No is said several ways, “No”, “Don’t”, “Stop that” or “Shhhhh”.
When your child does something that you don’t want them to do it’s easy and tempting to say, “No” or, “Don’t”. But if you say that often enough they will stop paying attention when they hear the word.
Instead, try giving an explanation. I love watching little people’s faces when you explain why and they soak it up—they’re just trying to figure out the world and giving detailed explanations really helps them do that.
If your child is jumping on the bed rather that saying, “No”, “Don’t do that”, or “Stop that right now”. Try telling them WHY they should not be making that choice. Tell them, “If you jump on the bed it might break then you would have to sleep on the ground and that would not be warm or comfortable”. Or, “Jumping on your bed makes all the blankets and sheets come off and get dirty. I don’t want to make my bed again today, do you?”
Or if they are eating while sitting on the carpet, try explaining why you don’t want them to do that. Say, “When food gets on the carpet we can’t just wipe it up like we can when it’s on the table or tile. I don’t want to pay to have our carpet cleaned when food spills and if you don’t want to pay either, then you should choose to eat in the kitchen”.
Church is the classic “NO” time. For some reason it’s tempting to say “Shhhhhh” when a child asks a question during a reverent time. I think it’s because we don’t want to be irreverent by talking. But chances are the more you “shhh” a child the more frustrated they will become, and that could get louder. Ask them if it the question can wait, if not have them whisper what they want and give them a quiet answer.
For example if the child is kicking the bench in front of them instead of, “Don’t”, try saying “The people sitting in the bench your kicking can feel it and it makes it hard for them to pay attention to what’s going on in church”.
If you are at the library and you child is treating a book rough rather than, “Stop”, tell them why it’s important to be careful with expensive books.
If you’re at the park and they dump sand on their sisters head… what should you do? YES—explain WHY that’s not a good idea.
Don’t throw the words, “No” and “Stop” out of your vocabulary. Save them for when your child is running out into the street or in a life-threatening situation where you need to act quickly – that’s where they belong.
A tip to help you break the “No” habit; if you start to say, “No” or “Don’t”, STOP, and start your sentence, instead, with “If” or “When”. Tune in next week for some examples and sample words you can use to help you stop saying, “No” so much and help you learn to be a more affective parent.
Use each experience as a teaching moment. Remember they might not know why you want them to stop and saying, “No” is no explanation.