Of course it’s hard to tell a toddler the word “no.” They are adorable with those big puffy cheeks that make you want to just pinch them and feed them candy all day long. But it’s extra hard to say “no” because if you do, they scream and cry and throw things and bite and are just little fits of terror. Really. The transformation from a cute Shirley Temple to The Predator happens in the blink of an eye. Parents, you know what I’m talking about. So I’ve devised a set of steps to tell a toddler “no” and actually get away with it. I’m not saying it’s going to be pretty, but it’s doable.

1. Say it.

This is first and foremost. If you can’t master saying the word “no,” then you’ll never be able to! I used to teach two-year olds for a living. They were adorable and sweet, well some of them were. The hardest part of my job was telling them “no.” They would scream, cry, and throw the biggest fit you’ve ever seen. But I said it. And that’s half the battle.

2. Follow through.

After you say the word “no,” you have to follow through. No exceptions. If you don’t follow through every single time, your kids will always remember that one time you said it, but didn’t mean it. So what you need to do is after you say no, ignore your child. Because 9 times out of 10, they will cry. And they will cry loudly. So ignore them, wait for it to stop, and go about your business. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I promise they will stop eventually.

3. Distraction.

Ah, distraction. Probably the best thing to do when it comes to taking care of children. Kids are so one-minded. This is both good and bad. It’s bad because they get upset at the littlest things, but good because you can get their mind off of that one thing in the blink of an eye. Apply this to the temper tantrum that is sure to ensue after you tell your toddler “no.” While they are busying crying over the fact that you won’t get them gummy snacks at the grocery store, take their mind off of it by telling them how much fun it’s going to be when you go home and watch a movie after grocery shopping. I’m not saying this works every time, but it’s definitely worth a try.

4. The bounce back.

Enjoy this part. Once your toddler is all smiles and giggles, it won’t last long. Inevitably you will have to say “no” again, but for the time being, enjoy this peaceful bliss. Even if it only lasts for a few minutes.

5. Start all over.

And the cycle begins again. The thing about this process is it takes a lot of time for your toddler to get used to it. When I taught the kiddos, they were very stubborn and strong-willed. The thing is, you have to be equally as stubborn and strong-willed. That’s the only way you will win the battle in saying “no” to your tot!
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About the author: Carly is a blogger for Smith Security, a provider of Dallas home security systems. She taught two-year olds for about a year before she had to move on due to a strong aversion to dirty diapers she developed.

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