How do you deal with ‘NO’ in your house?
I ask, because we could really do with some help in our house at the moment.
You know that phase where all toddlers begin to overuse the word ‘No’. Well, either Dollop has yet to hit that phase, or we’ve been lucky. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ve been lucky!
However, Mini was going through it when he first moved in, and over the last couple of weeks, has begun to exert his right to use it at every opportunity. The difference is that when he was 13months old and refused to remove his sticky little fingers from the flat screen tv, we could physically remove him. And let’s face it, at 13months, there isn’t much they can do that they shouldn’t, and often they don’t really mean no, they’re just learning words, mimicking and trying to push buttons!
But now he’s 5, Mini is stronger, bigger and more strong willed (but still trying to push buttons). What’s that saying – you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. And so, we can take Mini to the bathroom, or put him in his bed, or help him get dressed, but it doesn’t mean he’ll wee, or sleep, or stay clothed.
Mini says no to anything he doesn’t want to do. This includes weeing, brushing teeth, going to bed, getting dressed, getting undressed, eating, drinking, sitting, standing, getting in the car, getting out the car, watching t.v, playing, sleeping, reading, going upstairs or going downstairs!
When Mini is in the right (or wrong, depends on how you see it) mood, he says ‘No’ to almost everything. But the most frequent time of day for this is from around 5pm onwards, and it gets worse when it comes to getting ready for bed. 'No', 'I will not', 'I'm not doing it' and 'no, No, NO!' are the most common things that escape Mini's mouth! It makes no difference whether I ask or tell Mini to do something, the answer is still the same. And it doesn’t matter if it’s me or the NC.
Our happy/sad faces used to work. We’d move Mini down onto the sad side, he’d either lose a toy, or go into ‘timeout’. But now, Mini is saying it so often he’d end up at the bottom of the sad side all the time, and that would just be demoralising for him. We try to only use the very bottom of the sad side when we absolutely have to, it is for when Mini has been really really poorly behaved. So, how do we handle the ‘No’?
We’re thinking along the lines of not acknowledging it particularly, and using it to try (again) to teach Mini natural consequences – if Mini refuses to go to the toilet before bed, the consequence is possibly wetting the bed. If Mini refuses to come downstairs in the morning, he’ll miss out on breakfast and will be hungry. If Mini refuses to put his pyjamas on, he’ll go to bed in his clothes and get too hot. If Mini refuses to get dressed and put his shoes on, he’ll miss going somewhere nice.
But I am interested to learn what you do in your house? How do you handle ‘No’ with your child? I'd appreciate your comments.....