When kids get upset or want attention, they often whine. This high-pitched tone gets annoying quickly, and allowing it to slide means kids may adopt it to get your attention. Here are a few fast and easy tools to help stop the behavior.
Don’t Discipline or Negotiate
Disciplining a child for whining often backfires because negative attention is still attention, which is what your child wants. However, don’t negotiate with a child to stop whining. (“Okay, you can stay up 15 minutes later but no longer.”) If you do, you’ll be negotiating for hours.
One of the quickest ways to stop whining is refusing to respond. You can put a comedic twist on it with a phrase like, “Sorry, I don’t speak Whine-ese.” Explain that you won’t respond to whining. If he or she forgets, say “Please use your normal voice.”
Let Them Hear How It Sounds
Most kids, especially toddlers and preschoolers, don’t recognize when they’re whining. Tape-record their normal and whiny voices, and ask which is more pleasant/which they’d rather hear. It’s always fun to imitate their whining voices in front of them. They’ll laugh and get the point.
Define “Ask Nicely”
Some parents try to stop whining by saying, “Don’t whine; ask nicely.” The catch is that their children may not be completely sure what it means. Define it clearly, perhaps by suggesting they use a grown-up voice. Give your child words to use if angry, sad, or frustrated. Hopefully he or she will fall back on these rather than whining.