Skip to main content

How to Say No to Your Toddler

Don't let your toddler's crying or tantrums sway you to changing your no to a yes. Be firm and calm and say no to your child's unwelcome behaviors.


  • Step 1: Be consistent Be consistent with the rules you set. Be patient and repeat them until your child understands them.
  • Step 2: Limit the word "no" Try to limit the amount of times you say no. Use the words yes and no equally. Saying no too often can create a negative sense of the world for your toddler.
  • Step 3: Give options Give your toddler options. Let them know that they can stop the unwanted action or else face a consequence.
  • TIP: Give your toddler only warnings that you will follow through with.
  • Step 4: Give alternatives Give them alternative choices. For example, tell them they cannot play near the street but they can play in the back yard.
  • Step 5: Use distraction Distract your child and get them interested into something else.
  • Step 6: Remove them situation Remove your child from the situation if they do not respond to your warnings.
  • Step 7: Talk to your toddler Tell your child that their behavior is unacceptable and place them in a time out. Get down to their level and maintain eye contact.
  • TIP: Make sure they know that you disapprove of their behavior and not of them. Say 'I love you' after time out.
  • Step 8: Use alternate words Use a variety of words to say no, such as "stop" or "yucky."
  • FACT: The leading cause of unintentional injury in children is falls.

You Will Need

  • Consistency
  • Patience
  • Options
  • Consequences
  • Alternatives
  • Distractions
  • Communication
  • Follow through (optional)

Popular Categories