“Mommy! Daddy! I don’t want to pee!” This tortured plea rings in the ears of most parents of toddlers. Of course, in real life the “Mommy” and “Daddy” are stretched out for three to five seconds each in that classic pitiful yet irritatingly slow whine. Would you like some parenting tips to handle this ever-present and (when in public) ever-embarrassing toddler behavior? Since you’re reading this article, I’m guessing the answer is, “Sure!”
I stumbled upon a parenting trick that works pretty well with my preschooler’s whining. I call it the “silly technique.” My daughter is three years old, and whenever she starts to whine (which is frequently), I tell her I am going to pull the whine out of her. I check her mouth, ears, nose, and sometimes her belly button until I find the whine inside her. Then I yank it out, making a big spectacle out of the exercise. My daughter thinks this is very funny, and it works very well! My record with this technique is almost perfect. She will laugh and then tell me, “Daddy, the whine is all gone!” Use this tip; it just might work wonders! Be as silly as you want! This works really well in public places, by the way! Just last week, I steered my daughter away from a whining melt-down as we walked into her daycare.
Another way I sometimes deal with the whining is to imitate my preschooler. I mustered all of my creative juices and entitled this the “imitation technique.” You know the old saying, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?” Well, this is not sincere. It is not flattering, either. But it works! Preschoolers like to think of themselves as big kids. When you whine and show them how they sound, they are embarrassed. My daughter does not like it one bit! As soon as my wife or I start to whine back, she gives us a funny look. Sometimes she even says, “No whining!” This tip comes from my wife! She uses this parenting tip all the time.
What about whining at night-time? This is easily one of the more difficult habits to break. You want your preschooler to go to bed. You cannot use some of the other techniques that might encourage a lot of laughing because that is counterproductive. That rules out the silly technique and the imitation technique. So my wife and I figured we would let my daughter pick special friends (stuffed animals) to sleep with each night. She understands that certain behavior, like whining, will result in either Mommy or Daddy coming in and taking a friend to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room. We give her three friends, so this gives us a couple of chances to convince her to stop whining. Most of the time we do not have to take any of her friends. On occasion, we might have to take one, but she gets the message after that happens. Instead of whining for a fourth glass of water or yet another hug or kiss, she settles down, hugs her friends, and goes to sleep. We call this parenting tip the “friends technique.”
I hope you are able to incorporate these parenting tips and steer your preschooler away from whining. Life is too short to deal with thirty minutes of whining, especially when there are so many fun things to do with your child! Happy parenting!