So how do you stop from saying “NO” to you child all the time. The average toddler hears the word “no” at least 400 times a day according to experts (www.redbookmag.com). “NO” is a word that comes naturally when your child is doing something wrong, it’s a natural instinct to say no…. but really it actually worsens the situation, it gives leeway to tantrums, fits, crying episodes and anger. So what do parents do? There are many ways to overcome this.
Here are some tips on how to avoid saying the word ”NO”:
- Offer your child choices: Don’t say “no”, instead give them a choice. Decision making helps a child understand the situation better then just saying “NO”. So, if your child wants to have ice cream for a snack and you would prefer a healthier snack, then instead give your child choices. You can say, ” you have a choice of carrots or apple and if you can’t choose, then mommy will choose one for you”. If your child is not budging, then go ahead and give him the snack you chose and ignore the tantrum or explain why ice cream is not a snack.
- Give an Explanation: If your child is wanting something and you know the answer is going to be “no”, simply state it, but explain why. For e.g. if your child wants to play outside and it’s dinner time, you can tell him/her “no not right now”, but explain “not right now,” by making him/her understand that it is “dinner time right now, we have to eat to make us strong and grow or “Maybe after dinner we can play outside.”
- Compromise: Your at the store and your child wants a toy, before you say “no”,compromise with your child and tell them “ok let’s make a promise”. “If you empty the dishwasher for a week, then I will buy you that toy.” Have your child understand that they cannot always have what they want, they have to earn it and also explain to them if they are younger that it costs money, the value of money and how you have to earn it.
- Decision Making: Ask your child if he or she has made a good choice? Then ask them why they feel that the choice they made is good/bad. This helps a child analyze the situation. It helps them better understand that the choice they made was good or bad.
- Think About What You Say Before You Say it: Before the word “NO” blurts out of your mouth, take a moment to think about what you are about to say. I know that in the heat of the moment you just want to say NOOOOOO!!!…but take a step back and think about what you are about to say and think about how you are going to answer and/or explain why he/or she cannot do what they are doing or what they are doing is wrong.
- Positive reinforcement (rewarding): So what do you do when your child says “I don’t want to clean up my toys!” your first reaction would be ” if you don’t clean up your toys I’ll put you in timeout”, or you would say “then I’ll just throw away your toys”. Well, that is not the way to go. Instead tell your child that “if you pick up your toys really fast, you’ll get a sticker or a stamp on your hand”. A stamp on your hand, or even a sticker are all positive reinforcements. It’s a way to offer a positive reinforcement for good behavior. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge the good things our child does. We forget to tell them “you did a great job by eating all of your dinner”, or thank them for cleaning up their toy room. We forget the good and sometimes only focus on the bad. We as adults need to feel appreciated and so do children. So just a plain old “good job” or a “thank you” makes a big difference.
So there you have it, a few ways to help you not use the word “NO”. I know it is not easy but just acknowledging and knowing what “NO” can cause can help you from not saying it. Try explaining, we sometimes forget that children “understand” that they are capable to get it if you tell or explain to them in the right way. Good LuckWould love to hear any other methods you use to communicate with your child without using the word “NO”!!