My child whines about everything, What now?

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Marli Naidoo


Every parent knows: s child’s constant whining can drive you up the wall. The main reason why children tend to whine is because it is such an effective method. However, it is not a deliberate strategy but rather an acquired habit. If he keeps whining long enough, you will give in and comply with his demands.

There are ways to help your child getting rid of this habit.

Show you are aware of your child when he wants to talk to you. If you are busy or talking over the phone, show that you are seeing him and that he has to wait. Do not ignore your child unnecessarily. He will then probably have to whine and moan to get your attention.

Make sure your child knows what you are expecting from him. He has to understand that he has to ask politely and then wait. And he is not allowed to whine and moan if the answer is not the one he wants to hear.

Occasionally, punishment is necessary. If he keeps whining you may send him to his room for a while. He is not going to get what he wants simply because he keeps whining. Your no should be your no, and you should not only threaten to punish him. Implement the punishment if he continues whining.

Children sometimes do not know how to communicate their frustrations and needs effectively, which may also result in whining. Ensure your child gets the stimulation he needs through exercise and other activities, and give him something to eat before he gets too hungry. Whining can often be avoided completely by being sensitive to your child’s needs.

See that your child gets enough sleep. A tired child also tends to be moaning and unhappy. Even if it means adapting your schedule, it will be beneficial for him to get all the sleep he requires.

Keep calm. Shouting at your child until he stops whining is not a solution. He will then be hesitant to communicate his needs to you.

Reduce the sweets. Sugar may be addictive for children, and once the sugar rush has worn off, he will start nagging you for more. Avoid too much juice, sweets and processed food.

When your child wants something but asks you in a whining voice you may explain to him how he should do it. Use the exact words and tone of voice he should use as an alternative.

Be flexible. Let him play for five minutes longer before you get into the car, or read the story once more before switching off the light. This will teach him how to argue and then to arrive at a compromise, which is more effective than whining and moaning.

Sometimes your child needs some extra time with you. Take time and do something with him. Bake a cake or play with a ball in the garden. Focus only on him, so that he knows he is important to you.

If you have tried all these methods and your child still tends to be whining, you may try ignoring him until he stops moaning and then asks in an acceptable way. Make sure your child is old enough and understands exactly why you are ignoring him.

Do not expect overnight success. Give him time to come to grips with the new methods. Do not give up, and be consistent. Remember the objective: helping your child to be the best he possibly can be. Every minute spent this way is time well spent.



Super nanny, 2017, “Win over the whiner – how to stop your child whining”,

Constance Matthiessen, 2012, “Why kids whine and how to stop them”, WebMD,

Debby Waldman, 2004, “How to stop your child’s whining”, Parents,


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