Avoiding ‘no’ as much as possible – Aajol

Avoiding ‘no’ as much as possible

You are playing with your child and you watch your child move away from you and towards something. You realise it’s a glass object which the child never gets to play with and suddenly you realise that the object is within your child’s reach while you are far away. You blurt out “No, don’t touch that.”

Guess what happens next.

Most probable scenario would go something like this.

Not only does the child reach out and touch it but the child may also be mischievously/audaciously looking at you while doing that.

Many parents of children between 2 and 4 years of age would agree that they have experienced this at some time or the other.

This new wave of courage and strong will combined with curiosity becomes a hard combination to work around for parents.

The problem of ‘our child doing something just because we asked the child not to’ can be addressed in most situations.

Simplest is avoiding saying ‘no’. It is not as difficult as it first seems. In the above scenario, instead of saying ‘no’, we can try asking the child to stop for a bit, we can talk to our child about the same object or about how much the child wants to touch it while we move closer to the child so that we are around when the child explores the object and then let the child explore it while we remind them to be careful.

“No” can be replaced by “yes, and…” or “yes, but…”

Eg. It’s lunch time and the child has a toffy in their hand and is going to eat it. Instead of saying ‘no’, can you try saying “yes, but let’s have lunch first.”? (and make sure you give it to the child after lunch so that the child slowly earns to have patience as another outcome)


Observe your interactions with your child and identify all the times you can avoid saying ‘no’ and think about what else can be said there. (Note: of course all this is to be suspended when the child’s safety is at stake.)

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