How many times an hour do you hear that “no” thing? One study in the journal Child Development, clocked toddlers as saying it up to 30 times in an hour. So what’s up with using the word, “no” so much? Well, theories abound! Some think the child is learning independence, so should automatically want something OTHER than what was just suggested. Others question if it is a brain maturing thing. It is estimated that some of the brain nerve cells may attach and thus trigger up to 10,000 more brain cells.
So if a message or idea starts in one cell, it would take a little while to send it all over the brain. And sometimes we adults aren’t patient enough to let the little brain process things. So, could it be that the toddler learns to blurt out “No!!” in an attempt to buy just a few more milliseconds for the brain process… to get the idea to other brain areas.
So here are some things to think about when your toddler is shrieking “No” at every turn;
- Be sure he/she is rested and full. Asking an uncomfortable child to do anything most likely won’t work.
- Give only 2 acceptable choices (“Do you want the red one or the blue one?” Or “Do you want your carrot now or after your milk?”)
- Make a game out of transitions; if taking a bath is a “No” event, see about starting a singing/marching game, and you end up at the bath at the end- with a choice of the blue duck or red duck to take a bath first! You can vary the transition activity. Lots of laughing and giggling helps!
- Use “no” sparingly – try to find other ways to express yourself.
- When “No” has to be used, say it firmly and lovingly and always follow through. With planning, other alternatives to hitting are much more effective, and long-lasting!
With love and brain maturing “No” will slowly decrease. Give that kid a hug!