When To Say “No”

Although tantrums are a normal fact of toddler life, they can be minimized by setting sensible limits – for yourself as well as your child.

Say “No” to frustration beyond your toddler’s tolerance limits

Children need challenges in order to develop. But a challenge could become a frustration. Don’t let it get that far, offer your child some help when you notice the challenge is becoming a frustration. Give exactly as much help as needed, not too much, it still has to be a challenge for your child. For example, if he’s puzzling but is struggling to get the right pieces on the right place, you could help him by turning the puzzle piece. But don’t put the piece in the puzzle, let him do this! If you notice your child is starting to get angry with himself, try to distract him with something different, for instance another toy, start singing a song with him or give him a hug.

Say “No” to overwhelming situations

Try to figure out what triggers your child of getting a tantrum. Does it happen when he’s hungry? sleepy? when he’s at the playground? when you are shopping with him? What are the most common situations? It is best to keep a diary when he gets a tantrum so you could understand him better and could help him with reducing these triggers.

Say “No” to junk food

Junk food can affect the behavior of your child. angry toddlerThe sugar in sweets and the caffeine in soda’s can hype your kid up for hours. This could increase the chance of getting a tantrum. Try to keep up in your diary what your child has eaten when he has a tantrum to minimize the consumption of this kind of food in the future.

Say “No” to misunderstandings

Try to understand your toddler. Try to encourage your child to express his anger verbally. If he can’t speak very well yet help him to express himself. For example when something isn’t working for him, when he fails to build a tower, say that you understand that he is angry, you would be to if something doesn’t work out as you planned. Tune in on his level.

Say “No” to too many rules

Don’t set to many rules. Rules like seatbelts and holding hands near roads are not negotiable, but a balance between health and safety and a happy day can benefit family relationships (and sanity). Minimize the amount of rules for small things and just set rules for the really important things.

Say “No” to too many choices

Too many choices could overwhelm your child. They like to make their own decisions and feel like they are in control but don’t give them too much space. Don’t set to much open-end choices like “What would you like to eat?” or “Where do you want to go?”  Instead ask “Would you like to eat a banana?” or “Do you want to go to the playground?”

Say “No” and mean it

When you set a statement, stay with it! “No” is “No”! When you set sensible limits for your child tantrums can be minimized. Don’t change your “No” into a “yes” when your child has exploded! rewarding such an explosion will only cause more tantrums. They will think that getting a tantrum will make them get what they want.

Say “No” to embarrassment

When your child is having a tantrum in a public place, don’t hit him to shut him up, don’t yell back and don’t give him his way just to let him stop this explosion because you are embarrassed. Don’t walk away from him to set a statement, this will only upset him more, because now he is also feeling abandoned. The best you can do is take your child and leave.

Say “Yes” to comfort

Eventually you know best what your child’s needs are. You will know when it’s better to let him be in his tantrum or when you have to calm him down, for instance by holding him. But always give him reassurance, hug him afterwards and tell him you love him, this means not that you are giving in, but you are just letting him know he is loved.

Read this interview about a great method.


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