Don’t Just Say No

I know sometimes it’s hard, especially when you catch your kid pulling all the books off the shelf or throwing his food yet again. No is an automatic response. The first thing out of our mouth.

Then, before we know it we’ve spent all day saying “no” and  now it’s ringing in our ears like an irritating children’s song (can anyone say This Is the Song That Doesn’t End?)

Next time you feel the “no” urge coming on resist it.

Stop and try one of these instead:

  • That’s not okay.
  • We shouldn’t _________, instead we should __________.
  • It’s not a good idea to do _________, because we might get hurt.
  • Instead of _________, let’s try ___________.
  • Right now is not a good time, but we can do that _________ (give a specific time and follow through).
  • Why don’t I help you with _________.
  • You should not throw books, but you can always throw your ball.

“No” is simply a quick way to correct behavior, but on it’s own does little to bring correction and instruction to a child. When using “no” statements it’s important to let the child know why they can’t do something. Ask yourself these questions,

Is it against the rules, thus always unexpectable? Will it hurt them, someone else, or the environment? Can you give them an equally pleasing alternative? Is it something you can do together?  Could you redirect their behavior? Is it something they can do at a later time? If so, let them know and follow through with plans.

What are some “no” alternatives you use?

2 comments… add one

  • patricia January 19, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Thanks for the reminding:)

  • Jen January 30, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I really agree with all of this. “No!” usually only comes flying out of my mouth if it’s something possibly dangerous and I need my little guy to stop in his tracks. It can be hard sometimes, but once you start saying things in other ways, it becomes natural!

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