Featured in Pre-schoolers


Whining is not only annoying and frustrating to parents but it also hinders pre-schoolers from learning how to make reasonable and good arguments. When parents give in to the whining, children learn they can get what they want from whining and will continue to whine. What parents don’t often realize is that whining is just a symptom of an issue. In order to correctly eliminate whining, you first need to address the underlying issue.

Methods of Discipline

Typically when pre-schoolers whine they are feeling powerless. If we refuse to listen to them or scold them for whining, it increases their feelings of powerless. This can further increase the whining. Instead, there are other approaches to address whining that are much more effective.

1. Stay relaxed when you pre-schooler is whining and use a playful tone to respond to them. Ask them in a playful tone to use a strong voice. By using this method you are not discounting the child’s needs, but you are also not giving in to their whining. It also increases their sense of competence and confidence.

2. Try to give your child alternate tools of negotiating by teaching him or her how to properly ask for things. Let your child negotiate with you and teach them how to do it appropriately. Obviously there will be many things that are not negotiable, but for the small things, let them try. This method also teaches your child how to manage his or her emotions.

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3. Toddlers often have tantrums when they have pent-up emotions, but for pre-schoolers who have more self-control, they often begin to whine when they are overwhelmed with emotions. If your pre-schooler is having a particularly whiny day, spend a few minutes of quiet time with them. Cuddle with them and ask them what is going on.

4. Pre-schoolers may often whine because it gets them what they want. As a parent, don’t give in – if you do, you are rewarding their whiny behavior. Instead, respond with empathy and try to distract him or her with something else. Remember, if you respond once to the whining, the child will only whine more the next time he or she doesn’t get what he or she wants.

5. Pre-schoolers may whine as they learn parents will do anything to stop it. Instead, acknowledge how she is acting and pay attention to her needs. Take a deep breath, remind yourself this is not a crisis and relax. This stage will soon pass as long as you’ve taught your child alternate tools to manage his or her emotions.

Helping Your Child Cope

The next time your pre-schooler whines, instead of getting frustrated try to distract him or her. This method often works with toddlers who are having a temper tantrum and may just work with whining behavior. One trick may be to grab a “whine” cup (or bowl or bucket) the next time your child whines. Ask them to put their whine into the cup and to bring you their regular voice. This may bring a smile to their faces and it keeps the situation playful. When the child uses his or her “pleasant” voice, be sure to give praise.

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Another idea is to whisper to your pre-schooler when she is whining. Your child will have to quiet down to hear you and you may have to whisper what you are saying a few times but often the whining will stop pretty quickly.

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