Saying no to toddler

Lately, I feel like my husband and I are constantly telling my 26 month old son not to do stuff: don’t climb, don’t touch, don’t grab, don’t jump, don’t...! I am now worried that in our eagerness to keep him safe, we are making him anxious about learning things with our unending no’s. I try most of the times to tell him consequences of doing stuff, but at his age he needs lots of reinforcement, and I am concerned whether we are stifling his sense of exploration. How do you keep toddlers safe and yet encourage them to explore and learn?

  • Suzy
    May 06

    We use the phrase “walk away” instead of “no” if the situation calls for it. They understand far more than we give them credit for. I.E.-outlets. You’ve already told him a time or two the dangers, now when he goes near it, glare at him and sternly say “walk away”. And with other simpler things I learned telling them “you’ll only do it once” and they do it, and it hurts. They think twice about something when they hear you say that. They are gonna get scratches and bruises and bump their noggins. It’s all a part of development.

  • Anonymous
    May 06

    Can you take him places where it's safe to explore? Like a tumble gym? He can jump and run and explore in a place bulit for it? You could also make him a sensory bin with different things to explore. Or maybe rethink the things you are telling him no about, are you being too stringent? 'Pick your battles' is the thought I use most often with my 3 year old

  • Cathy
    May 06

    Redirect the behavior and say “you can...” We also use the word NO for behavior that is dangerous and the word STOP if we want him to stop a behavior.

  • Megan
    May 08

    Instead of no I use the phrase make a safe choice. Or are you being safe? Then show the ways to do that.

  • Stacey
    May 09

    If you use no or don’t explain why. Even if you don’t think they get it they do. Help him do the activity. My daughter likes to explore and climb and everything in between but if I think she’s about to do something not so safe I help her out until I feel she’s comfortable. If it’s something she absolutely should not be doing I let her know why she can’t do it.

  • Jess
    May 10

    Put more safety apparatuses in place so he doesn’t access some of that stuff but other things you can redirect him with other items and places in the house to play. Sometimes they keep exploring the same dangerous items and actions to act out when they’re bored.

  • Anonymous
    May 11

    Catching yourself at the moment is important... even-though our first instinct is to say no, hold on to that thought for a moment... you want the best for the little one, so just go along for the ride to see what happens. Just stop yourself from saying "no" as that becomes their first and only word.