Toddlers Saying "No"

How to deal with defiant toddlers.

It's a Good Idea!

Think about how hard it would be to live in a house set up for giants-chairs, tables, and sinks too tall, drawers too heavy, stairs too steep. Making your house more child-friendly will enable your little one to become more independent, more resourceful, and less frustrated.

Saying the word no is a necessary part of being a toddler. Kids this age are driven by the need to make their own decisions, to be autonomous, and to control their world, and the way they express these needs is through the word no. If you're the parent of a toddler, you'll hear it morning, noon, and night.

Don't try to talk your little one out of it, and don't forbid it. “No” is not optional. Kids this age can be worked with, however. If you encourage their feelings of autonomy and power, you'll lessen the number of “no's” in your family. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Give your child choices so she feels a sense of control over her world. “Apple juice or carrot juice?” “Would you like me to help you into your stroller, or do you want to do it yourself?”
  • Encourage independence by letting them do things for themselves, and setting up their environment so they can. This may mean putting toys in bins, keeping cups for water on low shelves, putting stools near sinks, and generally making your home more child-friendly. It's hard for little kids to be as powerless as they are-let them experiment. (Let them experiment, but don't relinquish your supervision. Be sure that their experimentation happens within a safe setting.)
  • Enroll your child as your assistant. Let your child be a participant in family work and she'll feel needed and powerful in her ability to help.
  • Don't expect your child to always be nice, and don't take her “no” personally. Your child is not defiant, angry, or negative-she's a toddler saying “no.“
Please don't delete it