Oh, doesn’t she look so sweet. My toddler, Maddie is sitting on my bed holding one of our puppies. Man, she sure does look happy and sweet. Yes, until I took that puppy away and put him with his mommy to eat. WOW, you would have though her little life was coming to an end. ”NO, MOM.” That’s what I heard, I don’t think any parents like or appreciate their sweet little toddler saying, “NO.”
If you haven’t already figured it out, the word “NO” is one of most toddlers favorite words. They love to say it, you hear it about everything. “No, I don’t want to eat”, when in fact you know they are hungry. It’s not easy to listen to your toddler tell you no over and over, day after day. It’s enough to make any parent want to pull their hair out, maybe even wonder if you did something wrong.
Take a deep breath, it’s okay you did not do anything wrong. There is a reason your toddler says “no”, and several things you can do to help that word no vanish.
One thing to remember is your toddler is a mini-me, a repeat. They repeat and learn what they hear, and let’s face it, it can be easy to tell your toddler no fifty times a day and no realize how much you’re saying it. “No don’t get into those cookies.” Obviously toddlers hear the word a lot, it’s easy to say, and it’s likely they learn what it means rather quickly.
Here’s a few things you can do to get your toddler to stop saying no.
Stop saying no. There’s other ways to let your toddler know they cannot do that. Something I have found experimentally useful is taking the time to explain. “Baby, we cannot pick the puppy up my it’s tail. It can hurt them.” That is much more effective than, “NO, put the puppy down.”
Open-ended question. Okay, this is something I learned at work. Asking open-ended questions doesn’t give a person the chance to say no. Of course we take this down to a toddler level, but it’s very effective. Here’s something I have started doing at dinner time. Rather than asking closed ended question, ask an open-ended question such as: “Would you like peas or carrots with dinner tonight.” That works much better than, “Do you want peas with dinner.”
Explain why you’re telling them no. Don’t tell your toddler no, and grab something out of their hand. Another approach is, “No, we play in the toilet. It can make you very sick.” Yes, I have practiced all these, lol. The word “No” doesn’t require any thought, it’s a face response and almost comes out automatically when our toddler is up to no good. Even words such as, “Stop” normally receive a better response.
There’s also “The Look.” Most of us parents have it, our children know we are serious by the expression we have on our face. It might sound a little crazy, but mater this look. When you child is doing something they shouldn’t be rather than shouting now, simply say their name and give them that look. You can even tell them something along the line of, “you know better than that.” Yes, let’s face it parents do have that look about them that lets one know they mean business. Do you remember that look your parents gave you, the one that made you stop dead in your tracks, put your head down, and maybe even say sorry.
Since we have “The Look”, you know there’s the voice too. Use the-I’m serious tone of voice that gets your point across. I’m a pretty easy-going mom, but when I mean business my children know it. I have a stern voice that stops then dead in their tracks. Yes, even my toddler. It doesn’t take long for your toddler to understand what certain looks and tones mean.
Ignore it. Let’s face it, they say “No” because they’re looking for a response from us. I ignored my toddler saying “no”, and added peas on her plate anyway. Smiling and laughing, even cracked a funny face that made her laugh. She ate her peas, and didn’t even complain. She did however ask me to make the face over and over again.
Understand what no can mean. I think this is something we all need to stop and take a look at. It’s so easy to get mad at our toddler when they shout out “No.” There’s also times when your toddler can be using the word “No” because they want something from you. They know they can grab your attention by saying no, they are not thinking of the outcome. They are thinking, they want a huge, kiss, to play, they want some attention from you. Always keep that in the back of your mind. Could your toddler be acting out because they need more attention from you? This is something that I had to stop and take a long look at. I’m aware this isn’t always the case, but it’s definitely something to think about if it becomes a major problem
While the word “No” is part of being a toddler, it’s important to pay attention. It’s easy to get busy with work, cooking dinner, homework, laundry, dishes, and everything else life tosses in our way. The last thing we want as a parent is our children acting out because we are not giving them enough attention. In the end, I really feel like our toddler act out at times because they need something and don’t exactly know how to say it or express it.
Just remember to stay positive and each day that passes you’re one day closer to them not saying no. That is until they reach their teen years, but that’s a whole different post, lol. I have a teen too, so there is never a dull moment at our home. I’m working on teaching all my children not to lie. There’s always something going on here, lol. The adventures of being a parent.
What are a few things you have done to keep your toddlers, No’s to a minimum?