How To Say No To Our Kids

Empowering Effective Communication: Finding Alternatives On Constantly How To Say No To Our Kids

Drawing of girl looking taken aback

Do you feel like you are always saying “no” to your child?

Children are naturally very curious, so in most cases, parents have to keep an eye on anything a child gets up to. When we constantly keep them from doing what they want, they will eventually have a temper tantrum. Is there someplace that we can say yes, or know how to say no to your kids in a nice way and let them explore in ways that will enrich their minds and help give them a love of learning?

During our Shichida early learning classes, we encourage parents to say “yes” to learning at all times. While our curriculum definitely has a high standard that teaches kids excellence and improvement of their skill levels, we use language that helps a child explore different concepts that will leave lasting positive impressions on learning. Here are some ways we can say “yes”, and at the same time guide them towards more effective ways to learn a subject or make better decisions in life:

Drawing of messy eating

Use this phrase often on how to say no to our kids

“That’s one way of seeing that. Maybe we can also see it this way. It might give you a better result as well.”

When our child makes mistakes, we often want to react by saying, “No, that’s wrong!” By saying this you are closing the door to your child’s heart. When they are still learning to do a particular skill, they won’t have the ability that an adult has. We have to see the positive aspects of what they have done, and then use those points to get the child to see a more effective way of doing a particular activity.

By acknowledging what the child has done and then using that as a starting point to their learning, children will feel accepted, and they will be more open to suggestion and guidance.

Drawing of broccoli

Avoiding Confusion: How To Say No To Our Kids And Providing Clear Choices for Effective Decision-Making

A common mistake parents make when guiding their children towards better decision-making is using too many open-ended questions. Instead of asking, “Don’t you like vegetables? Why do you always want lollies?” we unintentionally confuse the child further. To provide clarity and promote effective decision-making, it’s important to present options clearly and consistently.

For example, instead of vague inquiries, we can offer specific choices like, “Do you want to eat your broccoli before the mashed potatoes, or would you prefer to have the broccoli last?” Another approach could be, “Would you like to eat the broccoli and then have dessert, or would you rather not eat broccoli and skip dessert?”

While these options may seem obvious to adults, children require clear and concise choices. By consistently reminding them of the consequences of their actions, we not only offer them a sense of control but also help them understand the outcomes of their decisions. This approach fosters better decision-making skills and empowers children to make wiser choices in the future.

Give them a behind the scenes look at how it all works

When you are making certain choices that you would like your child to take, maybe you can verbalise to a child why you made the decisions. If you have a particularly difficult craving, like chocolate, instead of just mindlessly reaching into the fridge and grabbing some chocolate, you can tell your child, “Hmmmm, Daddy would like to have some chocolate, but you know what? Chocolate might make my appetite go away. Maybe we can share an apple?” In this way, you can show your child other options they might take, instead of always having to say, “no” to them, you can offer other healthier or more constructive options.

Using these language patterns and ways of giving options and nice ways how to say no to kids helps them learn how to control their urges positively, helps them learn patience and gives them an ability to compromise, a very important skill that will help them in adulthood.

Drawing of a pencil

Distract them with something else

Kids are always interested in new things. When you want them to focus on something more useful or positive, you can always use an excited tone and say, “Wow! What’s this?” and give them something else to focus on before they become too fixated on the original object. This requires quick thinking and you will get better at this the more you do it.

One clear example of doing this happens often during Shichida lessons. Kids are playing with one Shichida activity and refuse to hand it back. Instead of grabbing it from their hands (one should never really do this of course, unless it’s something harmful or dangerous), Shichida teachers often take out the next object and make a big deal of how interesting the new activity is: “Wow, I have this really fun activity coming up next! Thank you all that passed the original one back. You will all have lots of fun with this new activity!” Very often, the child will hand back the activity quickly in order to get the new one.

Drawing of a boy playing with his toys

Explaining to them why something wasn’t appropriate

Fostering empathy in children is a powerful way to help them understand the consequences of their actions. By explaining how their behavior can make others uncomfortable, sad, or even cry, we can instill a sense of empathy and consideration for others. Using clear language and consistently reinforcing the positive and negative outcomes of their actions, children can see firsthand how their behavior impacts those around them. For example, praising them for sharing a toy and explaining how it made the other child happy reinforces the positive effects of kindness. Similarly, reminding them that speaking loudly can wake a sleeping baby and make them feel sad helps children understand the importance of considering others’ feelings.

By teaching empathy, we equip children with the tools to make positive differences in the world and become compassionate decision-makers throughout their lives.

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