Minus/plus icon
ResourcesExplore the full ACKO experience and make the most of your plan

Home / Health Insurance / Articles / Parenting / Toddler Development Tips / Dealing with your toddler's favorite word 'No'

Dealing with your toddler's favorite word 'No'

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

There will be a phase in your life when your toddler’s favourite word will end up being ‘’No!’’ And this phase is closer to you than it may appear or you are already there. This stage usually appears when your child is about the age of 2-3 years when in general, toddlers begin to love to say ‘no’ to anything and everything. 



    The technical name of this phase is the ‘toddler-refusal’ phase. The simple logic of this phase is your toddler will say no to everything because by this time they know they can. It is their way of exercising their new found will and even though as a parent it is frustrating for you, it marks an important milestone in the development of your child. Saying ‘no’ is a healthy, normal and important part of your child’s budding autonomy. Now, you can’t stop this phase but you can always be prepared on how to deal with ‘no’ as your toddler’s new favourite word or answer for anything.

    Tips to deal with your toddler's new favourite word 'No'

    Here are some pointers on how to deal with your toddler's new favourite word:

    The dual choice

    If you give your toddler too many options for a certain problem they are most likely to get confused and frustrated and end up saying no to the whole thing. What you can do here is, give them dual choices to pick from. Offering a choice and not making a decision for them helps them feel more in control but giving them limited choices of how and what you can allow is completely on you. Give them two choices like: “Do you want this or that?” And this question can be used for pretty much anything in life. Give them two choices and ask them to make a decision between the two. This will help you avoid any possible showdown with your toddler when it comes to choices.

    Don’t say ‘no’

    A toddler learns a lot in life by observing their parents, including the word ‘no.’ Now you possibly can’t avoid saying ‘no’ when your child is doing something wrong, but you can limit the use of ‘no’ in your statements by using other words. You should also be framing your sentences in a way they don’t have to consist a ‘no.’ For example, instead of saying “No, we can’t have ice cream because you haven’t brushed your teeth,” you can say, “We can have ice cream after you brush your teeth.” In other situations, you can use terms like maybe, possibly, perhaps, etc. This will not only help in developing your child’s vocabulary but they will also get different words to express themselves better. 


    Having a consistent routine that is easy for your child to understand sets clear expectations. This empowers your child to do certain things as is expected and minimizes the opportunities for them to argue with it. Once they know of the routine, they know the flow, the routine becomes predictable for them and that makes them more in control, thus, reducing the chances of a ‘no’ coming out of their mouth. 

    Be your toddler

    To tackle a toddler you have to be a toddler. This means you cannot make your child do anything with instructions you give to adults, hence make your instructions a playful challenge. Instead of saying “Pick up your stuff,” try saying “Let’s see how quickly you can pick up your toys and pack them.” You can also reward the little one’s good behaviour with a sweet treat to reinforce a good habit. This will avoid situations where your kid might feel the need to say no. 

    Playful situations

    When at home and you are relaxing with your toddler you can converse in a playful manner by giving them silly situations in advance and ask them to respond. This will make their ‘no’ less automatic. For example, you can pretend to be mother squirrel and ask your child “Baby Squirrel! Momma Squirrel wants to know, do you want to eat nuts?” Your child may not want to miss out on the chance to be a baby squirrel, thus forget completely about a word called ‘’no.’’

    Stand your ground

    Sometimes your toddler will throw tantrums for no good reason. Choose your battle wisely, if the showdown is not worth the argument and it is something silly, just let it go and let the kiddo win the argument. But if it is something wrong and a showdown is utmost necessary, then stand your ground and don’t waiver. Tell them the thing how it is and wait for them calmly to finish the tantrum, after they are done. Lend an open ear and a warm hug. Do this at home and if the tantrum appears in public, take your kid and deal with the tantrum in the car or away from public. Dealing with tantrum patiently will avoid ‘no’ from becoming your toddler’s favourite word. 

    Counting down

    Sometimes counting down works with indecisive children but use this only as a last resort. Tell them “I will count till 10, you decide or I will decide for you!” Chances are your child will be decisive as soon as you begin counting. But it is advised to use this technique sparingly because if used often, it loses its authority and power. 

    At any cost don’t take away the power of saying ‘no’ from your child as saying ‘no’ is an important aspect of their development and they must learn this in the journey of adulthood.  What you can do best is to avoid a situation where ‘no’ is your toddler’s favourite word by being patient and calm. Good news is that, this phase will pass; the bad news is, it will resurface again when your child is a teenager. Enjoy these little nuances of the little one, avoid having showdowns and instead have fun! 

    Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



    Want to post any comments?


    Maximize your advantages with our government scheme-inclusive health insurance plans.

    ✅ 100% Room Rent Covered* ✅ Zero deductions at claims ✅ 7100+ Cashless Hospitals

    quote icon

    Check health insurance

    quote icon