

Whine Busters – 5 Tips to Stop that Whining!

Tell us what you think!


  1. I keep my 3 year old granddaughter 4 afternoons a week. When she whines or has a “grumpy day” I sit down, at her level, LOWER my voice and tell her that I understand that she is having a hard time right now. I tell her I know she would like some quiet time in her special bedroom with all her friends (which are her stuffed animals) and when she feels better and wants to play nicely, I would love to play. Most times, she walks in her room and walks right back out with a smile. Once she went to her room and stayed for 30 minutes, singing and talking to “her friends”.

  2. LIZ says:

    good to know all this information tnx so much

  3. Lynette says:

    I really need to learn to use this strategy

  4. momof22010 says:

    This article caught my attention and I am really glad that I read it. I have twin granddaughters age 3 that I am raising and it is sometimes difficult when they both whine because they want the same thing and there is only one. I really like the idea of having a whine zone. We are moving into a new home at the end of the month and I am going to designate a zone for whining and time out. Very helpful article.

  5. Heatherly says:

    Most of mine have tried whining. My husband is the best at getting them to stop. I appreciate him for his help!

  6. KITTYNOLAND says:

    My thirteen month old whines quite a bit. Unfortunately, he is not old enough to discipline or even reason with. All I can do is distract him or meet his needs if they are food, bottle, diaper, or tired. At his age, they normally end up being one of the aforementioned.

  7. Marilyn says:

    My little brother whines a lot because he’s a brat.

  8. mommymormor says:

    My 3 year old whines all the time and nothing I’ve tried has worked! I’m going insane!

  9. Marie says:

    My daughter learned to whine watching the tv show Cailou. I spoke wwith another parent whom also stated their child picked up those habits as well. It’s a good show but not for my daughter, it’s one thing hearing it on tv but another when its everyday coming from your child, sounding and talking just like him. 🙂

  10. kelsey says:

    Caillou’s mother should read this : ). If any of you have seen that show, you will know what I’m talking about lol.

  11. Janice says:

    My youngest grandchild whines, and we are always trying to get her to talk and not whine.

  12. melissa says:

    I have a 6 year who is going on 7 in 10 days n he whines n crystal more than my 2 yr old

  13. Hipmom808 says:

    My two year has had a few tantrums where she grows herself on the floor, I found if I video tape her throwing a tantrum and then playing it back to her on my phone, she immediately stops. I explain to her how it’s not pretty and talk her calmly out of it.

  14. Sarah says:

    My 19 month old holds the crown for whining when he’s frustrated…I just ignore it until he’s done.

  15. chandra says:

    This is going to be a big help. My two year is a hard nut to crack.


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