Whining is a low-key version of a tantrum. Your child may not be crying or misbehaving, but he can be extra clingy or say things repetitively – often in a high-pitched, grating voice. We all know how annoying and exhausting this can be!
Why can’t they stop whining?
In a nutshell, kids know whining is a surefire way to get your attention. Sometimes, they can’t articulate what they want or feel. Maybe they’re hungry, bored, or want a hug. Older kids may use whining to wear you down into saying yes. If you told them they can’t play with their tablet, they may whine so you finally let them play a game so they will leave you alone.
You’re at the supermarket, and your child starts whining for junk food or for you to carry him. If you look at the situation, the real cause of whining isn’t that he’s hungry or craving affection – he’s bored.
That’s why Elsa, a mom of three, always brings a “Whine Bag” whenever she takes her kids with her on errands. This is where she puts the Happy Meal toys, or tiny games or figures from party loot bags. “They’re small and easy to carry, and if my child loses them while we’re out, I don’t mind.” She also always carries snacks and water, because very often kids whine because they’re hungry or thirsty.
At home, rotate your toys and books so that you can pull out something “new” when he’s restless. (Actually, it’s not new – he just forgot he had it, or misses it because he hasn’t played with it for a while.)
Empathize with Your Child
Children can whine because they’re sick, uncomfortable, overstimulated or tired. Sometimes there’s nothing either of you can do about it – you’re stuck in line at the doctor’s clinic, or it’s a really hot day. In that case, just acknowledge your child’s feelings. “I know you’re tired and want to go home, but we have to see the doctor so you can get better. I’m sorry.” Allowing children to feel these emotions without being reprimanded gives them a sense of security, of love, and belongingness.
Offer a Hug of Comfort
Whining may stem from a child feeling agitated, anxious, or uncomfortable. First and foremost, offer a hug. Sometimes, that feeling of being close to a parent or caregiver is what a child needs to calm down. It can help them forget about what they are whining about. Ultimately, a loving hug is a great remedy for many afflictions, and a child’s whining is no exception.
Keep Your Cool
Your response to a child’s whining can either stop it or ignite it into a full-blown tantrum. Remember that keeping your cool is the key to keeping your little one’s cool. If you think you are about to lose it, do whatever you need to calm down and relax. Take deep breaths. Count to 10. Leave the room for some fresh air if you must. When done, go back and speak to him in a firm but neutral tone.
Commend Them for Not Whining
This is positive reinforcement: instead of always reacting when they do something wrong, praise them when they do something right. If they are able to get through a shopping trip or tell you what they want without whining, tell them that they did a good job. This will motivate them to behave the same way in future situations.
Be A Role Model
Children are very observant creatures and they always pay attention to the grown-up’s attitudes and reactions. Nothing ever goes unnoticed in the keen eyes of a child. They are always watching, and it pays to keep our own whining in check and be good role models.
About The Writer
Vix Parungao is a stay-and-work-at-home mum who hails from Bulacan. She loves spending time outdoors with her 10-year old little man, Jared. She is a voracious reader, a big Harry Potter fan, and enjoys any book written by Mitch Albom and Paulo Coelho. In her free time, she dabbles into yoga and meditation, as well as spends her time marveling at awesome calligraphy and journaling work on Instagram. She is into mobile photography, mostly taking photos of flowers, of her little man, and anything that catches her fancy. She also occupies her time trading postcards with people from different parts of the world. Between childminding and chores, she shares parenting tips, products for children, as well as her adventures and various interests, on her blog, www.mum-writes.com.