Other Ways To Say "No" To Your Toddler

alternatives to saying no to your toddler

Your toddler hates the word "no"

Everyone hates being told they can’t do something and your toddler is no exception (and lets face it, they get told “no” a lot).

How often do you tell your toddler "no"?

For a little experiment, count how many times in one day you say no to your toddler. It’s no wonder it’s their favourite word.

Sometimes “no” has to be used, as your toddler needs to learn what is acceptable and what is not. However there are times when you can avoid saying the word no to your toddler and the following temper tantrum.

Treat your toddler like they are growing up

It is important that you don’t treat your toddler like a baby. They are growing up (even if you don’t like that fact). If you keeping telling your toddler “no” and treating them like a baby, they will act like a baby and this is where you see the tantrums and shouting. It is because they want to be listened to; they want you to respect their opinions.

So here are some ways you can tell your toddler “no” without having to deal with the drama and upset.

Improve your toddlers speech to help
improve your toddlers behaviour.

Alternatives to telling your toddler "no"

“Yes, but later”

For example, “yes you can go out and play but later when it is dry because it has been raining and I don’t want you to get all muddy” or “yes we can go to the farm after Daddy has sorted out the washing”.

Make sure you give your toddler a reason as to why it must be later and not now, they are growing up, so treat them accordingly.

“After we have done…”

This follows nicely on from “yes but later”.

This is always a good one if you are happy for your toddler to do something but they can’t do it there and then (e.g. your toddler wants to play outside but you want to go to the shops).

Explain to your toddler that if they are good when they are at the shops, you will reward them by letting them play outside. This means your toddler has an incentive to be good at the shops and you get a peaceful shop and five minutes peace when you get home.

“Let me think about it”

You are not saying no, you are not saying yes. If you have to think about something then make sure you justify your decision with a reason. For example “You were such a brave boy at nursery today, as a treat I will buy you that toy you asked for last week”.

You are giving your child an incentive to behave well. If your intentions are to say no, don’t use this line. It only works if you let your toddler have their way every now and again.

Learn about the terrible twos and
improve your toddlers behaviour.

“Yes but you have to pay for it”

If your toddler wants an ice cream when the ice cream truck comes round, tell them they can earn the money for it.

Give your toddler tasks to do (make sure the tasks are inline with your toddlers ability – polishing the best china plates wont go down well), for example putting their toys in the box will earn them 50p, helping you put the clothes in the washing machine could be another 50p.

The tasks you set your toddler should be simple, achievable and realistic. Remember this is an alternative to saying no to your toddler, so give them a chance to earn what they want.

“If you do this first”

As your toddler is growing up they will realise what they want and will want to get it. One of these things is they want to feel more grown up. So if they want to go to the park, why not say to them that you are more than happy to take them, but they must put their toys away first.

This way you are teaching your toddler to become independent, you are getting them to help you out and best of all, you get their full co-operation and don’t have to say no to them.

What you can do instead

It is not always possible to do everything that your toddler wants, there is not enough time and money in a day and the weather and other factors play a big part. So if your toddler wants to go to the park, but it is raining, why not suggest going to the local indoor play area instead? Ask your toddler what else they would like to do.

Understand your toddlers frustration to the word "no"

By giving your toddler the the choice of another option, you are making them feel grown up and that you are listening to them, so you should be able to avoid the dreaded terrible twos temper tantrum.

Find how how you can communicate with your toddler and understand your toddlers behaviour.