Say YES More To Your Angry, Frustrated Todder

It’s not surprising that one of your child’s first words is NO.

That’s because they hear it ALL the time.

“No, don’t touch that.”
“No, that’s hot.”
“No, don’t play with that.” … etc, etc, etc.

And it’s not because we LOVE saying no (at least that’s what our kids like to tell us), or that the requests they are making are unreasonable.

In some cases, it’s just bad timing.

For example: Your daughter is feeling hungry (it’s close to lunchtime which explains why), so she asks for a cookie. (not an unreasonable request – if I was hungry I’d feel like having a cookie too!) So you look at the clock and and realize that a cookie right now would spoil her lunch. So you say “Not right now, it’s almost lunchtime.” (this is where the meltdown, whining or temper tantrum usually kicks in because she had NO IDEA it was lunchtime. And yet again, she got a NO to her request!) This makes her feel like her needs or wants are unimportant.

We (the parents) need to make regular deposits to our kids emotional buckets each and every day. And how we do that is by making opportunities throughout the day that allow our kids to feel that what they want matters (in a way that makes sense to them).

Here’s how you can use an alternative to the word NO (without making your child feel dismissed) and still provide the same answer:

Question: ‘Can I have a cookie?’
Answer 1: ‘Yes, after lunch.’
Answer 2: ‘You must be hungry because it’s lunchtime! As soon as you finish eating your lunch, I’d love to give you a cookie.”

Question: ‘Can I go outside to play?’
Answer: ‘After it stops raining.’

Question: ‘Can I watch TV?’
Answer: ‘As soon as your room is clean.’

Question: ‘Can I play with PlayDough?”
Answer: “Right after you put your lego away.”

Give a reason for your answer whenever possible – the response “because I said so” usually results in frustration.

This way of saying no usually keeps your kids satisfied because you’ve given them a way ‘get’ what they want.

*And remember, it is a lot harder to argue with a ‘Yes, later’.

Give this technique a try and come back and tell me how it worked out for you. And don’t forget to share this tip with your friends and family. Use the Facebook ‘like’ button below :)

Meet the Author

Marcie Paige

Marcie Paige is an early communication and baby sign language strategist who give's frustrated moms like YOU, the tools to stop tantrums, build confidence and replace crying with communication. To start teaching your baby sign language right away, check out her signature program: Adventures In Baby Signing - A beginners guide to using baby sign language to connect & communicate with confidence.