Understand why.

Whining can be a sign of tiredness or hunger. It can also often be caused by boredom or frustration. If you can, stop what you’re doing and try and figure out the cause of the whining.

Change the activity.

When the whining starts, it may be that they need a distraction. Help them start a new activity that’s different to what they were doing. Try reading a story together if they’ve been jumping around. Or if they’ve been sitting for a while, do something energetic inside or outside.

Spot whining triggers.

Often there are triggers that regularly lead to whining. If you notice your child whines every time you make a phone call, or visit a certain friend, plan ahead and find something entertaining for them to do while you’re occupied. Think about what it feels like when you have to wait for something or someone - do you get a bit whiny too? Talk with the kids before you go visiting or get on the phone – ask them what they can do while you’re busy.

Replay their whining back to them.

If whining is becoming a habit, try replaying back to your child how unpleasant it sounds. Avoid doing it when you’re angry or in a way that shames them. Say something like “So which do you like - my whiny voice or my happy voice?

Try distraction.

If whining continues, try distracting your child by saying “Oh, look at that cat over there, or wow what a pretty flower, let’s see what it smells like.” 

Don't allow whining to build up.

When you can hear the whining start, say something like “Sorry I can’t hear you when you talk in that whiny voice, where’s your happy voice gone?” You can break the mood by saying something like “shall we look for your happy voice? and start tickling around their neck.
Once your child realises the whine isn’t getting them anything, they’re more likely to try a normal voice. Listen to their request and if you can, say yes. This makes it more likely that they will use their happy voice next time. If you can’t, explain why and what you can offer instead.

Answer questions promptly to head off whining.

Calmly and promptly answering your child’s request (even if you have to say no), rather than ignoring it often prevents whining as your child does not have to resort to an irritating voice to get through to you.
If they continue to whine after you’ve said no, give them a cuddle and say something like I know you feel sad when you can’t have…..” then completely ignore any further whining. Move to another room if you find yourself getting angry but don’t give any attention to the whining.

Limit opportunities for frustration.

Sometimes frustration at not being able to master a new skill can make kids whine. So if you notice your child whining after trying to play with or do something that he’s not quite ready for, consider either giving them a hand, or moving them onto another activity or toy. You could put that toy away for a while so they can come back to it fresh another day.

Make sure your child gets plenty of positive attention.

Whining is really a bid for your attention, and if you’re regularly ignoring your child because you’re too busy to give them enough attention, then whining is more likely.  If you feel like you don’t have enough time to give them your full attention try and make the care routines like feeding, dressing, bathing into fun times for talking, singing and playing together. Sometimes it’s best to put them first and let other things wait.

Over it? Use your phone timer to set a time limit for a play activity – your full attention for five minutes is better than half pai for longer.

Need back-up? Family members might be willing to help but not sure what to do. . Be specific – “could you please bath/feed change/dress baby”

Feeling like a bad parent? Look around and check is there anything that could be dangerous to the kids? If not, relax – you’re doing OK!

Feel like you’re always on the go? Your kids are the most important thing - and they’re only young once. Think about what absolutely must be done now and what can wait.

Worried what others think of your parenting? What your kids think of you is what really matters! If you focus on them, you’re already doing a great job.

Feeling down? Talking with someone you trust can be the first step to finding help. Working out whether your feelings are temporary or more lasting is important. Depressed? Writing down your feelings in a daily diary will help you monitor whether it’s getting better or worse. This will also help you explain better if you go to your doctor.

Sick of yelling? Try singing your frustration instead. If you hop or jump at the same time, everyone gets the giggles — another great tension buster!

Feeling yuk? If no-one else can help with the kids, grab a pillow and blanket - set up camp in your lounge until you start to feel better

Had enough? You may feel like you need alcohol or drugs to relax – but they often make the situation worse, especially when you have to deal with kids. Who could help you cut down or cut it out?

Stress over unpaid bills? Have a banking setup that automatically takes money out for your main bills first. Then you know what you have left to survive on.

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Putting it all together

SKIP’s approach is based on six things which children need from parents to help them grow into happy, capable adults.

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  • Love & warmth

  • Talking & listening

  • Guidance & understanding

  • A structured & secure world

  • Consistency & consequences

  • Limits & boundaries