Home LearningPositive Parenting- Say No without saying No

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“ No, don’t touch that” “No, Don’t beat your brother.” “No, you can’t have ice-cream now.” Ufffff…Do we even realize how many times we say “No” to our kids? Experts say a child hears the word ‘No’  400 times on an average. Wow,that is huge! Let’s face it, even as adults we hate the word...

“ No, don’t touch that”

“No, Don’t beat your brother.”

“No, you can’t have ice-cream now.”

Ufffff…Do we even realize how many times we say “No” to our kids? Experts say a child hears the word ‘No’  400 times on an average. Wow,that is huge! Let’s face it, even as adults we hate the word ‘No’. Using too many ‘No’ not only creates a negative impact on our kids but also makes the word ineffective. When something is overused, the kids start ignoring them. So what else can we use instead of a ‘No’ to discipline our children in a positive parenting perspective? 

It is impossible as a parent not to say ‘No’ at times, but it will make life simpler for both of you if you can find alternative methods to guide your child. If you are tired of hearing your voice and the negativity it spews, there are some smart ways to say no to them without actually saying no. Now that’s interesting isn’t it. You can discipline and the child doesn’t feel like it’s disciplining. Win-Win.


1. Rephrase yourself to sound positive

Whenever you are tempted to say No, try to think of a positive way to express it. Instead of refusing to perform anything, attempt to concentrate and enlighten them on what they are capable of doing. Rephrase your sentence to say what your youngster can accomplish rather than what your child should not do. For instance, suppose your child is playing with a ball in the house. Instead of saying, “No throwing the ball in the home!” suggests, “Try rolling the ball in the house or playing outdoors.” When your child likes painting, and you are concerned about staining your tiles, rather than refusing to let them paint, place some newspaper beneath them and instruct them to be cautious with the materials within the newspaper boundaries.

2. Offer better alternatives instead of denying 

Your child desires to be independent and in command. Thus, rather than refusing them for everything, give them better choices to select. If your child insists on having chocolate before dinner, give them the option to have chocolate-dipped strawberry or banana smoothie. Try to provide your child with healthier alternatives as well as something that piques their attention.

3. Distract the mind of your little one 

If you suspect your child is about to ask for or create anything unusual or unnecessary, attempt to redirect their attention. Suppose you are in a store and your child’s attention is suddenly on a toy. Ask them what they would like to have in the meal after shopping, so they are distracted and do not grumble about unneeded wishes.

4.Choose your battles wisely 

When you are ready to say No, pause and consider what you are denying your child; is it so detrimental or grave for her? It is sometimes okay to turn a blind eye to minor mischief. If your child enjoys splashing the puddle water jumping and hopping from one puddle to another, why stop them. What is the harm in allowing kids to put on their best outfits to bed? Whenever possible, gratify her spirit of adventure, enjoyment, and discovery. Say “Yes!” if she is safe and no one is being harmed or inconvenienced.

5. Avoid possible tricky situations 

Keep your preschooler away from areas where you will have to say “No” to many things. Instead, choose secure places that foster her sense of exploration and curiosity. If you take your child outside, look for venues having enough space for them to move and play around like a park. If you are visiting someone sick and you want them to be on their best behavior, have a conversation with the child to understand the situation. Ask them not to go anywhere or touch anything before seeking permission from you. Make sure to praise and encourage your child for the best behavior, and you may also surprise them with a reward.

6. Modulate your tone to make them understand a real No

At times, you will have to say a firm NO. Still, if you find your child in an emergency, you can modulate your voice by raising the loudness to communicate the risk of alarming situations. If your child inadvertently picks up a knife or puts his hand in boiling water, you can use terms like ‘Stop’, ‘Danger’, ‘Hot’ in a raised tone to help them realize the gravity of the situation and move them to a safer place.

Now, that’s interesting isn’t it. You can discipline and the child doesn’t feel like it’s disciplining. Win-Win. There will be times when we must say no; thus, why not make a conscious effort to reduce the number of Nos in our child’s life, so lowering the negative impact and preserving the gravity of the word No?

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