|My son is a whiner. It drives
me crazy and I give in to him just to make him stop.
Why your toddler whines
Some experts say that whining is a natural default noise
made when a child feels out of control and lacks the vocabulary
to articulate emotions - that pretty much sums up
the situation of being a toddler. Natural or not, it’s
the one thing that can drive a parent up the wall.
What to do
Toddlers learn early on what presses a parent’s buttons,
and whining is one of them. Consequently as a parent, one
has learned to give in just for the sake of peace and quiet.
To break the habit, here are some ideas from parents.
1. Consistency is the key. “My 2
year old has learned that if she asks for anything in a
whiney voice, she doesn’t get it... ever. That doesn’t
mean to say that I give in to say a biscuit when it’s
just about meal time, even if she asks in a normal voice.”
2. Ignore. “I’ve found that
the best response is not to respond. I turn my back, walk
out of the room, ignore, ignore. She soon learns she will
get no reaction from me until she speaks in a normal voice.”
3. I can’t hear you when you sound like that.
“A lot of toddlers don't even know they're whining”.
It has just become the way they ask for something. Say,
'I can’t hear you when you speak in suuuuch a fuuuuny
waaaay,' and then ignore him until he speaks normally.
4. Think of a better way to ask. “When my
daughter whines I respond by saying, 'we don’t
whine to get what we want, think of a better way to ask.'
Then I ignore her, and walk away. And I don’t repeat,
5. What happened to your nice voice? “When
my 2-year-old starts to whine, I say, 'Oh dear, what
happened to your nice voice? It seems to have disappeared,
where could it be?'
Then I look around the room, under a cushion, in the drawer,
in my pocket, and find the nice voice, and pop it into my
mouth. And then I repeat what she had whined about. Now
it’s become a game... Sometimes, with encouragement
from me, she looks for her nice voice, and pops it into her
6. Make a choice. “The children
(aged 3 and 5) used to drive me crazy with their whining
when I was in a supermarket. Now when I go shopping I let
each of them pick out one item that they really want, something
already on the shopping list e.g. a cereal, or jam, or fruit.
When we get into the checkout lane, and they ask for sweets,
I say.... You have already chosen what you want. I sometime
come home with 3 different pots of jam, but at least without
the early frustration.”