When to Say No and When to Try Something Else

Are you saying “no” to your toddler more often? It probably means she is developing and exploring, which is a good thing! Saying “no” all the time, however, is not such a good thing.

Say the word too often and your little one may end up not taking it seriously. Save “no” for potential dangers (a hot stove or an electric socket) or for truly unacceptable behavior (biting, for example).

What About Other Circumstances?

Support your child’s need to explore by providing a safe environment in which to play and learn. Removing potential dangers and replacing them with safe, interesting and age-appropriate objects and activities works a lot better than saying “no” to your curious kid all the time. And it allows the learning that comes with exploration.

When Toddlers Say ‘No’

A child’s 'no phase' is a tough one for parents and toddlers. They say “no” a lot, you say no a lot, and everyone ends up frustrated. How do you move this dynamic from negative to positive? 

Try phrasing things differently. Rather than commanding your child to get or do something, ask them to do it. They’ll likely respond more favorably if they feel like they’re helping or making up their own mind.

Try offering choices, as well: Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue one today? Do you want to put this toy away first, or that one?

There are a lot of techniques to make the “no years” less daunting. Don’t give up!

See also ...

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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