Your 2-year-old now
Have you noticed a new sound in the house – an annoying, grating sound coming from your child's mouth? Whining is to a semi-verbal 2-year-old what crying is to a nonverbal baby – it's a way of expressing frustration and impatience. Often preschoolers don't even realize they're whining. That's just how their emotions come out. Whining can quickly escalate into an irritating habit, so it's best if you can nip it in the bud early.
The essential strategy is to stick to your guns. If your child whines for something and you give in "just this once," she's likely to whine all the louder and longer next time because she knows it's a possibility that you just might give in again. Another tactic is to point out how unpleasant her tone sounds by mimicking it back to her – a good way to turn a whine into a giggle. Or you can plead helplessness: "I can't understand you when you use that voice." Empathize with the feeling behind the whine and then redirect her: "I know you don't want to have a nap now. You're full of energy. But your voice hurts my ears. Let's do 10 jumping jacks and then read a book."
Your life now
If you plan to send your child to preschool, don't wait until she reaches age 3 to start making preliminary plans. You might take one look at your training pant wearing tantrum thrower and think the idea is premature. But by planning ahead you'll be better able to investigate the full range of options in your community. Preschools can differ greatly in philosophy, policies, and the degree of parental involvement expected. It's smart to talk to other parents, and visit the schools themselves, to find the right fit for your family. Another reason to get an early start: Some schools have waiting lists or require interviews and you'll want to be on their schedule.
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