Now that your children are becoming more mobile you might be hearing yourself say “no” more often – or at least I do! ☺ Many children at this age are beginning to understand the concept of stopping a negative action when someone says “no”. They may cease doing the activity for a few seconds and return to it right away, which of course can be frustrating for the caregivers. Here are some ways to help with the concept of “no” or decrease negative/harmful behavior in general.
Use positive language – instead of always saying “no” you can spin it in a positive way; if your child is scratching or pulling hair say “put your hands down” or “nice touch” and show them how to gently touch people.
Firm tone – if you are going to use “no” make sure you are using a firm voice so they know you mean business otherwise they will have a difficult time differentiating between positive and negative behavior.
Be consistent – if you said “no” to something once and you do not want the behavior to reoccur make sure you are consistent; if you allow them to engage in the activity again they will think it is okay and keep doing it or throw a tantrum when you are not allowing them to take part in a negative behavior.
Use basic language to explain – you can accompany “no” with a brief explanation of what is expected; if your child is taking vegetables out of the refrigerator you can say “No that belongs in the refrigerator. We have to keep it cold”; this explains WHY you are saying “no” and gives the word more meaning; our children may be young but they understand more than we think!
Redirect your child/ignore – sometimes the best technique is to ignore the behavior completely and redirect them with something motivating whether it be a song, book, toy, or snack.