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.”
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!.
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.