How To Deal With A Toddler Who Loves To Say “NO”!!

How To Deal With A Toddler Who Loves To Say “NO”!!

The lovely Kerry from Kerry Cares Parenting came over and hung out with me and Pops last Tuesday. It was a very enlightening experience and Kerry gave me some great advice about getting Poppy to settle at night which has been a huge f@!*ing something of a problem recently.

I really do recommend getting in touch with Kerry if you’re struggling a bit with your baby/toddler as she has a wealth of knowledge and is incredibly wise. I felt like a new and far more confident mama by the time she left us.

Anyway, one of Pop’s new “things” is saying no to absolutely EVERYTHING!

Me: “Poppy would you like some water”?

Poppy: “No”

Me: “It’s bedtime Pops”

Poppy: “No No No”

Me: “Shall we go to the park?”

Poppy: pause….”No”

Me: Do you like using the word No?

Poppy: “NO!!!!”.

Admittedly this was quite cute and novel to begin with. “Oh she’s so clever” I’d say to anyone who cared (ie Mr UFM and my Mum) “She’s a  toddler with attitude and she knows her own mind. I’m so proud of her”.

Well the novelty has more than worn off now and it ain’t cute or clever any more. It’s driving me CRAZY.

If you’re going through something similar with your toddler, here’s some amazing guidance from Kerry which I shall put into practice once I have recovered from yesterday’s dog incident which I’ll write about later this week. (It didn’t involve a dangerous dog but involved my grandma and her rather horny sausage dog).

Right. To the matter in hand. Over to you Kerry:


You: Do you want some yummy breakfast/lunch/milk?  Child: NO!

You: Can you put your coat/shoes/pyjamas on?  Child: NO!

You: Do you want to have a bath/have a pee? Child: NO!

You: Do you want an ice- cream? Child: N.. ..Ah who am I kidding?!

UFM recently told us that Poppy had found her No! voice and was flexing it rather A LOT, driving UFM to utter despair and to the point of describing her as “out of control”. I can reassure her that she is not out of control and that there is not a mama in the land that hasn’t had this at some point maybe even to the point of her getting her nappy sacks in a twist over it. The No phase is a perfectly normal part of their development yet also probably the most hair pulling and frustrating one. It too shall pass but in the meantime there are a few simple things you can do to ease the frustration all round and ensure your hair stays where it should be, on your head!

Quit The Questions!

The first one is so simple when you think about it and the solution is surprisingly effective! You will only get a no as a response if you ask a question so quit the questions! Instead of asking endless questions that will require your child to say no, rephrase it so you aren’t asking a question. For example:

Let’s get in bath so we can splash.

Let’s get dressed so we can go to the park/do something fun.

Let’s get our PJ’s on so we can have a bedtime.

If they are really resisting add a choice on the end:

Let’s get in the bath. Shall we play with the rubber duck or boat?

Let’s get dressed. Will you wear the jumper or cardigan?

Let’s get our PJs on. Shall we read Guess how much I love you or Goodnight Moon tonight? It does take some practice but once you are in the habit of doing it you will find yourself doing it automatically!

Avoid Stalemate Situations

The word No! is often used when children and adults feel they have nowhere left to go, they hit the end of the road and it then becomes a vicious circle of yes,no,yes,no and so forth with no one going anywhere! Try to always have places to go that you have decided are ok. If you find you and your child in stalemate, step back for a moment resisting to shout the word yes back, plan your next move and help you all move forward by giving them a choice and something to think about. They won’t even remember why they were saying no in the first place!

Limit your number of Nos!

Saying no all the time will lose its effect pretty quickly. It becomes just another word. Keep the no for when you really need to use it. I keep the word No back purely for safety reasons and when they hear me use No they know I mean business. Using the words “We don’t” or even better “We can” are great replacements for no.

No Reaction

No is guaranteed to get a fan fair reaction from parents. If your child repeatedly uses No!,try to resist the urge to show how it makes you feel and ignore it. A child can’t argue with itself, or not for long anyway!

Silly Nonsense

Make a game out it and break the cycle. Instead of saying yes and arguing back you could try some silly words that rhyme, make up a song or have a tickle. My favourite is, in a silly voice of course, “Did you just say No…sense. Silly nonsense!” Then I’ll chase, race or tickle them to the bathroom/loo/bedroom.


More advice from Kerry:

For babies who refuse food

For new parents


UFM xx





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