Stop playing with the word ‘NO’

If you want your child to understand the meaning of the word no, stop playing with this word. What do I mean by this?

A child needs to understand boundaries, consequences, and meaning of the word no. This starts from a very young age when parents start with, “No, no, no, no, no.” in a cute and playful way. I myself use the words naughty bum as a term of endearment, but this is something that I have stopped doing because when a child does engage in naughty behaviour the word naughty has a different meaning. It’s very difficult for them to distinguish this when one minute they are a cute naughty bum and the next minute their behaviour is naughty.

We need to be very careful how we use our words. When you say “No!” your child needs to understand that this means no. No can cause frustration, it leads toddlers and young children to feel disempowered and will ultimately lead to emotional burst outs.

For example, your child is eating a wax crayon, this is not a life-or-death situation, and it does not need the word no. So, instead of saying, “No, don’t eat the crayon!”, you can use a language pattern like, “Out of mouth.”

If your child is jumping on a sofa and you’re afraid they’re going to fall. Instead of saying “No, stop jumping on the sofa!”, use a language pattern like, “You’re getting close to the edge. Let’s slow down.”

Think of what it is that you’re saying no to on a daily basis. How many times a day do you say no to your child? These no’s that are kind of insignificant build up throughout the day and end up with an eruption.

So, I urge you to try and stop using the word no and only use it for the absolute non-negotiables in your home such as biting, pulling hair, throwing food on the floor. So that your child knows that when you say “No!”, you mean it.