How can I get my toddler to stop saying “NO, NO, NO”? Every time we ask our two year old a question he responds with “No”. It is driving us up the wall!
It can be extremely frustrating when your two‐year‐old mimics your words. Your toddler has heard you (and others around him) using the word no frequently and it is an easy and powerful word to repeat over and over and over again. As infuriating as this is, it is important to understand that this behaviour is completely age appropriate. It is your child’s way of learning to think and experimenting with his or her independence by deciding what he does or does not want. Your child is at an age where they are separating from you and testing the boundaries to see what they can and cannot get away with.
Follow the simple steps below and you should find that your “no” loving toddler turns into a “yes” child very soon.
Step 1: Remind yourself that this is just a phase. As your toddler develops a wider vocabulary they will learn new words and will not need to use the word “no” as frequently.
Step 2: Pick your battles. You don’t want every interaction to turn into a power struggle. If it is something as simple as letting your toddler wear a different pair of shoes than the one you want them to wear then give in to their requests.
Step 3: Eliminate the word “no” completely. It is not only the toddler that needs to stop using the word no, it is the entire family. The less your child hears the word the less likely they are to repeat it.
Step 4: Replace the word “no” with long phrases. Try things like, “Do not touch that please” or “If you keep doing that you are going, to hurt yourself”. This phrase contains a lot more words which is harder to repeat and also exposes your child to a wider vocabulary.
Step 5: Avoid questions with a yes or no response. Use statements that allow your toddlers to make a choice. Instead of saying, “let’s go for a bath and then brush our teeth before bed” say, “Do you want to go for a bath first or brush your teeth first?” This provides them with options.
Step, 6: Praise your child. If your child successfully makes a choice without throwing a tantrum or using the word “no” then praise them. You can say, “I really like that you made a choice. I think it’s a good idea to have a bath first and then brush our teeth”.
Step 7: Take a deep breath and relax. All children go through stages that are hard for parents to handle. This is just one phase, and you will get through it just like you have gotten through all the other phases.