I can't stand the whining! Sometimes it feels like my child is whining all day, every day. What can I do to discourage it and get her to communicate nicely?
It's a sound a parent could identify anywhere...the dreaded whining of a grumpy kiddo. And is it just me or is it that much more difficult to listen to when we're cooped up inside on cold winter months?
You may have a child who can be jollied out of their whiny moods with mama making jokes or even echoing the whine so they can giggle about how silly it sounds. Not my boy. Around here, whining quickly turns into wailing if he feels I'm not taking him seriously. So what can we do to keep the tone cheerful?
Respect the problem: More often than not, your little one is whining because something is wrong. It doesn't mean you can fix it ("Yes, you still have to make your bed." "No you may not have cookies for dinner."), but you can still show your child that you understand their feelings. Validate their emotions with comments like "I understand that you don't want to tidy up the playroom but someone might trip and get hurt if there are toys all over the floor." Your child will appreciate it if they feel like they're being heard.
Ignore it: Once you've acknowledged their reasons for being upset, you're free to ignore the whining that continues. Don't forget though, younger ones will need reminders to switch to a more cheerful tone. ("Use your words please." "Can you ask me in a friendly voice?")
Distract them: Nothing has me knocking on the neighbour's door begging for a playdate faster than a toddler who woke up on the wrong side of bed. A change of scenery and some new faces can help perk up even the grumpiest mood. Get out for a walk or call up a playmate.
Nanny Carrie's Tip: None of these solutions will do any good if you're dealing with a hungry or tired child. If the whining has reached its peak, take a minute to think back on the day and you may find that this morning's exhausting soccer game or an unfinished breakfast might be the root of the problem. An early bedtime or a little blood sugar boost might be just what the doctor ordered.