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“Moooommmm… I just waannnttt a coookkkkiieeee….”     Oh, yes, the whining voice.  My least favorite voice to hear.  The voice that seems to come around more when they are hungry, tired or not happy.

We all have whining kids at one point or another… and usually we handle it in the same way: “Please stop whining and talk like a big boy.”  

We have found that this does NOT work.

Put an end to whining

Mickey and I have had our fair share of whining voices between the four kids, but we have figured out a few tactics that make it stop and I wanted to share them with you:

1- Explain it. 
I can remember being young and hearing “Don’t whine” but not actually thinking about what it meant until I was an adult.  Now, when our kids whine, I say “This is what it sounds like when you use your whine voice “I just wwaaannnnttt a coookkkiiieee” and this is what it sounds like when you use a big boy voice “Mom, can I have a cookie, please?”
I remind them:  “I will always say NO to the whine, but I might say Yes to the big kid voice.”

2. Stop Listening. 
I simply say “I can’t hear whiney voices.”    If they still don’t understand, I will look at them and say “If you want me to listen, you need to use a regular voice.”  (again, you might want to explain what that means to your child)

3. Repeat Yourself. 
If they continue to whine, simply remind them “I can’t hear whiney voices”.  It may look like this:
Child: “Moooommmm… I just waannnttt a coookkkkiieeee….”
Mom: say nothing
Child: “Moooommmmy????   I’m huuunnngggrrryyyy….”
Mom: “I can’t hear whiney voices”
Child: “Mommmyyy??!!!   I waaannnnttt a coookiieee plllleeeeaasssee”
Mom: “I can’t hear whiney voices.  I need you to use a big kid voice.”
Child:  “Mom?  Can I please have a cookie?”
Mom:  “Of course!   Thanks for asking nicely that time.  Have a seat and I’ll bring on over.  Do you want a glass of milk?”

I have seen ALL of these things work first-hand, so you can trust me on them.  HOWEVER, consistency is key.  If your child does not get this message every time and is allowed to whine sometimes, it will not work.

I hope this helped.

For more ideas, you are welcome to sign up for my FREE e-mail course on spending one-on-one time with your child.

More posts you might like (click an image below):
calm chaos

unspoil my child

ps- Find this 35-page Catch-All Planner here.  It will help your family be organized so you can be less-stressed. 

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. what do you do if you have a special needs child with cerebral palsy and autism that has seizures and had a brain bleed at birth so doesn’t always remember or understand. my daughter is fine at school and shares so they say but when she gets home she has screaming yelling and hitting fit. her routine is the same every day even on days when there’s no skol. if we change even a bit it gets worse so we keep it the same except for days of doctors appointments. I don’t understand y she does this. I’ve talked to Therapist, doctors, other special needs moms but haven’t gotten any answers or help that works. if she can share and be polite at school but can’t share toy,things and be polite at home please help its starting to ruin and stress my family.

    1. Oh wow… that’s a hard one. Have you talked to her neurologist? Our son’s neurologist is AMAZING.

  2. I love all of your advise. My husband and I have 14 children. We fostered 4 teen boys and have adopted 4. I had 4 bio children that are all over the age of 20. We have the 4 adoptive ones still at home! My biggest issue with out little ones is the lack of patience. It never fails as soon as Im in the middle of an important project its mommy can I have a drink? Unfortunately it may take me more than a few minutes to get to a point I can accommodate. I have used the “ I can get you something to drink as soon as I can, but right now mommy has paint all over her hands or flour and eggs etc. I get asked what seems like once every second for a drink, snack or what ever! Usually by the 5th time Im getting frustrated because Im trying to finish up cooking pur meal or putting the last coat of paint on a time sensetive project. Since my littles aged 4 and 5 have no sense of time telling them just a minute just wasnt cutting it. So what I have found very helpful in these situations is that if Iam knee deep in flour, paint or what ever I try to gage about how long its going to be before I accommodate these little thirsty monsters. I either ask Alexa to set a timer for the eatimated time or I set my stove timer. I tell them “mommy is in the middle of——— but as soon as the timer goes off I can get you a glass of juice,or milk. Another thing we have done is saved milk containers and filled them with just enough milk or juice that they can easily poor themselves. They always have easy access to drinking cups and if their isnt any juice or milk left that they are able to poor themselves then they always have the option of drinking water out of the tap. (Never their choice of drinks) but as for the whinning in our house we know that someone is in desperate need of a nap at that point and so we say “ Its sounds like you may need to rest because I hear your tired voice.” This is usually flowed by a “no Im not tired” then we respond by saying then I need to hear your big kid voice. If they whinning still doesnt stop or ends up into a full blown fit throw then it is a rule in our house that this needs to be done in their rooms and as soon as they are calm and can use their big kid voice they can come out. Most of the time this occurs around nap time and with in a few minutes they either calm down and come out and talk about it or they fall asleep.

  3. I will definitely give this a try as the constant whining is a big challenge at the moment, thanks for the suggestions. What I would like to know is how to deal with the situation when the answer is “no, you can’t have a cookie because it will be supper time soon”. But the whining continues.

    1. I just ignore the whining and remind them that whining will never be the way to get what they want. Eventually, with consistency, it sticks. I’ve even told them that when they whine, I can’t understand them at all – I act like they are literally not speaking my language.
      PS- be sure that they understand what ‘whining’ means by demonstrating what it sounds like compared to when they ask in a polite way.

  4. What about full on fit throwing he doesn’t whine it’s a throw himself on the floor and scream and kick. He has never done this but he is going to turn 4 and just started.