What should I do if my toddler says "no" a lot?
My toddler's favorite word is "no" and she says it all the time. What should I do?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

Saying "no" is one way young children express their growing sense of independence and power, which isn't necessarily a bad thing -- until they start compromising their safety, like saying "no" to getting in the car seat. Your toddler could also be testing you to see exactly what you'll let him get away with and what you'll stand firm on. Experts suggest using time-outs to make it clear to your child who's in charge and which issues are most important to you. When your toddler refuses to listen to your request, place him in a naughty chair or an area away from you and any other kids for two or three minutes (if you're out, choose a place that's away from all the fun, but still safe and within your line of sight). Although a toddler's defiance can be maddening, try not to lose your temper. If you're patient and consistent with time-outs, your son will get the message and the "no's" should start to dwindle from his vocabulary.

Copyright 2002. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents.com Team
Community Answers (6)

Why offer your child a choice when you can simply say, "Let's put on our jackets," or "We're getting into the car now." Toddlers say no because they like to assert their independence when given a choice. If you're asking, "Do you want to..." questions, not only are you setting yourself up for a resounding NO, you're also letting them "pick" whether or not to do a required task, which shouldn't be a choice. Give appropriate choices: "Shall we put on our jacket first or hat first?" etc.
Submitted by gretayoung1

Give your toddler options instead of asking yes or no questions. If he tends to refuse to put his shoes on, get two pairs out, "Would you like to wear the blue shoes or the white shoes?" Instead of asking if she had fun at Gradnma's, ask, "What fun things did you do with Grandma?" These questions let the toddler assert independence without having to refuse.
Submitted by sonja83

our 20 mo. has been going through the NO stage. it's mainly for little things - ie "did you have fun at grammy's today"? . she speaks very well so we ask questions and try to get her to interact in conversation. sounds silly - but i've been asking her questions to she'll always say YES to. ie: "do mommy and daddy love you" and she replies, YES. then i'll go through the family. I've definitely seen a change. she is answering yes to a lot of questions that should would have before yelled "no"
Submitted by jillrebert

Rephrase your sentences when restricting you child to not include the word "no." Use "no" only when restricting for safety reasons....like running out into the street without you.
Submitted by walkingalltheti

IT is easy to say no than yes
Submitted by surekharkamath