If you’re anything like me, there are certain days where you’re sick of hearing yourself say “no” every five minutes. It’s definitely the quickest and easiest way to get your point across. But is it the most effective? In today's parenting tip, we'll look into how to say no to your child without saying no!
8 Ways To Say No To Your Child Without Saying No!
We obviously have to say it, but what if we tried to limit the “no’s” to when they were really needed? What’s more, the more we say it, the less impact it has as kids become almost desensitized to the word. So today, we're going to explore 10 ways to say “no” without saying it!
- Distractions: When they’re exhibiting negative behaviors, for example, you see them approaching a tower of building blocks that their brother just built (with a mischievous glint in their eye), instead of shouting NO!!, try to distract them instead. Hand them a toy to play with, or ask to show them something. Throw them off the course of mischief by offering them something better/more fun.
- Say Yes… kind of: They don’t want to go to bed, they want to stay up late and finish playing with their favorite toy. Instead of saying “No, it’s bedtime, go to bed” - let’s say yes! “Yes I get it,” [validate their feelings] “I’d love to stay up late too but we need to get up early in the morning. How about I let you stay up 20 mins later on Friday?” Or maybe they're hankering for another sugar treat, try; “You want to have another cookie? How about I save it for you for tomorrow to have after lunch, and if you’re still hungry now, why don’t we go choose a healthy snack?” or “yes, you can have a cookie after dinner, let’s go get an apple for now.”
- Opposites: maybe instead of saying “stop pulling the dog’s tail/hitting your brother”, try “show me how gentle you are”. Instead of “stop getting up from the table””, try “let’s see you nicely you can sit during dinner!”
- Cause & Effect: Instead of saying “no you can’t shout in the house”, try “it hurts mommy’s head when you shout so loudly”. Or when we're tempted to yell; "STOP BANGING THE TOY ON THE TABLE!!!" try; “the toy might break if you bang in on the table.” Help them understand the reasons behind your decisions and what impact their actions have.
- Choices: If they want to kick the ball in the house, instead of “no” explain why (might break something) and offer them an alternative choice – "either take the ball and play outside or you can play here and roll it on the floor." Empower them to make the decision and set them up for success by offering realistic (but just as fun) choices.
- Redirection: if your child is being too rough with the dog, gently guide their hand to a soft petting motion. Repeat this until they start doing it naturally. If your child is banging their hands on the table, place a pillow under their hands, so they can still get their wiggles out (young kids can have extra energy that they can’t always control) but they don’t risk hurting themselves or your ears!
- Make it fun: They want more candy? Turn into the candy monster and chase them around (hopefully they’ll forget they wanted more candy or will have so much fun that they don’t mind when you decline their request!). They want to go to the park but it’s pouring with rain? Bring the park to you! Create an at home obstacle course with chairs and pillows and whatever else you find!
- And lastly, pick your battles! We need to remember that kids are mini humans who haven’t developed self discipline and don’t yet understand how to control their emotions or manage their expectations. We can all get grumpy at times, we are all tempted to have that second cookie, we all want to continue doing what we’re doing instead of getting dressed and going to school/work. Understand why they may not be happy with your decision and try to pick your battles. If they’re acting out because they’re overtired or bored maybe loosen the reins a little on your own expectations of their behavior that day.