If you, like me, feel like a broken record most days, read on for 4 alternatives to saying no that your children will actually respond to. And the best part is your kids will listen better!
Some days (a lot of days really), I feel like one of those Jack in The Box toys from the 80’s. My kids ask me to do something, I pop my head up and say No cheerily, and then hunker back down for another 3 minutes of solitude before they ask me another random question.
And don’t get me wrong…there are LOTs of times I say Yes. I wrote an entire post on An Inconvenient Yes….saying yes even when it’s hard. Doing something with or for your kids even when it inconveniences you.
So I do say Yes a lot.
But let’s be real here – Sometimes, you just can’t say yes.
And sometimes, you shouldn’t.
I mean, when my almost 7 year old asks me to hand her the tv remote when we are exactly the same distance from it…well, you see what I’m saying.
But I don’t like hearing myself say “No” all the time. Heck, I don’t like being told No! So I’m figuring my kids (and your kids) don’t like hearing it either.
Sure, “No” has its place in this role of motherhood…No is the right answer, the best answer, the appropriate answer for a Lot of things.
But not for everything.
So here a few things that you can say INSTEAD of no.
Alternatives To Saying No
1. Let’s Discuss This In ___ Amount of Time – Sometimes you don’t have to give an answer right-away. If your child is asking to have a friend sleep over, the quick answer might be an easy No. And maybe you will need to say No.
But having your child wait until, say, you get home from the store with your groceries unpacked, is not unreasonable.
Patience is a virtue my friend.
2. When You Have Finished X, We Can Discuss Y – You want to pull out every last arts and crafts supply we own in the house? Sure! but only WHEN you have cleaned up all the barbies and legos upstairs. Letting kids see that fulfilling their personal responsibilities leads to good things is a great lesson to learn.
3. You Are Getting So Big, It’s Time You Were Responsible For That – In the mornings before school, my daughters love to watch a little tv. And I don’t usually mind (I’m a big believer that the morning time before school be relaxed, calm and full of love).
However, I was constantly telling them “No! Don’t turn on the tv until you are dressed.”
“No tv until your teeth are brushed.”
“No tv until you have finished breakfast.”
Hint, hint – I was REALLY annoying to hear.
So finally I told my girls they were responsible for getting themselves ready for school. If they could manage to fit tv in, then great.
But at 8:30, the car was pulling out of the driveway, ready or not.
To my surprise, they did a much better job regulating themselves than I expected. Because they are still young and the concept of time can be elusive, I set an alarm when there was 10 minutes left…just to make sure they had time for anything last minute.
4. Let Me Think About It – If your kids are like mine, they can take any answer outside of “No” as a “Yes.” Heck, sometimes my 6 year old will try to twist my No into a Yes!
But saying “Let me think about it” is NOT a yes and it’s NOT a no.
Sometimes, our children ask questions that require more thought.
Maybe it’s a question we weren’t prepared to answer – Can you tell me where babies come from?
Maybe it’s a question that deals with how much responsibility they can handle – Mom can I walk the two blocks to my friend’s house alone?
So you may need some time to figure out what the right answer is. How much information you need to share. How much responsibility your child is ready for.
Just how much you are willing to let them go…
I can honestly tell you that my children have been responding to me a lot better lately. When they don’t feel that “No” is my default response, they tend to not ask as many questions that warrant a No.
And now they know that No means No…and there was reason behind it when they hear it.
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