I do not know if this is some kind of developmental milestone. All my kids, when they were around the age of three, they started whining a lot. If they wanted something, they asked in a whiny tone and were rather long-winded in whining. Whiny kids get on my nerves. I doubt there are many people who are charmed by a whiner. This is how I dealt with my kids’ whining :
1. Teach them to speak in ‘Normal Voice’
Call it normal voice or talking voice. Basically, the objective is to teach them to ask for things in an appropriate manner of speaking. Yes, even though it might be the nth time they asked for the thing and not getting it and it seemed like a bit of whining is justified, I still insisted on the policy of ‘no whining’. However, instead of issuing a negative command – no whining! – I used a positive one by telling them the appropriate way to speak, i.e. in their normal, talking voice. I told them that I could not make out what they were trying to say if they were talking in that kind of voice. For comic effect, sometimes I pretended to whine like them to demonstrate how unintelligible I was if I talked in that manner. That would make them laugh and get my point across. Sometimes, they needed to calm down a bit to collect themselves before they could talk normally. That was fine. I would wait and let them get their act together to ask normally.
If their requests could be acceded to, I would only give it to them after they asked in their talking voice.
2. Establish “Whining Corner”
When they whined, I would not reward their whining by giving in to their requests. Another way to not reward the whining is simply not to give it the attention it seeks. When they kept on whining, I told them I didn’t like to listen to whining so if they really liked to whine so much, they could do so at the “Whining Corner” so that they were out of my earshot. There, they could whine for as long as they liked and I would not stop them.
My “Whining Corner” was not a fixed spot in the house. I simply wrote out the word “Whining Corner” on a scrap piece of paper and tape it to a place far away from where I was. After a few times, the kids got the idea that it was useless to whine. What if they refused to go to their “Whining Corner”? Thankfully, that didn’t happen. The fact that I established the “Whining Corner” sent the message that I didn’t want to listen to any whining so they had better give up, and they did wise up pretty quickly.
Those were the only two things I did to deal with whining. They may not work for every kid but I think if you didn’t already let the whining become established as a habit and a de facto mode of request, these two methods are pretty effective in nipping the habit in the bud. My kids hardly whine after that and they most certainly do not ask for things in that whiny ‘mooommmy….” (imagine twisting and stomping action) kind of way. In fact, they get a bit irritated when other kids whine and don’t quite understand why they cannot ask for things properly. : )