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Ok Mamas, here goes...this is a spin off from the other (what is AP for toddlers) thread, but I'm looking for more people to join in the discussion, so I've started a new one...

Give me specific examples of how to teach a toddler that 'no means no'.

Not looking for the standard responses like 'distract their attention' or 'don't put kids in situations where....' We practice those forms of interaction/distraction/communication daily, but sometimes it isn't enough. Sometimes no just has to mean no...when there's safety at stake, when there's agressive or hurtful behavior going on, when something is just specifically off limits...

So I'd love to hear specific examples of times when you had to enforce the idea that a certain behavior was not acceptable or a certain thing was off limits, and you were able to get your toddlers to understand AND respond in a positive manor to NO when it just has to be NO...
 

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Hmmmm...toughie.

I guess I'd have to say that simply not overusing 'no' and being pretty flexible in most areas has been the biggest asset to my little dude responding to an imperative "NO!"

It's like he knows when it really counts and he can hear the urgency in my voice. Often it scares him, though. But there have been several instances where he was in danger or it was a safety issue and he TOTALLY stopped when I said to.
 

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Well, I have to agree with picking your fights and using no sparingly. Our big No no's are running away in the street, touching the stove, and deliberate hitting of other people or pets. Going into the situation, I remind her of the "rule" and tell her the consequence if she chooses to do the behavior anyway. If she runs away outside (We live by a busy road) we go inside immediately. That is an awful torture for a two year old. If she runs away when we are out and about after I have asked her not to it is in the stroller. If she touches the stove she is out of the kitchen right away and the gate gets shut, when she hits her friends we leave the room and I explain to her that she can't play any more with her friends because of the disrespectful way she treated them. These consequences occur every time the infractions occur, and they occur right away (Oh gee, I sound like such a toughie
) But, really, I don't have to go to the consequences usually, it doesn't take her long to learn what will happen and all she needs is a reminder not to run away etc. When we do enforce the consequence it usually isn't for too long. If we come inside I usually start another short activity and then a bit later we try the going out again. When she gets gated out of the kitchen or has to leave her play friends she gets very upset. We go and talk about why this has occured and after a few minutes she is ready to rejoin the activity. And she agrees not to do whatever it was that she did. And you know what ? She doesn't do it. We aren't mean about it, we are just matter of fact and we explain why it is happening. We make her realize that it is occuring because she chose to do what was dangerous. I think she really believes in our consequences because they are so consistent and they are pretty infrequent so they haven't lost their impact. But, she is just a little tyke, we keep it short.

Erika
 

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Actually another thing I just thought of.... we try to focus on the positive and we try to make things into a game to teach her the right way to behave so that we don't have to resort to "No". For example we have the STOP! game when we are outside. We let her walk alone on the sidewalk and we yell out Stop! and Go! and she stops walking until we tell her Go again. She has a ball and then when we need to get her to stop we can. This is really important to me because I need to stop the run-away before it gets going since once she is off it is like she doesn't hear me anymore. This has been a really effective tool for this particular situation and I am brainstorming ways to adapt it to other situations that are a challenge to us.
 

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follow through is the key. Whatever the situation. For example if they are messing with something that they shouldn't be (for whatever reason) and you tell them no, don't say it a million times while they continue playing. get up right away to take it out of thier hands if they don't put it down willingly. If they are haeding for something hot and don't stop when you say no go right away and scoop them up. You should never say it more than once before correcting the situation yourself. This just teaches them to expect a grace period before mom really means no. responding to help them comply teaches them other better things. 1) mom means it when she says it and she isn't going to ask again. 2) Either way I choose (to obey or not to) I will not be allowed to continue doing this., the party is over one way or another. and if there are consequences for disobediance then they will also learn to associate those to not responding appropriately (I am not implying that there should or should not be consequences/punishment just stating that if there are then they should be promptly and consistantly enforced along with NO so that they willk Know the penalty for ignoring NO)
 

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I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that even though they can learn that "no means no" by the way you interfere regularly and consistently to specific situations toddlers still don't have the impulse control to do what they're told. Usually if they stop on the first "no" then it's because they're startled because they don't hear it all the time and it redirects their attention for a few seconds so that you can intervene. As long as you keep the word "no" and the tone you use it in for unusual/dangerous situations then it will continue to work as an attention getter and they will gradually learn not to take it lightly.
 

