What to Do When Your Child Always Says NO!

The growth stage that can try a parent’s patience the most is the one a toddler seems to have the most fun with: The no, no, no’s.

The thing to remember during this time is that it is a stage and, hopefully, not something that continues on into life. Your toddler is starting to push the envelope and become more independent.

In one sense this is exactly what you want your child to do because she is learning to stand up for what she wants … or doesn’t want.

Give Your Toddler a Hand

Not literally, no. We’re not suggesting that you do the thing you want her to do. But think about what you’re asking for and decide how big a deal it is for you.

Is your child rebelling about an outfit you chose for her to wear to pre-school? You want her to wear a dress and she would rather have on leggings? Combine them so that her choices aren’t cast aside or let her wear what she wants to wear.

If safety is an issue, then you must push a bit harder to get her to do what you want in order to keep her safe.


Sometimes getting your toddler to do what you’d like is as simple as explaining why in simple terms without lots of pieces to the puzzle.

Maybe she wants to play a bit longer. Chat with her and acknowledge that’s what she wants to do rather than bath time. Tell her she gets another 10 minutes play for bath time and see how that goes.

The most important part to that scenario is that neither of you lose sight of what you would like your child to do.

Make it a Game

Let’s say you want your child to get ready for bed but she’s saying no. Instead of getting angry, try to turn it into a game. Hide her pajamas and look for them together. This Mommy/Daughter alone time might be just the thing to get her to move along and feel special at the same time.

Turn Negatives into Positives


Think about how many times during a day that you say no to your kid. And, yes, your tone of voice matters. Instead of saying no, try flipping it on its head for a more positive spin.

Give Her Some Control

This tip goes along with the one about letting her wear what she wants to wear. Give her some choices and let her make her own decisions on things that don’t matter that much to you. These small decisions help build confidence in her future decisions.

Positive Reinforcement

Instead of cutting a potential tantrum off at the pass with a cookie or treat, give your toddler positive attention when she behaves well and does as you ask. And the reward is best done as quickly as possible after good behavior.

One of the most important gifts we can give our kids is our time. Make sure to build downtime into your busy day and play with your kid.


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