Play the whine game with me next time your toddler just won’t give it up. When your toddler whines you’ll want to play it cool. Rather than getting frustrated sarcastically compliment your toddler for the good job they are doing at whining. You’ll say “Good whining! You’re doing such a good job, way to go!”
Now you’ll join your baby and say “Momma/Dadda whine too?” Then continue for a little bit with your baby. If this is the fist time doing it, you’re baby is going to look at you a little funny. That’s part of the game so just go with it. Next you want to decouple your baby’s whine from yours. Say “Okay, now it’s just Momma/Dadda’s turn” and start whining again. Your toddler will probably also start to whine too so after a few moments cut him off by saying “Oh, no, it’s not your turn it’s just Momma/Dadda’s turn – you wait for your turn.”
Now restart whining again and if your toddler starts to whine as well, cut him off quickly and remind him that it’s your turn, not his. After a few tries your toddler should hopefully get the idea. The goal is to help your toddler realize the difference between whining and not whining, not that whining is okay for anyone to do. Now you’ll want to have your spouse or anyone else present have a turn. So go around the room and offer them a chance, say “Okay, now it’s Dadda’s/Momma’s turn or Brother/Sister, etc.” This is going to help your toddler to wait for his turn. Psychologically, you are conditioning your baby to control his emotions by ‘turning the whine off’ and ‘turning the whine on’.
Play this game for as long as you can stand it and as long as you can keep your toddler to “play” by the rules. After a while, your toddler is going to realize the difference between whining and not whining and how to control this reflects. Keep in mind that usually whining is due to some un-met need. It might be due to wanting something that is being withheld, not getting the attention he wants, or wanting something he just can’t wait for. The first time I played this game was when my son was anxious to get an orange and couldn’t wait patiently for the orange to be peeled. As my wife peeled the orange, we played the whine game and by the end of things, we all got pretty good at it. I think the point was well made since by the time we ran the sequence enough times, the orange was peeled and ready to eat. At some point your toddler is going to realize that whining is not the best method to getting what he wants and will grow out of it. This technique is a good way to drowned out the whining your toddler makes without getting upset. After all, if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em!