Stop Saying No: Why We Need To Encourage Positive Behaviour!

All children say no. All parents say no. But when it becomes a problem we need to stop and start thinking about how we can encourage positive behaviour.

Stop Saying No!

Alfie has a new favourite word. “No!”

It was driving me a little bit mad that he would say it at any given opportunity. “Do you want some food? No.” or “Do you want to play? No.”. Sometimes it was “Let’s get dressed. No.” You get the gist.

It started to become a bit of a problem at his childminders, he wasn’t playing nicely, he wasn’t listening and he was always saying no.

Do you know how many times a day you say no? We often ask questions that are a yes or no answer. Do you realise that you sometimes push children into saying things that you don’t want them to say?

We realised quite quickly that we were not helping with Alfie constantly saying no. We asked questions which gave him the option to say it. Therefore we were encouraging it without even realising. Whilst we didn’t want to encourage it, we were saying it too much and being a bit hypocritical expecting him to say it less.

How Do We Change?

How do you stop your little ones doing something you don’t want them to? As much as we would like to blame our children we need to start with ourselves. Once we start changing our language it will start to rub off on our children. Therefore changing the behaviour we don’t want to see.

By encouraging different words as substitutes we can change their vocabulary, which is especially relevant whilst they are learning, whilst stopping those words we don’t want.

With toddlers especially, distraction tactics are key! Their little brains are taking in, learning and doing so much at once, so all you need to do is encourage something more exciting. They will then be distracted from what they were saying in the first place!

Things Adults Can Say
  • “How about we play with ‘this‘ instead”
  • “Can we do ‘this‘, ‘this‘ and then you can do ‘that‘”
  • Ooh look, daddy is doing ‘this
Things Kids Can Say
  • “I don’t want to”
  • “I’d like to do ‘this‘ instead”
  • “No thank you”
  • “Please can I have ‘that‘?

It’s simple little changes that need to be made. Nothing spectacular.

We’ve tried this over the last few weeks. With a toddler nearing the terrible twos it was not easy trying to get him to change what he was saying. However, distraction tactics were key!

If you say to a toddler, whilst they are hitting the table with a Megablok, let’s build a big tower, I can almost guarantee they’ll stop. Building a tower is much more fun! It became that easy. For example, stopping him bouncing on the sofa was stopped without him saying no to us asking him to stop as we said “Let’s bounce on the trampoline instead!”

You actually realise that you are having more fun with them at the same time. So it is a win-win situation really.

Now I’m sure that once the terrible twos hit properly we’ll have more fights like this and more of the word “No!”. But at the moment we are enjoying less of it and having more fun together.

I’m just waiting for him to learn the word “Why?” now. If somebody has the answers to every toddler question asked, please send them my way in preparation!

Mummy Fox xx




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