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Categories > Children’s Health > Raising healthy kids

Shutting down the ‘whinery’

Kids who whine might seem spoiled, but they’re actually trying to let you know they’re hungry or tired or just seeing where you’ll draw the line. Follow these steps to keep the whine corked:

  • Don’t react. If whining begins, keep a straight face and calmly say, “I can’t understand you. Please use your nice voice.”
  • Glorify good. It’s easy to point out whining, but it’s more effective to praise nonwhining behavior and your child’s use of his or her “nice” voice.
  • Give it time. A child whose whining has been successful won’t immediately break the habit just because your response changes. Think weeks, not days.
  • Practice. Don’t let setbacks deter you. Demonstrate how to ask for things like toys or treats. And never imitate the whining—such putdowns are hurtful and will erode your progress.