It’s a common question that mothers of toddlers ask: “How do I stop my toddler from whining?” To be able to answer this question, however, knowing why your toddler whines is important. After you understand why your toddler whines, you can begin to work with them to stop this habit.
The biggest reason toddlers whine is because they often can’t communicate well using words. They whine to get your attention and to communicate that they want something. They may be frustrated or they may be tired. Unfortunately they soon realize that whining produces results, so they begin to use it to get their way even past the age of toddlerhood.
To avoid having problems with whiny school-aged children, or worse – whiny teens, you’ll want to stop them before it becomes a habit. Here are six ideas you can use that may nip this bad habit in the bud before it has an opportunity to bloom.
1. Ignore the whining. As much as it may grate on your nerves, if you don’t react when they start whining, they’ll learn that they won’t get what they want that way. If you constantly give in when they begin whining, they’ll have won and will continue to use it to get their way.
2. Explain that you don’t understand. If your child starts to whine, tell them you can’t understand. To help you understand, they need to speak calmly, quietly, and in a normal tone of voice. When they can speak to you in a normal voice, then you can listen to what they say and decide whether or not to give them what they wanted.
3. Teach them simple sign language. If your toddler can’t talk much yet, teaching them simple sign language can help them communicate what they want without the whine. Go online or to the local library to find a book on baby sign language. Teaching them signs for hungry, thirsty, and paying attention to body signals like rubbing the eyes to tell you they are tired can help tremendously when stopping the whining train from leaving the station.
4. Distract them. When they start whining, don’t give in to them. Instead, try distracting them by singing a song, reciting the alphabet, or offering them something else.
5. Put them down for a nap. Being over-tired is one of the reasons toddlers whine. If you know they’re tired, having them take a nap may help both of you.
6. Tell them what you expect of them. Even though they’re young, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn. Explain to them that you expect them to sit still in the buggy without whining and asking you for everything. If they have behaved well, you may want to allow them a “prize” for their good behavior.
Whining is a common activity of nearly all toddlers, and even some adults. Using one or more of these tips to stop your toddler from whining may be what you need for peace in your home. Just remember, if you don’t do anything, the whining is sure to continue.