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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Toddler Tricks - 103: It's Okay to Say Okay


Your kids move slowly and are incredibly easily distracted. You could be taking them to the most fun place on Earth and just before you leave, they'd want to play one more game, or splash in a puddle or run around the car giggling for funsies.

You're not used to this lack of prioritization and it can be annoying. Previously, I marched forward, rushing them into the car, saying no to every stupid (because, seriously, they are stupid) request and time-waster. Let's just get going, I thought. Why, now, would you want to do x, y or z. You had all day. No. No, no, no, no.  Of course, if you say no too often, particularly when they try out their new bartering skills (think, just one more, or just a little), they stop listening to you. Then when you really need it, like, 'no, stop screaming in the grocery store,' you're screwed.


Say yes sometimes. If it's not going to hurt anything, what's the harm? I've found that even if I've already said no, when they come back with a "compromise" (because, really, what kind of compromises do three year olds make? Not good ones.) I won't undermine myself by saying okay. And then I've seen them listen to the rules they set themselves. If they say, just one more time, they do it just one more time. This shows them that I'm listening to them, and not just putting them off (which encourages them to listen to me, too), it shows them how to communicate like adults so that they don't have to get to the screaming, crying, dragging, frustration phase, it shows that that when they do use words, they'll sometimes get what they want, and most importantly, it shows them that you are a reasonable person, so when you do say no, there is a reason. I've found my kids much more willing to listen to my nos, now that I also give them some yeses.


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