Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

There’s a reason that one of the first words your child masters is “no.” Children copy what they see and hear, and it’s an easy assumption that you are saying “no” quite often. But what does “no” really mean?

“No” and “stop” are often confused for the same thing, but when it comes to eliminating certain behaviors and promoting others, it’s going to be important that you recognize the difference.

Let’s say your child is throwing blocks. Saying “no” could mean many different things to your child who is still learning. You didn’t technically specify what your child should not be doing. More importantly, you likely didn’t mention what they should be doing. As silly as it may seem, being more detailed with your child offers learning opportunities at every moment. These same opportunities will be presented again when your children are teenagers.

A better approach to the child throwing blocks would be to say, “Please stop throwing blocks. You might hurt someone. Instead of throwing blocks, why don’t you build a zoo for your stuffed animals?”

Demonstrate the right way to do things, and top it off with a nice compliment when they do make the right decision.

Explaining why kids should STOP and rewarding good behavior with hugs and compliments will be much more productive than a generic “no” without any sort of clarification.

Make “no” a less popular word in your house, because even young children have the ability to understand simple instructions and demonstrations.