How to say No to your child without actually saying a ‘NO’

Saying ‘No’ to your child is never an easy task and can be extremely challenging. Ensure that you deny or stop your kid from doing things that are harmful to them but in a kid-friendly way. Though you mean to say it for their own good, it requires you to talk in a language they would understand. If your child hears “no” too many times, it will gradually harm their language development and cause resentment. Try some of these ways that can be used to communicate with them:

  1. Divert the attention: From whatever little your child understands, as parents you must try and give them a better and healthier alternative. One of the ways to do so is by distracting them. To cite an example, when he tries touching the switchboard, distract him with his favourite toy or when he puts any harmful object in his mouth, divert his attention and replace it with something edible.
  2. Say a yes but mean a no: Sometimes a “Yes” Can Mean “No” too. It is absolutely possible to say “yes” while meaning “no.” For example, if your child asks for a cookie, you can reply saying: “Yes, after your meal, you can surely have a cookie” If they ask for a new toy while shopping, you can say “Yes if this is what you want for your birthday.” By doing so, your child gets to fulfil his wish-list for an upcoming occasion. He also gets to make an independent choice that will later help to develop his sense of decision-making.
  3. Reasoning: Try to express and give reasons as to why a particular action can cause harm. We understand how difficult reasoning could be with younger children, but alternatively, you can use feelings to express. Instead of saying “no” or “don’t do that” try saying “It hurts my ears when you make noise” or “makes me sad when you get angry or scream at me”. Show them how a particular task is wrong and how it can be made better. This option might take some time, after all its a child’s mind and all it needs is some care, attention and time but, is an excellent way to develop your child’s understanding capacity. Additionally, you also get a chance to introduce new words which encourages your child’s developing vocabulary!

However, we completely believe in the importance of ‘no’. With time as they develop understanding, it is important to explain to them what is right and wrong. Remember a ‘No’ should never be backed by anger and always worked with calmness. It is also ok to go completely silent when your child nags or gets angry. Try using a complete ‘No’ only when your child has developed a better understanding.


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