23-Month-Old Toddler Development: Saying No
The only thing more annoying than saying no to your toddler 60 million times a day is hearing her say no to you 60 gazillion times a day. Unfortch, this irritating milestone is all part of growing up and, truth be told, she probably learned it from you. But don't feel guilty, you were totally justified screaming "No!" when she poured the contents of her sippy cup all over your new microfiber sofa. What you're thinking: "Repeat after me, kid: 'Yes! Si! Oui! Ja! Dah! Po!' (That last one is Albanian!)"
- There's good news and bad news. The bad news is that you can't stop your toddler from saying "No." It's part of the whole "Holy macaroni, I just realized I'm my own person" independence thing your toddler is going through. You can, however, lessen the number of nos you hear with some sly ninja parenting moves that'll make your kid feel more autonomous and powerful—and make you feel less likely to explode:
- Give her choices for everything."Do you want to hop into the dining room for dinner or crawl into the dining room (before I lose it)?" "Do you want to take a bath with your duckie or with your toy boat (before I drop to the floor with exhaustion)?" Always limit the choices to two, or else you'll end up standing there all day, a victim of another irritating toddler trait: indecision.
- Whenever you can, let her do things herself, even if that means she'll end up covered in ketchup with mismatched shoes on the wrong feet.
- Ask for her help with things you're doing. It'll make her feel important and, who knows, she may even actually be helpful. Hey, it's possible!
- Try to stop staying "no" yourself. Tell your kid what you'd like to see her do, rather than what you wouldn't like, e.g., "Pet the cat nicely!" instead of "No! Don't yank her tail off!" And try using phrases like "Stop" or "Maybe later" and "Not over my dead body" instead of "No." (Just kidding with that last one!)
- If you're at the end of your rapidly fraying rope with the "no" responses, take heart. As with most other toddler developmental stages, they'll eventually outgrow it. In the meantime, be sure to take care of yourself with a little downtime. Which means saying, "YES!" the next time your mother offers to take your tyke for the afternoon.
- "My son, is, well... let's just call him spirited. Don't get me wrong; I absolutely adore his energetic and feisty personality. But that's just it. He's energetic. And feisty. And he thinks its fun to tell me "no."
Even if it's something he really wants, I'm convinced my toddler would rather say 'no' to get a rise out of me than say 'yes'." Read more on toddler behavior.
Everything you ever wanted to know ... and were just about to ask:
Let your kid help you whip up a fancy, fruity kids' drink she won't be able to say no to! Buy It: Dr. Freud's Therapy Ball
So you don't go certifiable dealing with your defiant toddler. Cook It:Pasta, Beef and Cheese Bake
Cook up a dish your kid can't say NO to!
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All kids grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your toddler with so-and-so's from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your doctor at your kid's next checkup.