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On Whining

What do I do with the whining? And is there anything more triggering? You already hear directions shouted at you all day long. Add in the high pitched, drawn out voice of a child on the edge of a tantrum and it’s enough to send us over the edge.


Maybe that’s part of it. Maybe whining is SO triggering because we know it’s one step before a tantrum.


Whatever it is, here are a few ways to “deal with” whining - spoiler alert, it’s not all about your child.


  1. My top tip is checking in with yourself. How triggering is whining for you? Why? How can you cope with it? Start taking a millisecond of a pause between the whine and your response. Add in a breath. Repeat a quick mantra. Work on yourself first.

  2. Acknowledge without discussion: kids want to be heard, but you can hear them without responding to the actual whining piece. “I hear you, but the whining makes it hard to understand you. Let me know when you’re ready to ask in a different way.”

  3. Give them the words AND tone if needed, to supplement the above. For younger kids, or kids who struggle some to verbally communicate, you may give them the exact phrase and tone, so they can simply copy it to be successful. There’s nothing wrong with giving it to them - just provides lots of extra practice. “I hear you, but the whining makes it hard to understand you. You can say Mama, I want more snack please!” (Eliminate all but the actual phrase for young learners or those struggling with communication)

  4. Make it silly - this totally depends on the kid, but some will definitely respond with a sneaky smile if you say “what’s that noise?? It’s so high pitched. Is that a dog whistle? Fido, can you hear that?!”

  5. Consider connection - yes, always. If whining has really peaked, consider how full or empty their cup might be. Be sure to give lots of attention for not whining and make sure you’re spending connected, engaged time to counteract.



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