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“No” Problem!

You’re headed out the door and ask your child to put on their shoes and out “it” comes; the word “NO!”  

As a parent, you can feel the frustration surfacing when your child tells you “no.”  All you want is to move to the next step to do the next activity.  We ask our children to do simple things like “put on your shoes,” “brush your teeth,” “clean up your toys,” “eat your dinner,” and the list goes on and on. But even these simple commands, can become a major source of frustration.  

In a recent article from Very Well Family, we read that younger children say “no” for a few different reasons.  They may say “no” because they can, or because it allows them to feel in control or it’s probably a word that they hear often.  It’s great that young children are undergoing an increase in their natural independence development and that they can recognize what they want to do.  It’s also important for children to learn to listen and obey when asked to do something.   

Parents, you’ll be glad to know that there is help to battle the “no’s.” Patience and planning are key.  Prepare for switching activities or departing by giving your child a heads up in advance. For example, “We’ll be leaving in 5 minutes so finish coloring that last part.” When children hear this warning, it triggers them into transitioning.  Timers are great tools to help children be signaled that it’s time to move on.   

You can also bring a quick game into the conversation, like this; “Let’s have a race.  See if you are faster than me, tying your shoes.”  This helps children forget about leaving the fun thing they want to keep doing, and instead they get excited to participate in the next activity with their parent.

So, parents, take a deep breath.  Stay calm and remember planning and patience will help you tackle the “no’s” with a little more ease.

-Tameka Johnson, mom and Kids ‘R’ Kids Executive Director