Want to stop a whining child? It’s simple. Simply refuse to listen to whining. All you have to do is act like you can’t tell what the child is saying. Pretend you have no idea what language they are speaking but it can’t possibly be English. And then in all seriousness tell them that you can’t understand them.
“I can’t put on my jaaaaccket.” You can hear the tone there right? The whine at the end which means why aren’t you helping me with this?
Here’s what you say:
“I’m sorry, did you say something? I couldn’t understand you.”
“Ennnhh, I can’t dooo it. My jaaackket.” sleeve shaking everywhere, child making no real effort at putting on the jacket. Translated to seriously, you’re still not helping me do this?
“Sorry, I still didn’t understand what you said. All I hear is whining.” Then ask them: ”Can you say it like this: I can’t put on my jacket.” use a nice straight normal speaking voice. Nothing to sweet or out of the ordinary.
“My jaaccket. I can’t –”
“Hmmmm nope, sorry still can’t understand you. Try again. Just say ’I can’t put on my jacket’ using your regular voice.” If they don’t do it automatically, then simplify the request by telling them “Say this: I can’t put on my jacket.” If they begin with the whine interrupt them and repeat the non-whining way to say the sentence. “I can’t put on my jacket.”
Light bulbs go off. They’ll probably even stand there completely still, looking at you and say. “I can’t put on my jacket.”
Here’s your chance! Do your best acting, and no victory smiles allowed.
“OH! You can’t put your jacket on! Would you like me to help you?” They nod. ”Of course! Here, put this arm in first and then try the other. There! Look you did it.”
If you’ve got a child with a large account of Frequent Whiner Miles, you might spend a good deal of the day in this type of exchange. But, generally speaking whiners are also impatient and they will grow weary of this game. Before long will catch themselves whining and self-correct mid-sentence or quit whining all together. It’s always a good idea to mention that you noticed the change. Say something like “Good for you! You remembered not to whine. It’s so much easier to understand you!” Don’t forget the hugs. Love and Rules. Simple.
What age does this work for? Any child old enough to whine. I’ve used it on 3 year-olds (mine) and 8 year-olds (students – my own kids quit whining at age 3.)
(If you don’t want to try my method you could always buy a sign.)
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