Hearing your child’s first word is one of the most joyous milestones of parenthood. And as he adds more words to his vocabulary, you become filled with pride at the person taking shape before you. But as your little one starts describing the world around him in words, he may also develop a bad habit that could drive you up a wall: whining.
Of course, toddlers are just as entitled as anyone else to express displeasure with something, but their underdeveloped communication skills lead them to do so in a shrill, ear-splitting voice that’s neither pleasant for them or you. It normally starts out as the result of your child’s frustration at not having the capacity to clearly explain what’s troubling him, but could later turn into a ploy to get you to do his bidding. He may not have a large vocabulary, but he’s keen enough to see that mommy or daddy will jump through hoops to get him to stop the assault on their ears.
So, if your nerves are almost completely frayed, try these tips on how to stop whining in your kids:
Don’t show weakness in the face of whining. No matter how irritating it is, don’t give in to your whiny child’s demands or show that you’re bothered by the whining. Doing so will show your child that he can at least get a reaction out of you, reinforcing the habit.
Show him a better way. He may not even know he’s whining or that there’s a better way to ask for what he wants. Give him examples of what words to use and how his voice should sound. To make it even clearer, you can tape record his voice when he’s whining and when he’s not, so you can show him what the difference sounds like.
Use positive reinforcement. When your child asks nicely for something and especially when he makes an effort not to whine when he normally would, be sure you praise him and encourage him to use his pleasant voice more often.
Be patient. Using the tactics above won’t get immediate results. It takes time for children to learn hard lessons. But as long as you’re consistent in discouraging whining with the methods above, you should see improvement. And not only will you be happier, but your child will learn a valuable lesson about how to communicate effectively.
Do you have a tip for breaking the whining habit? Share it with us below.