It’s normal for a child to make all kinds of demands. They are desire-driven, they want everything right away and they have trouble controlling their desires. However, parents don’t have to give in to every request of their toddler. Their role is to give them what they need, including love, security, care, but also limits.
Saying no is not always easy. Many parents fear losing their toddler’s love, disappointing him or hurting his feelings by saying no to something. Some also choose not to say no to avoid having to deal with a crisis.
Find out why it’s necessary to know how to say no to your toddler.
What are the benefits of saying no to your child?
When you say no to your child, you’re showing him or her what your limits are, and that’s reassuring for them. When he knows your rules, your toddler understands better what is accepted and what is not. On the other hand, if he has too much freedom or always gets everything he wants, your child may feel anxious.
When you get your child used to experiencing rejections and following certain rules, you are gradually teaching him or her to control his or her emotions, to tolerate frustration and to take others into account.
Refusing something to your child also leads him to find solutions. For example, when you refuse to play with your child because you are doing the dishes, your child learns to deal with his disappointment, but also to find another way to occupy himself.
Also, by seeing you set limits, your toddler understands that it’s also his right to say no when something doesn’t feel right. This can help her assert herself.
Avoid saying no too quickly
Instead of saying no right away when you’re caught off guard by your child’s request, you can say, “Let me think about it. “This gives you time to think about the most appropriate response.
When to say no to your child?
Differentiating between your child’s wants and needs is a good way to determine if it is appropriate to say no. If your child expresses a need (for example, he is hungry or needs a hug), it is important to respond positively to his request. On the other hand, if your child asks for candy or wants to play on your tablet, it’s probably more of a desire than a need. It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to respond positively.
It is advisable to determine the rules that matter most to you and to apply them consistently. That way, you reserve your refusals for the things that really matter to you. Otherwise, you may be tempted to turn your no into a yes if your child starts to insist or throw a fit. This can encourage your child to negotiate and to react more strongly to each refusal.
How to say no to your child without guilt
Explain your decision. For example, say, “No, we can’t go to the park because it’s dinnertime and then it will be too late. “Your child will accept your refusal better if he or she understands it.
Work with your child to find an alternative or offer a choice to help him or her accept a refusal. Say, for example, “You can’t play with the tablet, but we can draw if you want. “
Starting at age 4, ask your child how he feels about his request. For example, if he wants to play with his blocks during his bedtime routine, ask him if he thinks it’s a good idea given the time. This gets him thinking and helps him understand why you are refusing.
Praise your child when he responds well to a refusal to encourage him to repeat the behavior.
Things to remember
When you say no to your child, you are showing him what your limits are and this is reassuring for him.
A child who experiences refusals learns to tolerate frustrations, manage his emotions and find solutions.
Before saying no to a request from your child, ask yourself if it expresses a need or a desire.