If there is one thing toddlers and preschoolers don't react well to, it's being told „No!“ over and over again. Obviously, they need limits and boundaries we as parents set up for them to keep them protected and safe. However, children of this age react negatively to hearing the word “no“ all the time. An environment with too many no's and too little yes's can cripple a child’s self- discipline. It’s important to achieve the right blend of yes’s and no’s in a child’s environment. Whether you're trying to keep your preschooler out of trouble or teach her right from wrong, try a better, more effective approach than simply saying "no”.


Instead of saying no, clearly state to her what she can do instead. This way, she'll have something to do instead of something to stop doing. For example, instead of saying „No playing ball inside. “, tell her „Let's go outside play ball.“

Offer a choice

 Children like to feel in control and independent. So rather than issuing a flat-out denial when she wants to wear her swimsuit in December, offer her 2 acceptable outfits to choose from. She might not be thrilled right away but she will learn to accept them.


Preschoolers are pretty simple to distract from trouble. The next time her eye catches a delicate figurine in a shop, divert her with a question like "What should we have for lunch?"

Let it slide

Indulge your child's sense of fun, exploration and adventure whenever possible. There are plenty of opportunities to teach her discipline. For example, if she wants to wear her Halloween costume to the grocery store what's the harm?

Say it like you mean it

Life will present us with plenty of situation where a firm „No!“ is required. Say "no" firmly but calmly, with conviction and a poker face. A playful "no" sends mixed messages and certainly won’t discourage her.