Make a “No” to Your Kids More Effective, By Saying it Less


This morning, this whole interaction just happened without me really thinking about how to direct it.


Breakfast time. The table is still a mess. The counter too. Dishwasher still needs to be emptied. Floor crumbly and sticky. Yep. Breakfast time.


Tristan (age 2): Mommy? Can I do a painting project right now?

Me: That sounds like a great idea for after we get the kitchen cleaned up.

Tristan (happily): OK!


After this transpired, I remembered that I had read about alternatives to saying “no” to kids. Tristan asked, “Can I paint now?”. The answer was “no”… There was no room to set it up. And for me, introducing one more mess in the middle of messy mess is not my favorite. But instead of saying, “no” I offered an answer that made us both happy and didn’t cause a temper tantrum.

It made me realize, there’s lots of good alternatives to a “no”. And it doesn’t have to mean being a doormat for your kids. And it doesn’t mean feeling like a big negative meany-pants all the time either.


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