How to Turn your No’s into YES!

So in this post I’ll be giving you some examples of how to say Yes to your kids and why

it is so important!

Did you know that according to statistics most toddlers hear the word ‘no’ over 400 times a day.  That must be pretty frustrating.  I wonder how we would feel if we lived with someone that was continually telling us ‘no’?  And not just to minor things, but to things that we really really wanted to do, and that were really really important to us!  I think most of us would leave, walk out, find someone a little more easy to live with and a little more understanding, a little less concerned with their own agenda.

It must be hard to be the average toddler, as he or she can’t leave, and they really don’t understand why they have their enthusiasm and drive squashed so much.  So in my opinion it is our job as parents to be their partner in navigating the world.  Not to just idly sit by and tell them ‘no’. – the ultimate couch potato parent which we are all guilty of from time to time!  :) But to find the Yes’s in as many situations as possible.

So how do we do that and what does that mean?

Well, I guess there are two types of ‘no’. The ‘no’ that means danger, there’s something that can potentially can go wrong.  And the ‘no’ that means, its not convenient for us or we think its wrong or bad somehow.  Let me give you an example of each and how you can turn it round.

Danger – No

So first the danger ‘no’.  Your toddler is jumping on the couch, your scared they’ll fall.  First initial reaction is ‘Stop jumping on the couch you could hurt yourself!’.

Turn around:  ‘You want to play jumping?  Here let me help you.’ – You either stand nearby in case they fall, and or put quilts and pillows on the floor for a soft landing.  (Depending on the danger of the situation obviously).

This is the harder of the two, as it normally means we have to be more physically engaged with our kids.  And when I say harder I mean in the sense that as most parents, we have a million a one other things we are probably doing, we maybe exhausted, moody, in a rush.  Kids really give us a reminder to be in the moment and this type of ‘No’ can really challenge us to become actively engaged and go the extra mile for our children to make their life better.  But then they are people we love right?  :)

Inconvenient or Wrong No

You child asks for a cookie.  First initial reaction is normally, ‘No, you can wait till after dinner (or a certain time) for cookies’

Turn around: ‘Yes you can have a cookie after dinner.’

This is more easy and normally just about changing language.  You could also just change your mind if you challenge your beliefs a little about what it is you are actually saying ‘no’ to. :)  It will work for anything that you can’t immediately do in the moment.  Like go to the park, or play a certain game with them.  It is important when you say that you are going to do this ‘thing’ or they can ‘have’ something at a certain time that you follow through though as that will create trust.

And if you haven’t done this in the past, stick it out for a while as your child will take a while to realise this is the ‘new’ you.

I have always tried to be as Yes as possible with my kids.  (Not always possible of course).  But I do find that my 2 year old is actually quite understanding of a No.  For example when his favorite programme isn’t on TV and I really can’t get it on catch up or anywhere!  I think this is because he trusts me that I am trying my best to give him the Yes’s, and like I said, that comes with trust through repetition.

What do you think about saying Yes more to your kids?  Do you find it makes a difference in the way they are?  Would love to hear your thoughts and comments below!


Emma Combes

Emma helps parents overcome the automatic negative reactions that are stopping them from parenting consciously and with love through her coaching practice. She also helps parents live the most awesome life in all areas, so they can know they were the best role model they could be for their children.

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  • Clare Kirkpatrick

    Loved this – sharing it on my Sharing Sunday post this week :)

    • Emma Combes @ Consciousmama

      Thankyou Claire!  Thats great!  :)

  • Sarah Barnard

    Definitely agree with you. My DH is very No driven. He just says it with no thought at all..more often than not, there is no reason toher than No requires less effort than facilitating a yes.

    • Emma Combes @ Consciousmama

      Hi Sarah!  Its true, I think we can all be guilty of the ‘less effort’ way at times.  :)  Have you mentioned it to him?

  • Anonymous

    Great post! I think it is all about allowing for choices as much as possible. You pretty much do this with the cookie example. You could say, “you can have one cookie now (before dinner) or after dinner…your choice”. This gets kids thinking about how to make the best choices for them and lets you be a guide in their lives.

    • Emma Combes @ Consciousmama

      Thanks Kidzinky!  I agree its great to get kids making their own desicions too, really empowers them, and helps them learn this skill.  Something a lot of the time gets taken away from children,  :)

  • Kathryn Plasencia

    I do this, too. For instance, the other day my 5 year old asked, “Mommy, may I have cake?”
    I answered, “Yes.” 
    His next question was (and always is), “Right now?”
    In this cake I had to say, “Well, I’m fixing lunch right now, but it will be snack time in a couple hours.”
    It’s amazing what a difference there is in my kids’ reactions when I use this tactic rather than, “No. Wait until later.”

    • Emma Combes @ Consciousmama

      Yes Kathryn,  I’ve noticed the same in my son too.  For me I think they feel like your on their side rather than trying to make life hard for them.   Great you’ve already got this happening in your home!  :)