The boy is a toddler, a very typical toddler, and so he's recently started one of my most hated toddler traits – whining. While I hate it, it doesn't grate on my nerves or drive me to distraction, it just annoys me to no end. The whiny repetition of phrases just doesn't get anywhere with me, and thankfully the boy basically knows this.
He understands that whining won't get him anything, and that if he asks in a whiny voice more than once or twice, I just ignore what he's saying. But that doesn't mean that when he's tired or crabby the whine doesn't appear. It also comes out when he's frustrated, so accompanying the whine, there's often the pathetic pouty toddler face to go with it.
I've noticed lately that the boy likes to make sure that everyone knows the rules. So he will stop when we are playing and say “now Mummy, the rules are” and then proceed to tell me something (quite often a bit bizarre and not related to what we're doing). He also gets upset if other people don't obey the rules. If his friends are doing something he's not allowed to, he gets quite worried and has to come and tell me that they're not following the rules. The downside is that when he catches us doing something he's not allowed to do, such as throwing clothes into the laundry hamper, we get told off by him!
Using this love of rules is what works now to stop excessive whining. If after a few tries he's still whining, I just whine back at him. He stops, looks at me and says “Mummy, we don't whine” and that's enough of a reminder for him that it usually stops him too. Who knows how long this will last and what I'll have to come up with next to stop the whine. Whatever we come up with though, I'd prefer it not involve being scolded by my son!