Whining is defined as a low complaining sound due to uneasiness, discontent, or peevishness. It is a learned action due to initial unresponsiveness which gains a parent’s attention.
Toddlers often whine because they feel overwhelmed and out of control. Because they lack the vocabulary to articulate their frustrations, toddlers whimper whine which is their natural default noise. Remember that hunger and fatigue can triggers these reactions the next time you decide to take your toddler shopping around nap or mealtime.
Just like toddlers, preschoolers often whine when they have a low frustration threshold. At this stage in life, the preschooler is faced with a great deal of changes such as starting preschool, potty training, moving to a big kid bed, or gaining a new sibling. All of these things leave them craving for attention even if they are negative.
Not only will a grade schooler whine when they are hungry or frustrated, but you can add boredom or indifference to the list too. A child that learned it was okay to whine in early stages of development will become an expert whiner by the time they start school.
Break the Habit
- Have patience and refuse to let the whining bother you. Calmly let the child know that if he whines, you won’t respond. Let him know that when he talks in a nice voice, you will give him your full attention.
- Teach the child what a “nice voice” or “asking nicely” means. Demonstrate what whining sounds like and what saying something nicely sounds like. Have them model the behavior so they can tell the difference.
- Praise the child when he does something right. Often times a parent will point out the negative, but forget to give positive reinforcement when the child does something good. It could be something as simple as saying “thank you for respond so nicely” or “that tone of voice is music to my ears”.
- Don’t cave in when the pressure becomes too much. As soon as the child sees that you will give in to the whining, they will keep this bad habit.
- Remember that change does not happen overnight and that you need to keep up with the patient and praise. If you don’t keep up the effective methods of communication, the whining may get worse than before.