How To Stop Your Child’s Whining Without Yelling

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I’d say that one of the most frustrating things in parenting, is dealing with a child that is whining:

“I don’t want to go!”
“That’s mine!”
“You can’t make me!”

Or just the horrific sounds that can come out of a child’s mouth when they are whining.  They don’t even need to be saying any words.  And then we respond with expert parenting techniques:

“Please talk in a big boy voice.”
“I can’t hear you when you are whining.”
“Use your words.”
or the amazing:  “Stop Whining.”

Maybe you have experienced that none of these seem to work?  So in this video we will learn why children whine and what you can do to stop it. We want to stop our young children or toddlers from whining.  In order to do that I think it’s important we first understand why children whine.  There could be quite a few reasons, but here are a couple of really common ones:

#1 They are expressing their emotions.  A toddler hasn’t figured out how to properly express themselves yet.  Heck, tons of adults still don’t know how to express themselves. So your child may be mad or sad and this is how they are showing it.

#2 They need connection.  Again it’s a feeling, but they want some one on one time with you.  They may crave affection.  They want to feel connected to you and they simply don’t at that moment.

#3 They need your help.  Your child could be overwhelmed with the situation and doesn’t know how to solve it.  When you are young, everything is new and they may be faced with something challenging.  They could be whining because they want your help.

#4 It works.  They whine, and they get the attention.  It may not be positive attention because you are getting upset, but negative attention is still attention.  Check out our video on the types of attention for more about this topic. With understanding that children actually have reasons why they are whining, you can then begin to take steps to stop their whining.  So let’s get into what you can do:

#1 – Take a pause – The whining happens.  You hear it and instead of responding right away, take a few second pause. Breathe and recognize what you are about to deal with.  

#2 – Don’t take it personally – Your 2 year old toddler isn’t trying to ruin your life.  It may feel like it, but remember they may simply just need something and they don’t know how to tell you.

#3 – Hear them – When your child whines “I don’t want to go” it translates to “I’m really having fun and I don’t want to stop having fun.” So listen to what they are saying.  While you might not like how they are saying it, but they are trying to tell you something.

#4 – Have empathy – In the example of the child not wanting to leave, you may say “It sounds like you really don’t want to leave.  I understand.  I know it’s hard to leave when you are having fun.”

#5 – Connect with them – After you have told them you understand, show them.  Hold their hand, pick them them up if they are still young, give them a hug.  Do something to connect with them.

If they are still whining, you have two options:

1) You can repeat the empathy and try to connect again.

2) If that is not working, ignore the behavior.  Do not let it bother you.  Don’t get mad or upset, just continue calmly.

#6 – Give them choices – Nobody likes to be told what to do.  Instead of telling them, offer your child two choices in which both are acceptable.  “Do you want to walk to the car by yourself or do you want me to carry you?”

#7 – Positive reinforcement – We are quick to respond to negative behavior which  is not good.  We need to reinforce the good behavior rather than just expecting it.  When your child does something without whining, be sure to make a big deal about it.  “Thank you so much for coming over to me when i asked you.”  or “When we were at the park and I told you it was time to leave, you were so helpful when you listened.”

#8 – Be Patient – The whining can be stopped, but it doesn’t happen overnight…especially if you have unknowingly conditioned your child to whine.  Nearly all toddlers go through some level of a whining phase.  They key is working through these tips so it doesn’t continue as they get older.

I’d love to hear from you.  What situations are you in with your child where you just can’t get them to stop whining?  Leave your feedback in the comments below.


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