Toddlers, and children in general, tend to lean on whining as an effective technique to get our attention. And you know why? Because, sadly, most of the time... it works!
Here's a simple way to reduce toddler whining, through 3 simple techniques you can implement today:
1. Help your little one develop their language skills.
The more you encourage your toddler to develop language skills, the less whining should occur. There are a few great ways to encourage your little one to speak and increase their vocabulary: Reading to them at nighttime, talking to them (even if they don't reply, just tell them all about your day, explain what you are doing, name the objects around them, etc.) and completing their sentences- for example if your child says "Red car", you can say: "Yes, that is a red car, and it has very bright lights!", to add more color to the sentence and help them learn more words.
2. At the first sign of whining: ask them to use words to express what they need
My favorite phrase to encourage my children to stop whining is "Please use your words". Even if you know exactly what they want, don't give it to them until they use words to express it. For example, my two year old loves climbing at my bed in the morning when she wakes up, but she is too short and needs help. She usually grunts and use her hands and face to show me her frustration and how she needs my help. Instead of helping her right away, I ask her to tell me what she needs so I can help her, letting her know that I don't understand noises... but only words. And even if only one word comes out "Climb!", celebrate it and praise her effort, as well as completing her phrase: "Oh, you need help climbing up?".
3. Use an emotions chart to help develop emotional language skills
Along with regular language skills, it is very important that we teach little ones emotional language, so they can correctly express their feelings with words, instead of whining, crying and throwing tantrums (yikes!). Focus on feelings that normally make your child upset: hungry, tired, shy, angry, frustrated, etc.
Using a visual chart is a great idea to have your child practice those words and associate them with a picture of a child showing that emotion. Our Emotions Chart is magnetic, so you can easily place it on your refrigerator or other kitchen appliances at your little one's height for easy access.
And if whining is turning into tantrums... we are here to help :)