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i say "no"---then explain why:
(example below)

"no, don't throw money---only throw balls."

then if he throws the money again I take the money away.

"mommie will hold the money now, because you aren't using it correctly".

--i explain why again-- and maybe give the money back if he promises not to throw it.

when he uses it properly (not throwing it) then i praise him.
 

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For me, it's physically making your words have meaning. With my 2 year old, I don't often say no. For dangerous situations I say STOP or DANGER and I try to only raise my voice and use those words for truly dangerous situations. I started doing this consistently at about 10 mo. and DD has responded immediately since about 18 mo.

For other things that are just no-no's I try to stop her from doing what she's doing AND tell her what she can do. Sometimes I don't even say with my words, just my actions. Instead of saying "no" from a distance when dd is climbing on the table I just go to her, take her off the table and say "you may climb on the couch/pillows/etc".

So I agree with follow through - that is absolutely key at this age. Do they understand no? yes. but are they mature enough to respond appropriately every time? no. do they have the impulse control to keep away from a no no? no. So the best thing to do is set them up for success as you've already said you do, and then just get up and make it happen.
 

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I agree with a lot of what Erika said. From the time Lyndsey could crawl I had 2 levels of requests. If it was not a saftey issue... I would first address her by name and then tell her what I wanted from her. If I got no respose, I rephrased the request. Still no response, I got up as I said "mama will help you". That ususally got her moving.

Saftey issues...Lyndsey, right now, stop. I was always moving so that if she hadn't stopped I would remove her from the situation. At 3 1/2 she gets a reminder of the rules ahead of a situation. She has only had to be removed from the playground once.

Her bigist problem is leaving a place she wants to be. I remind her that if we can't leave without an argument that we wont be coming back for a while.

mom to Lyndsey
 

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Oh, I forgot to come back to this thread. You've gotten lots of good advice already. I'm probably repeating but this is the only way I can rattle this off. At the age your child is, I think physically helping "obey" is key. Also, this is the time, IMO, to practice "saying what you mean, and meaning what you say" - kindly and firmly following through with reasonable requests. You can set them up for future success by making sure that they don't start a pattern of "disobeying" but focusing on success now. This means getting in there and making sure it happens, gently and firmly. Don't ask 500 times because that's only going to drive you crazy and dilute the urgency/importance of what you say. Also, this helps them get used to doing what you ask and they learn that you support and protect them. Children at this age (and older) don't have to like that "no means no". It may be hard for them to follow through and they may need help and comfort if they're disappointed.

Limit the frequency as much as possible and then kindly and gently follow through. Starting a good pattern at this age will make it easier for them when they have more impulse control later.
 

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For us I try not to use the word no to much. If I am unsure I say that "hmmm.... I'm not sure about that." instead of "no, I don't think so"

If there is something that is an absolute no I try to kneel down to their level hold both hands and look in their eyes and tell them "This is something I need to be firm on." or "I can not let you_______." "The answer has to be no, it isn't safe" or "I can't be flexible about hurting our friends, it is not ok"

Since I talk pretty casually and conversationally with my kids, that act of getting down on their level and getting their full attention does the trick.

I also try to verbalize for them "I know this is hard to understand" "I can see you want to do____" and I've even told them "you can cry if it helps you feel better, but I'm afraid I can't change my mind" and sometimes they do- I would to. it id hard to have limits put on ones self.

Make it cleanr, help them verbalize how they seem to be feeling, and allow them to react- even if it means crying or upset.
 
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