Dealing with Whining
The life of a toddler is one of extremes. They experience extreme highs and lows; they feel every emotion at its absolute strongest. Eating breakfast out of the red bowl instead of the yellow bowl? No way! And how are so many of these feelings communicated? By whining, of course.
Whining may be irritating but it's completely normal. Children simply need to be taught how to make requests nicely rather than whining-- believe it or not, they're not born with an innate sense of politeness! There are a few simple ways to help deal with a whiny toddler:
- Don't ignore it. You might be tempted to stuff in a pair of earplugs when whining starts, but ignoring a whining two-year-old won't teach a lesson. In fact, it could increase their frustration and volume. You don't have to immediately give in to the demand, just acknowledge that they're trying to talk to you.
- Model the behavior you want to see. Rather than snapping "Don't whine!" or "Stop it!", use a quiet, kind tone to gently redirect: "If you would like something, please ask me in your big kid voice." Kids learn by example and whining is no different.
- Take note of triggers. Like tantrums, whining is often brought on by fatigue, hunger, being overwhelmed or wanting attention. If you can avoid these triggers, you may be able to avoid the whining.
- Reward good behavior. When your little one does ask for something politely, be sure to acknowledge and reward it with compliments —even if you have to deny the request. Positive reinforcement, such as "Thank you for asking so nicely!" and "I'm so proud of you for asking like a big kid!", will make it more likely you won't hear whining when they want something next time.