5 Ways to Say No Without Saying No

I always get a lot of questions when people learn I do my best to never tell my child “No” I also get a lot of assumptions.⁠

? They assume I let my daughter do whatever she pleases, with no boundaries or consequences.⁠

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Boundaries are necessary for healthy child development, for a million different reasons. You don’t need to ay “no” to set a boundary.⁠

? They ask how the heck I get her to listen to me?⁠

I basically explain to her what I expect of her and why. I have found it is infinitely easier to get my daughter to cooperate with what I ask when I take the time to explain it to her.⁠

? They wonder if I don’t say no, then what do I tell her when I need her not to do something?⁠

I can understand it can feel difficult knowing what to say if all you’ve ever known is using “no” put a stop to certain behaviors. But once you get used to it, it really becomes second nature and simple barking “no” at your child feel weird and unnatural, and honestly just plain rude?⁠

To help get you started, here are five phrases that I use in different scenarios, instead of simply saying “no”.

Tell them when they can do what they’ve asked

“We can play with your puzzle after we finish eating our lunch”⁠

Offer to help guide the appropriate behavior you’d like to see

“That’s not a safe way to use that toy, do you need help figuring out how to be safe?

Explain the reason behind your boundary

“We aren’t eating any more cookies right now because eating too many at one time may give you a tummy ache”

Tell them what to do, instead of what no to do

“I can’t understand what’s wrong when you yell at me. Can you please tell me calmly so I can help?”

Offer an alternative suggestion

“I don’t want you playing with my phone right now, would you like to read a book with me instead?”

Have you tried any of these techniques before? I’d love to hear how they work for you!

Wondering how to handle a specific scenario without saying “no”? Reply to this email and I’ll help you figure out what to say!

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