The fewer times you say “no” to your toddler, the less she’ll scream “no” back to you. Keep asking yourself, “How can I help my child do what I want her to do without saying, ‘No’?” Life can be more pleasant for everyone with fewer “nos.” Here are some ideas:
1. Look for ways to structure routines and play spaces so you won’t need as many restrictions.
Remove tempting dangers and breakables. Try to reduce time spent in activities that require your toddler’s patience or that might cause conflict. For example, long shopping trips seem to undo nearly all parents and their toddlers; try to cut them short.
2. Keep rules reasonable.
Your child is growing fast, but her ability to understand is still more limited than you might expect. She will press you to let her do things on her own, and that’s important for her learning. But she still may have accidents. She may break, drop or spill things. She can understand some rules, but not all.
3. Give your toddler independence practice.
As part of their growing independence, toddlers are often defiant and non-cooperative. You need to be firm but patient in enforcing rules. Look for safe and reasonable opportunities to let your toddler make her own decisions so she can practice her growing independence.
4. Play detective.
If your little one does something over and over that you have told her not to do, try to figure out the reason. Don’t assume that she is just trying to annoy you. Chances are she’s got her own very good reasons for doing what she’s doing. See if you can help her get what she wants in a way that is OK with both of you.
Sure, all this takes more time and patience and energy than saying “no,” but the long-term benefits are likely to be a toddler who is happier and easier to live with. 🙂