Parenting Tips: Alternatives to "No!" (for age 2)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Have you observe how your 2-year old child respond when you say "No!"?


Well, as for my son, I will have to say "No!" at least 3 times just to make him listen. This is because children of age 2 doesn't completely understand what's "No!" is. They might not understand that all we mean is to keep them safe and/or teach them what is right. 

We must try a better discipline approach than the "No!" word. Here's what we can do:

1. Instead of saying "No!" rephrase it to help them in the best way they can understand. Two-year old children respond better with positive instructions. Like I have already said, they don't necessarily understand what "No!" is hence you have to shout 10x or more for them to react.

In case you don't have time to explain or give positive instructions, you can just say "danger", "stop", or "stay away". This will give them a warning that it isn't really safe.

2. It is also good to offer choices. One of the traits of a two-year old is wanting to be independent. At this terrible twos stage, they think they can do anything on their own. If you just say "No!" they will just feel frustrated and may lead to tantrums. If your child wants to get the wet mop while you are cleaning, let him choose between a duster or a broom.

I also remember one morning when my son is asking for a glass of juice he saw inside of refrigerator. Since it's too early, I said "No!". This upsets him and demand for juice even more. What I did is offer him an option, "you can't have juice this early in the morning, you can have a glass of milk or a choco milk." He chose the later. Letting them decide for themselves will also boost their self confidence.

3. We can also try to distract them. A two-year old has a short attention span so we can take advantage over it. Move them away from the source of danger. Find an alternative thing they can safely play with.

4. It is much better if we can avoid the problem. As the saying goes, "prevention is better than cure", we should try to put them in a place where they can freely roam around. Put away from their reach all unsafe things like pointed objects, breakable things, electrical chords and the likes. In short, we should make his environment childproof as much as possible. We cannot really totally remove everything unsafe but at least we can lessen the arguments and the "No's".

Just recently, we have to hide my son's ride-on car because he already had fallen from it several times. Explaining how danger it is will not work for him so we decided to just hide it, then it's over.

5.  Since we can not totally childproof our home, we can actually just ignore minor violations. Children can learn their lessons through the actions and choices they will make. If you think they will be fine, then let them be. Let them experience the real thing sometimes. But still, don't just leave them.

I let my son use my hook and yarn, and watch him acting like crocheting (just like mom and dad, haha). He looks really cute every time he imitates us. 

6. Lastly if you say it, mean it. If all the above won't work then talk firmly but calmly with authority and a straight face. If you just it "No, no dear.", it will just confuse them with your message.

This is always effective to us, when worst comes to worst, haha. I will just say firmly, "Matt look at mommy's face." He will, then I will talk to him. It is not necessarily to show anger but to make them listen and let them know that we mean it.

On thing more, phrasing them after they have followed your instructions will help boost their self confidence. I always kiss and hug my son every time he did something good, and I can see he is delighted. So he is much inspired to follow us and do the right things.

Just remember that our two-year old always wants to impress us. Don't just say "No!" and discourage them. Let them learn the right and wrong, and not just the wrong.

Happy Parenting!