Alternatives for Saying “No” to Your Toddler
Teach your toddler what to do, instead of telling him what not to do.
“No” is so easy to say, which is probably why it is so over used, making the severity of it seem not so severe. It gets used when our toddler tries to put something in her mouth, when she wants a cookie for breakfast, when she tries to climb on the table, when she attempts to draw on the sofa with a marker, and when she runs wildly through the house. There’s a danger in lessening the value of “No,” because sometimes, when you have moments when you really mean it, like when your two year old toddles into the street, your panicked “NO!” has no effect on your little one – simply because she’s built up an immunity to it. While your little one is still little, you should practice refraining from over-using “no.”
Treat your little one to an environment where you don’t have to use “no.” A curious, little toddler loves to get into everything, so teach him that some things are fine to explore, and some things are not. Tell him that certain cupboards are off limits, but allow him to satiate his curiosity by allowing him a special, safe cupboard (or boxes, buckets, drawers) to explore. Take him outside where he can run around and use his loudest outside voice.
Redirecting your toddler’s attention is an indirect way to say “No.” If she is doing something that she’s not suppose to be doing, like squirting lotion all over the carpet, instead of telling her no, teach her that lotion is for skin. Rub the lotion on her legs and arms, have her help you put it away, and then remove her from the scene to a different one, where she can play with her toys or with you.