Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Get Your Child to Say No a Little Less Often

No no no, it seems to be every toddler's favorite word, doesn't it? The good news is, it is a phase and it does pass. Little C's favorite words for several months were "no" and "again" but thankfully she seems to have moved past that (at least for now). Even though the no phase doesn't last forever, it can get pretty irritating and so I have a couple tips to help contain the no epidemic (note that these won't help your child say "yes" more, just "no" less!).

  1. Avoid asking yes or no questions when possible
  2. Give your child choices so they feel in control.
Seems simple enough, right? It really is. All you have to do is stop for a minute to reword your request. Here are some examples.
  • Instead of "Eat your dinner," try, "Do you want to eat your pasta or grapes first?" (for mealtimes, it's helpful to have at least 2 separate options)
  • Instead of "Let's go brush your teeth," try, "It's time to brush teeth, do you want me to carry you or do you want to hop like a bunny to the bathroom?"
  • ...Or "It's time to get ready for bed, which should we do first, brush teeth or put on pajamas?"
  • Instead of "Clean up the blocks, please," try, "Let's have a race and see if you can clean up your blocks before I finish washing the dishes."
I think you get the idea! Unfortunately, none of these are surefire strategies. Little C has said "no" many times when it was not a possible answer to my question or run away from me or simply ignored me. But I honestly do believe that it helped keep her no phase fairly short and avoid any serious tantrums or meltdowns. And that is a win in my book.

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