Tired of hearing your toddler say “No”?


The first time your little one stamps his foot and declares “No!” you may find it cute.  But the cuteness soon wears off and you wonder if that’s the only word he has in his vocabulary. You can change No to Yes. Read on.

From No to Yes

We are very excited when out little one begins to talk. He says “Mama” and we beam, particularly if he’s actually looking at Mom when he says it. We find it unbearable cute when he holds up his arm and opens and closes his fist, or actually waves his hand, and says, “bye bye,” when someone is leaving the house. But then he starts to say “No.” Suddenly it seems that all we hear from him is “No.”

I was playing with a 13-month-old the other day. I picked up a toy and shook it. She laughed and took the toy and imitated me. This game went on for some time. It reminded me that kids learn by imitation. So, when our child is saying no all the time, it is likely because she has heard this multiple times.

Once children are mobile their curiosity kicks in big-time and they want to touch, manipulate and taste everything they see. So, we spend the day saying, “No, don’t touch. No, that’s not a toy.” No, No, No. It becomes our mantra.

Find other ways to let her know what she can and cannot touch without saying no.

You can usually simply distract a toddler. When she moves toward a breakable object, simply and calmly take her hand and re-direct her steps to something equally interesting. This isn’t usually too difficult as young kids are interested in anything new and particularly in things they are allowed to handle. If she continues toward the forbidden object, say, “That’s not a toy, this is a toy. Here, play with this.” If she can be careful, you can let her touch the object that has caught her interest, then re-direct her.

The more you can baby-proof the play areas in your home, the easier it is. Her curiosity is not only boundless but also important. It is how she learns. If she can safely move around the living room or playroom and safely handle everything in reach, she will be happier and learning more. And you will be relaxed and not constantly saying no.

Kids don’t listen to our complete sentences. They react to the last word. So, when you are out with Devon and say, “Don’t run,” he only hears the word run and reacts accordingly. Instead of telling him what not to do, give him information. What do you need him to do? “When we are in the library, I need you to walk.” Now, he knows what’s expected of him. When you tell him what he can do, he is more likely to comply.

Cody is playing with his friend while you are having coffee with his mother. When it’s time to go home, he asks if he can stay longer. Instead of saying, “No,” acknowledge his feelings. “I know it’s hard to leave when you are having fun but we need to go home now.” You are clear on the decision to leave, but when you recognize his feelings he is more likely to respond positively.

Substitute a no for a yes by explaining the situation. At 5 p.m. Carla asks for a cookie. Instead of saying, “No, it’s almost dinner time and you will ruin your appetite,” you can say, “Yes, you can have a cookie for dessert after dinner.”

Explaining the reason for a decision not only allows us to avoid saying no, it also helps our child learn about our reasoning. Jason asks if you can he can go and visit Grandma and instead of simply saying, “No,” you can say, “I need to finish this laundry today because we need the clean clothes. How about we phone Grandma when I finish folding these clothes and arrange a visit for tomorrow?”

There will be times when we will need to say no. In times of danger or accident we’ll say no and there are occasions when the issues at hand are too complicated for our child to understand but if we say no sparingly they will listen and know it’s important.

Changing no to yes can be a challenge at first, but it will soon become easy and you and your children will benefit.

Bring Kathy to your Community

Do you want to hear more? Kathy is always happy to come and speak in your community, at you event or as a workplace wellness presentation. On her website you can find more information on her material.

My presentations will share a basic value that I call

P.U.R.E. Parenting.

P — is a parenting plan

U — is unconditional love

R — is respect for your child as he is right now

E — is encouragement

Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.

There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face it, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I always have my kindle with me when I travel.

There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.

Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.

But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.

I am told the books are down to earth and common sense as well as easy to read. If you want some basic parenting tips and information these books are a good place to start.