Ask Babs: Handling 'Whine Time'

by Babs Hadjusiewicz July 22, 2015

Q: How do I not let whining bother me?

A: Close your ears? Sorry, I couldn’t resist that smart-alecky remark. Okay, let’s get down to some serious thinking on this frequently-asked-or-wish-we-had-asked query coming out of a real quandary nearly all we parents face at one time or another.

Fact: We adore our children, but we don’t adore a few of their behaviors. And one of those is best called Whine Time. But why do kids whine?

Turn it around to take a look at what you’d do if you were your child. In truth, wouldn’t you do some Whine Time if you wanted something and it wasn’t forthcoming? And what if you were dependent on another person, and you were within the seeing-hearing vicinity of that very person? Wouldn’t you engage in some Whine Time?

Furthermore, wouldn’t you reason that Whine Time just might get that person’s attention, especially since you’ve noticed how much your Whine-Time behavior bothers that person? And wouldn’t you ramp up your Whine Time sounds if you were tired or hungry or bored at the very same time when you want something that’s not forthcoming?

Those are a host of “if’s” in considering your whining. So what if we were to transfer all those conditions onto your child’s whining in order to ask and answer some questions about the last time your child’s whining bothered you. Let’s do it!

• Was your child dependent on you? (Likely a resounding YES!)
• Were you in your child’s seeing-hearing vicinity? (Um, YES!)

BINGO!––times 2. Now let’s ask and answer a couple more questions about that all-too-memorable Whine-Time you experienced with your child.

• Did your child whine louder and louder when you didn’t produce whatever it was your child had wanted? (Likely another YES!)
• Were you showing any irritation with that Whine-Time behavior? (Bet so!)
• Did you ask your child to stop whining? (Bet you did!)
• Did you begin counting to 3 or 10 or whatever strategy you tend to do as a warning? (Bet that’s another YES!)

BINGO!––quadrupled! And now, what are the likely times when you’d predict your child would exhibit Whine-Time behaviors?

• When hungry? (Likely YES!)
• When tired? (Likely YES!)
• When bored? (Likely YES!)

BINGO!––a hat trick!

Hmm. Have you just answered this question you’d posed initially here: “How do I not let whining bother me?” Sure seems so.

Here’s a multiple-choice question for you:
How might you avoid being bothered when your child exhibits Whine Time behaviors?

1. Set out a snack.
2. Offer a distraction.
3. Put your child down for a nap.
4. Close your ears.
5. Remove yourself from your child’s seeing-hearing vicinity.
6. All of the above.

I’d circle #6. How about you? In addition, because your child is likely a Toddler Two or older, I suggest you take advantage of three ideas your question and your answers offer to all us parents:

1. Be proactive to predict your child’s Whine-Time behaviors. Offer the snack before hunger sets in. Schedule yourselves to be at home or in a place where your child can take that nap.
2. During a calm non-whining time, take advantage of the perfect Talking Op to say words like these, as appropriate to your child’s age:

“I’m guessing that whining is not fun for you, so the next time I hear you whining, I will help you go down for a nap.” (The key to success? Do it consistently.)


“I’m guessing that whining is not fun for you, so the next time I hear you whining, I will leave the room until you are all done whining.” (The key to success? Do it consistently.)

I want to leave you with another positive note. Comparisons can be made between those Adorables you can’t get enough of and the Whine Times you never want to hear again.

Therein lies some good news: Behaviors come at you in stages which means that Whine Time doesn’t last forever. The bad news is that like with the Adorables, Whine Times have no age limit. I promise you will meet up with more chances along your parenting journey to try out new strategies for success with Whine Time behaviors. Enjoy every win-win!

For more ideas and support around all-things-kids topics, follow my blog at And check out my guest blog posts at,, and where I’ll be sharing in one or more upcoming guest posts more ideas and specific conversations you can have with your child of any age.

Copyright © 2015 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

Babs Hadjusiewicz
Babs Hadjusiewicz


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