Why they do it: Besides whining when they're tired or hungry, kids grumble when they're asked to do things they don't want to do (insert your chore of choice) or when they're bored. Whining is learned behavior, and by the time a kid is in elementary school, she's a pro.
How to stop it: Some moms swear by sending their child to the "whine" room as soon as she starts. Sending her away-to the corner of the living room, say, and letting her vent aloud to herself-spares you from having to listen to it and may help the offender understand what she sounds like.
Shaffer has another tactic when her school-age kids start in. "Every whine costs them a nickel, to be deposited in a special jar," she says. "Then we give the money to the charity box at church on Sunday."
When you're out in public, you can head off most whining by establishing some rules before you leave. My two kids know that there's every possibility of a small candy or sticker purchase if they make Mommy's trip to Target as pleasant as possible. They also know that the moment they start complaining in that tone of voice, the deal's off. Sometimes my 5-year-old slips up, but my 8-year-old has this rule down cold.
It bears keeping in mind that everyone whines -- moms and dads, too. But our kids model their behavior on ours, so the next time you're griping about soccer-practice schedule, take a minute to listen to yourself and then go put a nickel in the whine jar. Your child will be impressed.