Raising toddlers can sometimes be exhausting, not to mention annoying, especially if all we hear is their constant whining. It is considered typical of a child’s development between ages 2 and 4, but it does not mean that you can’t curb this type of behavior for good.
How to stop a child’s whining
Kids whine and become demanding for a reason — they use it as a negotiating tactic and to get your attention. When you give in, it only makes them think that whining will help them get what they want.
Have a conversation while your child is calm and help her identify the difference between a normal voice and a whiny voice. Then, gently let them know that you will not pay attention to them if they use their whiny voice.
You might say, “You can let me know what you want in your normal voice. Sometimes I will agree, and sometimes I may not agree. I hope you can still be ok when the latter happens.
“If you whine, I will put my hands over my ears. This can be a gentle reminder for you to use your regular voice. Then, I’ll be glad to talk about anything that’s on your mind.”
2. Let kids know about the consequences of their actions.
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If your child continues to use their whiny voice, let them know how you will react. For example, “I will not respond to a whiny voice. Instead, I will just continue with my chores until you switch back to your normal voice. Then, we can talk, and I will be happy to listen to you.”
3. Confirm that she understands what you’ve just explained.
You might have to do some roleplaying just so your toddler understands your intentions. Practice how you’ll talk to each other and what your possible reaction will be once they use their whiny voice.
Remember that this technique will only work if you remember to follow through every single time. Be consistent and don’t give in even if your toddler dials up their whining.
Check your attitude toward your child’s whining, according to the book Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare. You may be using some expression of evasiveness, hesitation, submissiveness, or guilt, which your toddler can interpret as a payoff (meaning their whining worked).
Keep your cool and walk away once the whining starts. On the other hand, once your child uses their normal voice, respond right away, calmly, and happily.
Don’t expect your toddler to change overnight — the whining will have to constantly happen, and you will have to react accordingly before your child starts learning. Be patient, consistent, and practice as much as you can. Then, your efforts will be rewarded.
How can you keep calm in the face of demanding kids? Click here for some expert tips.