Have you ever gone head to head with a small child who’s just discovered the power of the letters “N” and “O”?!
A reader recently had this pesky problem with her 16-month-old daughter. She turned to our Facebook community of clever and experienced parents for advice.
#HELP! My 16 month old learned the word “no” recently, and it has become her favourite word! It’s NO to dinner, NO to getting dressed, NO to having a cuddle with Grandma … frankly NO is getting very old! I know she’s only little, but is there anything I can do at this age?
Here’s what our Facebook community had to say:
Banishing the “no” is all in the phrasing of choices and requests, many parents suggested.
Maybe provide her with an option, for example give her two tops to choose from in the morning, to prevent the opportunity to say no. Phrase things as statements instead of questions and finally if she says no to things such as cuddles then acknowledge her feelings and when she is ready she will come back for a cuddle. She is probably just experimenting with her new found skill. – Katie de Sapia
I just stopped asking questions that my son could answer with a Yes or a No because it’s aaaaalways NO! Offer options instead – do you want your dinner in this plate or that one? Do you want to wear these pants or those pants? – Carly Harms
Switch up the language
For some parents, being careful with language meant that “NO!” really did mean no at their house.
We did redirecting instead of saying “no” and made sure that when we said “no” it was really important (like running out onto the street). Instead of “no hitting!” We say “hands are not for hitting, they’re for high fives” as an example. We keep the no’s to a minimum so when it comes down to it, “no” is actually important instead of way overused. – Scarlet White
Suck it up!
Some parents said that life with a toddler is all about “NO!” and that there was no fighting it.
Our kids are going to tell us no for the rest of our lives. Some start early while some are late bloomers. It’s just life. – Taylor Gregory
Both mine said no from 8 months … they are now 8 and 3 and it’s still their favourite word . – Natalie Toth
Our daughter went through this as well, it does start driving you bonkers, it passes though. – Tarns Caspani
Some parents suggested this little girl was talking the talk, but not really walking the walk.
She doesn’t mean no. Half the time she probably means yes, but she likes saying no. My daughter and son both did this. I’d ask if they wanted a sandwich (for example), and they’d say no. I’d give them the sandwich anyway. They ate it. Lol. – Jo Oliver
I’ve got 14 months old twins that shake their heads for NO to everything but means yes, they just don’t know how to say it or show it yet. – Mariana Iuliana Smart
You can read all the helpful advice given, on the original Facebook post here:
This post is sponsored by Nurofen For Children