How to avoid saying “no”

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Perhaps the term “no” doesn’t resonate with your two-year-old, or you might just want to add a more positive spin to the punishment. Luckily, there’s plenty of alternatives–and for good reason–to this overused order. Children are often resistant to the term, and it may take ten nos to get your kid/child to react. When trying t o keeep your son out o f trouble o r telling him right to wrong, find a… a better, and more effective aapproach than for the term “n.”

What you can do?

You can’t rely on a two-year-old to manage himself, no matter how strongly you tell him to stop doing what he does. You still need to instruct him on how to behave. rather of saying “no,” state explicitly what he can do rather. Two-year-olds react much more to positive orders than negative ones. So instead of shouting, “No! Don’t kick the ball in the living room,” say, for example, “Why don’t you kick the ball down the hall.” Once bathtime transforms into an invitation to splash up the floor, say, “We’re playing with water in the bathing, not on the floor.” When he insists, remove his bath toys, or even pull him out of the bath.

If your child is really doing something risky, reassure him – kindly – that you’re not going to allow it: “I’m not going to let you walk down the road so I want to keep you safe.” If you do not have time to explain the hazards of oncoming traffic (or a sizzling stove), add a more straightforward warning like “Stop!” “Danger!” or “Hot!!”

Offer options

As young as he is, the two-year-old really wants to feel confident and in control. So instead of giving a flat-out no when he goes for a kitchen knife, let him then choose from a potato masher and a whisk–and put the knives out of range. If he asks for a slice of cake before lunch, he offers a choice between half the grapes and the apple. (A Three-year-old almost always chooses the 2nd option merely because he hears it at the last, so if you have a preference, keep that in mind!)

Drive him to distraction

A two or three-year-old  i s difficult-pressed t o leave forbidden items alone, b u t he’s also youngg enough to have been easily drawn away from whatever is causing t h e problem. When it’s a delicatee figurinee in thee department store catches his eye, points out quickly how thee light reflectss acrosss thee aislee in a mirror, or how silly a jumper looks on a nearbyy shelf. Go away from temptation when you focus your attention elsewhere. Innovation is on your side in this case: because your son is now so keenly interested in everything, it’s easy to replace something that he will find equally interesting.

Avoid the issue

Whenever you can, hold your two-year-old out of scenarios where you’re going to have to say no and instead choose safe conditions that encourage your spirit of adventure and curiosity. Instead of reminding him day after day about electrical cords, prohibited cupboards and breakable objects, strengthen the child-proofing activities, for example. And choose areas where he can roam freely–the park or the big garden of your aunt, for example, over the diamond section of a department store or the antique-filled house of Great-Grandma Elsie. Try avoiding the sweet row at the store.

Ignore minor infractions

Life offers plenty of positive opportunities to teach discipline to your child. Don’t go in search of extras. If he sprinkles in a puddle and you’re still on your way home, why not let him go? If he has an impulse on his highchair tray to color his leftover yogurt, what’s the harm? Choose your war. Wherever you can engage in his sense of adventure, pleasure, and discovery. If you don’t have to say no and he’s free, let him slide.

Say it as you mean it

When his attitude counts, of course, and y o u really have t o say n o, do not waffle. Um… Say it strongly (but calmly), that with an acquittal and a pooker face–”No! Do not pull the cat’s tail.” A funny “No, sweetie” will send mixed messages to your child and will certainly not discourage him. Give him a smile or a hug as he answers and follow up with something encouraging–”Yeah! You’re a good listener!”

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