A child may whine because he or she:
Is tired of:
- Being awake
- An activity
- Sitting still
Needs attention from:
- Or other caregivers
- To be alone
- Of the dark
- Does not know how to get it
How To Respond
When your child whines, notice what is happening. When you know what is wrong, you can decide what to do.
If your child is tired:
- Comfort and put your child to bed
- Try an earlier bedtime
- Establish bedtime routines
If your child needs attention:
- Try to be aware and give attention before the whining begins.
- Talk, cuddle, and hug your child throughout the day.
- Reassure your child of your love and care.
Example: “I’ll read the book to you when I finish cleaning.”
If your child is afraid:
- Comfort your child with words and hugs.
- Reassure your child to combat fear.
If your child needs something:
- Show your child how to get it.
- Teach your child to use words.
Example: “Use your words to ask for a cookie.”
If whining has become a habit:
- Respond by saying, “Please say that without whining and use your real voice.”
Sometimes it is best just to ignore whining.