7 Ways To Deal With A Child That Complains

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A whining child can be a frustrating thing faced by any parent. I have a toddler and understand this too well. But complaining for children can be completely normal.

In fact, adults complain a lot more than children.

Before we go into the details of a child that complains, let me give you a quick definition of whining

Whining Meaning: 

According to the dictionary : 

“the making of a long, high-pitched cry or sound.”

Why does a child whine or complain:

When a child complains it is usually for a reason. It could either be to get our attention, connect with us or to let go some of their own frustrations.

There are times when complaining is a way to express their emotions.

Whatever the reason to complain it can be used as an opportunity to help children express their feelings, and convert that into a positive way of thinking.

Check out the Growth Mindset Kit, designed to help children develop positive habits from a young age.


Here are some strategies to help children express their complaints in a healthier way :

1.Understand the issue

Children may not know what they are doing is whining. Instead of telling them to “stop complaining” which will most likely not work we need to teach them how to stop complaining.

Firstly, take a breather yourself. A complaining child can get to your nerves. But before that happens take a moment to catch a breath.

Then change the words you would use with them such as “quit whining” to something like “I know you are irritated because you want something. But you need to wait until I can give it to you.”

Show some empathy to make it clear that you understand their frustration. But also make it clear that they can never always have it their way and that is part of life.

If your child starts throwing tantrums despite you trying to be as calm as you can then discipline their behavior but don’t punish their emotions.

You can something like “ You will be on time-out now because you pushed your sister. It’s ok to be irritated but it’s not right to push your sister.”

psst, don’t forget to :Download the THE GROWTH MINDSET KIT helping children to stay calm and grounded.

2. Listen to your child

Actually paying attention to your child makes them feel valued. And by this, I mean not just hearing the sounds but actually going down to their level and giving your full attention.

Make eye contact and do not let your phone distract you while you are speaking to them.

I find this strategy works most of the time. My child feels almost immediately content and the frustration goes quickly.

The most powerful thing you can do is validate their emotions. Say something like “I hear you, And” method.

If your child complains because of things out of his control. For example, because of the rain  then say something like “I hear that you want to play outside..And we cannot control the weather.” 

3. Focus on the Positive

Some children tend to just look at the negative on situations. In such cases always remind them of the positives. This will help your child have a better view of the world.

For example, if your child says ” I don’t like the food that you cooked”. You can respond by saying “I think it is nice and we get the chance to spend some time together and have a lovely meal.”

Check out the Growth Mindset Kit, designed to help children develop positive habits from a young age.


4. Give them alternatives

Sometimes a child complains because they feel they do not have an option. 

Giving your child a choice on what happens next can help them accept the situation. A child needs to just let go of some frustrations. It happens to us adults as well.

But you can use this moment to switch from complaining to problem-solving.

For example, ask your child “Should we think of something else to do since it is raining outside and we cannot play in the park?”

Help them identify things they can do next.

You can check the mindful coloring pages designed especially for children.

5. Set time limit

An easy way to deal with a whiny child is to set a time limit. For example, you can say ” we will talk about it for another 2 minutes, then we will do something else.”


“I’ve heard you complain about your day, now why don’t you tell me three things that were good about today.”

Another method is to set a time at home when they can complain.

For example after dinner, for the next 10 minutes, your family can sit together and talk about the frustrations they have.

We find the most effective way to do this is through journaling.

6. Don’t take things too seriously

A child may just complain to get your attention. You can respond by just carrying your child, giving them a hug followed by some tickles.

This works like magic, especially with younger children.

You can check the Growth Mindset Kit designed especially for children to help them realise how special they are.

7. Finally, practice gratitude.

Gratitude can help your child see the good in life. It can also help them complain less about their situation.

Practicing gratitude can help your child feel happier and healthier.

Don’t forget to always empathize with your child first then shift their mindset to a positive one.

We use the gratitude printables to help us fill in the things we are grateful about. We do this weekly as a family routine. It works as a reminder on how fortunate we are despite our situations.



Complaining and whining is just a normal part of life. But it can become a problem when they start doing this regularly and frequenly. Shift their mindset to a positive one and give them healthier options.

Listen to your child and give them a voice to express their opinion.

Before you go check out the Growth Mindset Printables, crafted especially for children to develop positive habits from a young age.



  • Daily journaling pages (52 pages)
  • Learn to love yourself worksheets (6 pages)
  • Learn to be thankful and give back to others worksheets (3 pages)
  • Inspirational Quotes (20 pages)
  • Inspirational failure stories (6 pages)
  • Inspirational coloring pages (10 pages)
  • Dealing with anxiety activities and worksheets (9 pages)


  • Goal setting and being productive worksheets (7 pages)
  • Being mindful, content and discovering gratitude activities (10 pages)
  • Travel bucket list and travel journal pages(4 pages)
  • Family activities pages (3 pages)
  • Encouraging kids to review books activities (5 pages)
  • Monthly review activities (4 pages)


A quick peek into THE GROWTH MINDSET KIT  made just for kids aged 7 – 18 years old

139 pages of fun, positive and growth mindset activities


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