5 ways to say No to your kids without saying No

Updated: Feb 24


Saying 'no' to your child isn't a bad thing. Children need to have boundaries, however, too much use of the word 'no' will not give you the desired outcomes you are hoping for. The main reason to limit the amount you say ‘no’ to your child is because you want to ensure important commands are listened to.

Too many negative commands - like no, don't, stop - mean your child will not listen to you.


Want to know how to you tell your child no without actually saying 'no'? Read on for my top tips.


TELL YOUR CHILD WHAT YOU DO WANT THEM TO DO

This will you get you the same results as saying 'no' but might take a bit of practice.

If you want your child to stop hitting you or their siblings for instance, instead of saying 'no' remind them that 'we use kind hands'.

Instead of saying ‘no running inside’ try saying ‘let's use our walking feet’.


SAY YES!

Another way to limit how often you say ‘no’ to your child, is to say ‘yes’. For instance, if your child is demanding ice-cream, you could empathise with them how good ice-cream is and suggest that they can have it not today, but on the weekend instead. This isn't you saying no full stop that way.


GIVE CONTROLLED CHOICES

Giving controlled choices is a great way to avoid using the 'no' word and helps your child feel in control. It entails giving them a choice of two things.

For example, apple or grapes, both which you approve of, or a choice of two outfits to wear, so that they are not out in 5 degree weather in just a swimming costume!


USE DISTRACTION

Shopping with a young child can be stressful and you might find yourself saying 'no' a lot.

If you want to avoid them touching anything breakable, you can distract them with a question, such as ‘what can you see over here?’ instead of shouting ‘no’ - Making it sound as exciting as possible.


AVOID CERTAIN SITUATIONS

Avoiding places such as other people's houses' which are not 'child proof' can help keep stress levels low and stop the 'no' word being in constant use.

Avoiding the sweet or toy aisle in shops is also useful. Out of sight, out of mind!


HOWEVER...

I do believe that a firm 'NO!' is a must in certain situations and cannot be avoided.

If your child is in danger, they are more likely to listen to this, if at other times you rephrase 'no' as suggested in my tips above.

It is more about how the word ‘no’ is used and how you tell your kids ‘no’ - rather than avoiding the word itself.

Negativity breeds negativity but it doesn't mean that you should give in to your children and not have any boundaries.


If you have fair and consistent boundaries in place, it is fine to say ‘no’ when your child is pushing. It is a good life lesson.

Keeping the sharp 'no' for when they are about to touch something hot, or run into the road will work if you have used other ways to say 'no', as they are more likely to listen because it is not something that they are constantly told, therefore they haven't switched off.



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