We are not supporting this browser

Toddler Tummy

      Teaching your toddler to stop saying no
























      Helping you through the ‘no’ phase

      Have you started to think that ‘no’ is your toddler’s favourite word? If so, don’t worry. The ‘no’ phase is all part of speech development. How long this goes on for varies from toddler to toddler. But thankfully, there is something you can do about it.

      So here are some tips and suggestions to help encourage your toddler to say something more positive!


      Understanding why toddlers say no

      One of the reasons your toddler likes the word ‘no’ is simply because it’s easy to say. They’ve probably also learnt that saying ‘no’ gets a reaction from you. It’s just their way of showing you they’re their own person and asserting their new found independence. So in a strange way, it’s a good sign!

      Toddlers learn by copying what others do. So if you find yourself saying ‘no’ often, they’re likely to copy you. Perhaps you could try saying it a different way?

      Instead of ‘‘No! Don't touch the radiator,’’ try saying ‘‘Hot! Are your fingers OK?’’

      And instead of ‘‘No shouting at bedtime,’’ try saying softly ‘‘Shhhh, bedtime is quiet time, remember?’’

      Thinking of the right questions can help you get a ‘yes’ rather than a ‘no’. So give them plenty of praise when they follow what you say, to show that ‘no’ doesn’t get them what they want.

      Some do’s and don’ts to help keep those no’s to a minimum:

      • Say ‘no’ as little as possible so your toddler doesn’t just copy you.
      • If you need to tell them to do something, say it positively.
      • Don’t let them see that ‘no’ makes you feel irritated.
      • If you have to refuse a request, use phrases such as "great idea, we'll play that later" instead of "no, I'm too busy to play at the moment".
      • Ask questions. ‘‘How quickly can you get dressed?’’ instead of ‘‘Could you put your clothes on please?’’ And ‘‘Would you like to wear your red jumper or your blue one" instead of ‘‘Please put your jumper on.’’
      • Give them plenty of praise to back up good behaviour.
      • If you think they’re in the mood to say no, try changing the subject. ‘‘Let’s see what’s for lunch today.’’ Or ‘‘Where is teddy hiding?’’
      • If they say no, reply with ‘OK then’ and delay them by saying ‘We can do that in a little while, but first...’
      • Stay positive. Remember, they will grow out of the ‘no’ stage.

      Any more questions?

      Our specialist baby advisors and experienced mums are here to talk and ready to help whenever you need them. You can call us or reach us on Live Chat 8.30am-5.30pm Monday-Friday.

      Join the C&G baby club today

      Join the C&G baby club today

      • Weekly emails with tips and advice for your stage
      • 1-to-1 support from our dedicated Careline team, 8.30am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
      Join us now

      More from toddler

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.