Toddlers and the “No” Word!

I recently read a blog post by Lisa Sunbury  about how often we use the word , “No” when dealing with our own children.

It amazed me,  especially as I began to listen to parents while I was out shopping and running errands …but more importantly I began listening to myself as I spoke to my own granddaughter during any given day.

I say the “no” word more than I would like to admit.

The word “no” should have real meaning when you say it especially to a child. If you repeat the word “no” over and over it really loses its effectiveness when you really need a child to listen.

Here are some of my tips to fight over use of, “No” with toddlers.

  • Try to recognize what the child is doing and call attention to it. For example…”You are walking on the sofa”.
  •  Next explain that sofas are for sitting or laying down…”we walk on the floor and we sit on chairs and sofas”.
  • Ask for his cooperation and help with keeping the sofa clean by not walking on it.

One of the hardest times of the day with a toddler is just around dinner time…it is no different in our house. Usually there are several requests for cookies or something that will spoil her dinner. Instead of a curt “No..no crackers right now” which then turns into a whining match, this is my new response,

“I know you want some cookies but we are going to have dinner in just a little bit…can you help me get it ready? You can have some cookies after dinner”.

Sometimes this strategy buys a little time but it definitely takes the word “No” out of the conversation.

Lisa Sunbury has some 6 Tips to avoid the word “No”.

  • Rephrase your request in a positive way: Instead of  saying, “No, don’t run,”  try, “Please walk inside.”
  • Let your child know what he may do instead of  telling him what he can’t do:
  • Ask for your child’s help and thank him when he gets it right:  Instead of,  ”I said no yelling!” try lowering your own voice and saying, “Thank you for remembering to speak softly while your baby sister is sleeping.”
  • Explain the reason for your request, and  state what behavior you want to see instead: Instead of  saying, “No, don’t________ ,” try stating,  ”I want you to_____________ because__________. “No, don’t bang on the table,” becomes, “I want you to stop banging on the table because the sound it makes is loud, and it’s hurting my ears.”
  •  Use “sportscasting”  to say what you see: Instead of saying, “No throwing food!” try saying, “You’re throwing your food. That tells me you’re done eating, so I am going to put the food away now.”
  • If your child is hitting, kicking, or biting: Instead of saying, “No hitting/kicking/biting!” try saying, “Hitting/kicking/biting hurts! I won’t let you hit/kick/bite me. If you want to hit/kick/bite, you may hit the floor (or these pillows)/kick this ball/bite this teething ring.”

Recently we have been watching the Disney movie, “Enchanted“. There is a short scene where, Giselle is complaining to Robert that he is always saying …”No”.

It takes on more meaning for me when I read this on Google and after reading Lisa’s post.

A UCLA survey from a few years ago reported that the average one year old child hears the word, No!, more than 400 times a day! You may, at first, think this must be an exaggeration but consider this…when we tell a toddler No! we usually say, No, no, no!.

via Google Answers: Hearing the word “No” as a child.

Lisa Sunbury’s blog is a remarkable resource for parents and their children. It is my hope this post which includes only a snippet of her work with kids and parents inspires you to connect with her work.

7 thoughts on “Toddlers and the “No” Word!

  1. Pingback: First Day of School for Your Toddler - What are You Feeling? | Sprichie

  2. Hi Loretta,

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips and your thoughts about them. I *wish* I could say that these came from me, but NO, my esteemed associate Lisa Sunbury is the true author! So, hopefully you can make the correction…although I’m quite flattered to be confused for Lisa.

    It’s great to discover your blog, Loretta!

    ~Janet

    • Hi Janet,
      Thank you for bringing this correction to my attention. I make every effort to blog with integrity and give credit to anyone’s work that inspires my writing.
      I made corrections to my post and apologize for the confusion.

      Lisa Sunbury’s work deserves to be shared as does yours.

      I hope you come back to my blog soon. I appreciate your thoughts.
      Lorette

  3. Pingback: First Day of School for Your Toddler - What are You Feeling?

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