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Dr. Cohen’s Remedy for Whining

“I want to watch a movie.”
“Now honey, it’s not time to watch a movie, we can watch a movie later.”
“I want to watch a movie.”
“Jimmy, I told you it’s not time to watch a movie.”
“I want to watch a movie.”
“Please don’t use that voice, we will watch a movie after nap time.”
“But I want to watch a movie…”

This is whining. It’s all too common but it doesn’t have to be a normal part of life with kids–it’s actually pretty easy to treat if you nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand. The key is to remember that whining is an inappropriate behavior and therefore should be treated as an inappropriate behavior.

There is a simple way to handle it: Ten seconds of whining gets a timeout.

In the above scenario, once you hit the first “I want to watch a movie,” after you’ve given a clear “no” with a clear explanation (it’s not time to watch one now,etc.), then you tell your child, “if you keep whining, you go to your room.” The first time you try this, the whining will likely persist beyond the time out. If it does, Jimmy goes right back in his room. Repeat as needed, probably several times in row the first day.

But if you stick to this plan, and execute it in a quiet, consistent and firm way, it will work. And then…. three days later, no whining!