Whole Parenting Family

5 Ways to Cut Down on Whining

whiningNot my little boy–whine? Never. (oh, yeah, she does too but a 2 year old has nothing on a 4 year old.)

Lies. Total lies. He’s almost 4 and has discovered whining a-new. It’s like the cloud burst open, the sun shone down, it’s baseball season, and whining is freshly on his palate. It’s killing me.

The tone. The looks. The crocodile tears. The insistence of it. The solemn assurance that this one instance is the worst in his life. ABSOLUTE WORST THING THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN to him. She touched his book?

I can’t take it. Besides the fact that it’s a terrible unappealing habit for a little boy, I’m wearing our newborn BabyLoves in the carrier and chasing down the big kids. It’s (duh) exhausting. Thusly, I’m sharing with you my tried & true {in the last month, so take & leave with those handfuls of salt} methods of cutting down on the whining.

1) Ignore.

When you can. Simply pretend you cannot understand the language of a whiner. I may actually hum to myself, bustling around the room, saying something like “gosh, I wish he wasn’t whining. I don’t understand him when he whines.” I might even lean over to his sister and say “can you understand him? I just can’t.” That really drive him insane. Maybe even insane enough to cut the tone down.

2) Immediate consequence without talk talk talking.

Remember what my great & wise friend Jamie {Behave Your Best} said about not talking your kid to death? I have a one word response (okay, two maybe three) when that whine comes out.

“Go sit on the steps.”

or if we’re upstairs . . .

“Go sit on your bed.”

That’s it. I don’t tell him Your whining is not for big boys; please stop before you kill me; why are you whining {Remember? Don’t ask questions you don’t know the answers to?}; let’s talk about what’s bothering you.

And a few minutes later, unless he had blown a gasket, he can come back. We don’t even talk about it necessarily. He just knows that a certain tone will earn him time away from us.

3) Whine along.

If I think it’s a very short-term thing he’s doing for attention more than anything else, I’ll over-exaggerate his whine and tune along with him. Just enough to crack a smile on his face and then redirect with a quick admonishment like That’s how silly it sounds when you do it.

4) Evil eye.

This one is particularly effective if it’s been a long day and I want to scream. Instead, I get down on his level, look him directly in the eye and give him the worst evil eye ever. And say in a quiet scary voice. Stop. That. Right. Now. Usually followed by “go sit on the steps.”

5) Physical touch.

SuperBoy’s all boy and all snuggly boy at that. Perhaps his day is off. Perhaps he needs a hug. Perhaps I’m being harsh today. Perhaps his sister is really driving him insane (and me too). I can pull him up into my lap, give him a snuggle and a tickle, and see if he just needs a little extra love.

When all else fails, I steady my nerves. Just steady them. Maybe a little handful of chocolate chips? Maybe a little urgent texting with my sister? It’s not worth smashing his little heart because he’s shredding mine. Harsh words we can’t take back? Yup, been there, parented that. But one of these techniques usually works. Sheewwweeee. Good luck, lovely readers!


  1. […] 5 Ways to Cut Down on Whining by Whole Parenting Family […]

  2. Jenna@CallHerHappy on June 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Ugh this is a necessary read for the mother of this 3yo.

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Oh lordy, don’t I know it!!!!