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MoonDragon's Parenting Information
By Fiona Lohrenz


We all know how draining and irritating a whining child can be, especially in a day care environment where a chorus of multiple whiners can seriously challenge your sanity. A full blown, short lived tantrum is way preferable to the constant, ongoing, nerve grating torture that is a whiny child. Fear not, it is possible to deal with the offending whinester and restore some semblance of peace and tranquillity.

Many whining scenarios are precipitated by simple factors such as hunger, tiredness, boredom and feeling unwell. Attempting to identify if any of these are the triggers can help minimize the whinefest. However, sometimes whining has simply become a way of communicating for some children and, if not dealt with can continue for many years as a very unattractive trait. Though there is no sure fire way of curing whining there are methods you can use to help prevent outbreaks.


Attracting adult attention can often be the reason a child whines usually as a last resort. The whine is the final result of their escalating attempts to gain recognition. Adults, we have the power to acknowledge the little ones. You can often preempt the annoying behavior by simply listening to what kids are trying to say. Get down to their level and find out what's going on. Sometimes a little face time, perhaps doing some quiet activity is all it takes. Peaceful times can often be achieved via a little constructive attention.

Children need to learn the difference between various tones of voice and discovering how whining sounds is no different. Explain to the child that a whiny voice is not pleasant, that people don't like it and they stop listening. Help them to understand the negative effect of that sound by involving them in role play or tape recording the whiny voice versus the normal voice. Listening to themselves as a third party can be effective in helping them understand why whining is bad. Remember to praise the use of a normal voice when appropriate.

A child will whine when she is unable to express herself. Instead of reprimanding a child in these instances try to help her verbalize her feelings or needs. Help her with the verbage so she is encouraged to tell you what is wrong. The child will have less reason to whine when she has the opportunity to discuss her feelings and needs. The realization that talking about her issues is more productive than whining will result from your positive attention.


Distraction is a great tool when a child is whining. The whines can be silenced by completely switching the subject and animatedly indicating something fun. 'Did you see that squirrel out there?' A bored child is a whiney child so recognize the signs of a kid on the road to boredom city. Anticipate tedium and introduce a fun and absorbing activity. The whining option won't be considered when a child is busy.

A child seeking recognition recognizes any attention as a success so don't do negative attention. Avoid yelling. Never label a child a whiner - this is not a standard or expectation you want to set for them. Finally, remain calm and NEVER give in to whining. Though you may be gnashing your teeth stick to your guns. Giving in after 20 minutes of incessant whining sends a message to the child that persisting with this behavior pays off. The child will learn that you respond positively only to a normal voice. It's tough but stay the course and you could have a positively serene environment.

Owning and operating a day care for 10 years provides Fiona Lohrenz with lots of experience and material for her child care articles. Not to mention her childcare website and DVD guide to Starting a Child Care business at

This article was submitted by Fiona Lohrenz for electronic reproduction on June 1, 2008. Thank you Fiona for your contribution.


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