There might not be a more annoying sound than a toddler whining. It ranks up there with nails on a chalkboard. And maybe a neighborhood cat singing the song of his people.
Do you know how to deal with a toddler constantly crying or whining?
A Tired Mom’s Guide to Stopping Your Toddler’s Whining
When your toddler starts whining and crying, a simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a nightmare of epic proportions. You want to get home quickly to make dinner, but now you’re dealing with a whining child, and everyone is staring at you. You try to remain patient, but those high-pitched wails frazzle your nerves.
Do you know how to deal with a whiny toddler? While it may be tempting to lose your temper or give in to your child’s pleas, there are more constructive alternatives.
Learn how to stop toddler whining before it starts.
What to Do When Your Toddler is Whining:
Stay calm. Your toddler will pick up on your mood so ensure you’re doing what you can to reduce both your stress levels. Take a deep breath and smile. Speak softly and clearly. You might recognize this advice is similar to dealing with a toddler tantrum.
Stand your ground. Giving your toddler what he or she is asking for might be the quickest way to stop their whining, but that approach will backfire. That’s because you’re reinforcing the behavior and training them that whining works to get their way.
Suggest alternatives. Let your child know that it’s okay to ask for what they want politely. Roleplay so they can understand the difference between a shrill voice and a pleasant one. I remind my toddler to “ask me nicely” when he wants something and is whining or crying, telling him he can’t get an answer until he does. Practice saying please and thank you.
Offer positive reinforcement. Praise your toddler when he or she asks calmly and respectfully. Applaud their efforts to put their feelings into words and seek mutually satisfactory solutions. Let them know that such achievements are challenging even for grown-ups.
Rule out medical causes. While most whining is harmless, it could sometimes be a sign that your child is under the weather. Often I notice that when my son is not feeling well, the first sign is he cries and whines a lot more. When kids aren’t feeling well, their resiliency plummets. If they seem more irritable or fidgety than usual, check for health issues first. And give everyone grace.
How to Stop Toddler Whining before it Starts:
Nurture your connection with your child. A toddler constantly crying or whining is likely a way of seeking more of your attention. When we fill our child’s cup, as the saying goes, their demeanor improves, and they are more cooperative. Make it a top priority to spend significant family time and one-on-one time together on a regular basis. Even for just a few fun minutes after work and before dinner doing some of these super easy low prep activities for toddlers.
Learn and play. Adequate stimulation will also reduce whining. Share fun and enriching activities with your child like reading books and playing outdoor games. Hyper kids need appropriate stimulation, such as running and jumping. Swimming is a therapeutic and relaxing activity that helps calm children down. Doing learning crafts and games together to help with brain development will also help with self-regulation.
Remember to take breaks. If your child is acting up, you may have exceeded their attention span. Be cognizant of sensory needs and watch for signs of overstimulation. An overstimulated child is a whiny child. Switch activities or give them a little quiet time to refresh and recharge.
Avoid other triggers. In addition to the events that most children find to be a little stressful, your child may have personal triggers. This is also where sensory needs come into play. Sensory overload causes whining and tantrums. Pay attention to when they whine to recognize patterns and seek the root of these triggers.
Enforce bedtimes. Many modern children are sleep-deprived. Take a look at your bedtime routine and schedule and see if that could be a cause. I know my son is a night owl and I often find him jumping on his bed at 11 pm! I know that he will be very grumpy and whiny the following morning when we have to get up for work and school. Try moving bedtimes back an hour and stick to a consistent schedule even on weekends and see if that improves sleep patterns.
Encourage healthy eating. A nutritious diet will give your child more energy and help to stabilize their blood sugar. Plan balanced meals and healthy snacks, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. I know, easier said than done with toddlers, but we can do our best to improve snacking and mealtimes. Also, have healthy snack options available at all times since a hangry toddler is a whiny toddler.
Be a positive role model. Your toddler will be less likely to whine if you avoid excessive complaining, too. Ensure that you’re setting the kind of example you want your child to follow.
Give your child the attention they need, and teach toddlers how to replace whining with more effective communication styles. You’ll enjoy more peaceful and pleasant experiences together now while preparing your child to interact politely and respectfully with others as they grow older.
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