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6 tips to get your toddler to take NO for an answer

Posted August 22

They nag you, insist that you pay attention to every little thing they do, and although they say “no” consistently, they refuse to listen.

Who am I talking about? Toddlers.

When the "terrible twos" are here, you just pray you can make it out alive; but what if I told you I can make it a bit easier on you?

Here are six tips that will make this stage a much smoother ride than the roller coaster you were expecting.

1.“It’s to keep you safe.”

Children need to know why they are being told no. Just because they are young does not mean they can't understand if you explain it to them. For example, repeatedly slamming the kitchen cupboards open and closed is incredibly loud and annoying. However, telling your child they need to stop to keep their fingers safe is more effective than just saying "no" over and over again. Explain that their little finger could get slammed in between the cupboard doors to help them understand why you are telling them to stop.

2.“I know YOU know.”

Your little girl may not want to know that she is doing something wrong. Reminding your toddler that you know the difference between right and wrong (and that they do too) can help them listen. Saying something like, “I know you know this, but other children do not know they shouldn’t stand on their chairs. Listening to mommy shows them you are a big girl." can help your child actually listen to you.

3.“The sign says…”

Toddlers cannot read. However, most kids still get excited when they see words and try their best to read them. I don’t encourage you to lie to your children to make them obey, but gently telling your toddler the sign says to be quiet (even if it doesn’t) may mean the difference between a screaming child and a silent one.

4.“The dentist said…”

Involving another authority figure can go a long way with a young child. Saying, “Remember what the dentist said? Floss every night!” is more likely to have an effect on a child than just saying "listen to me" over and over again.

5.“We don’t have the money for…”

Explain to your child why they can't always have what they want. When there is a toy in the store your child is screeching at you to buy, firmly tell your toddler you can't buy it. Explain that you brought money for groceries and not for toys. This won't stop the screaming, but hopefully your child will start to understand why you are saying "no".

6.“We don't believe that is allowed..”

This is a great answer for your older and more inquisitive toddlers. When your little girl wonders why she can't run around shirtless like her brothers, explain your family values. Have your child learn by your example when you are teaching morals.

While these tips seem simple enough, applying them in the real world is a challenge. There still will be tears and tantrums, but applying these lessons will be incredibly beneficial in the long run - I guarantee it!

Tana is a student with a passion for words. She believes that written words can touch people in ways unimaginable. In her spare time she enjoys singing, hiking, cuddling in a fuzzy blanket, and spending time with her friends and family.

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