Kids Saying No All The Time – What to do about it?

kids saying no


Toddlers usually say no because it’s one among the few ways they can control their experiences. If you’re thinking about it from their perspective, they are perpetually being railroaded from one thing to another without any rationalization they will understand. That lack of control would be difficult for any human being to deal with, however it is even worse for a creative little explorer like the average toddler is. You can’t give him meaningful control over his life, but you can provide him with the feeling that he controls things that matter to him, which will help to reduce his desperation.

kids saying no

How To Stop Your Kids Saying No All The Time

1. Give your kids some choices.

“Do you want your wear the blue shirt or the pink shirt?” “Shall we go to bed now or in 5 minutes?” Both choices should always be ones you are happy with. Offer them two choices because more than that will just confuse them. And here is the little trick: if you prefer one of the choices, make it the second one, as that’s usually what they will choose if they don’t have a real preference. Few trick and kids saying no will never happen again.

2. Have a routine.

Having some routines can reduce conflict and stop kids saying no all the time. It’s the same with us grownups. If our life is unpredictable, we are probably under a lot of stress. When we know what to expect, even if we don’t like it, we can still relax a bit. So, ask your kid “Shall we clean your room before or after we go to the park?”. Most of the time, they will go with ‘after’ implicit consent.

3. Distract them.

When they start with their ‘no’ phase, just start to make jokes. Some kids love power games, so if you don’t take them seriously you reduce their motivation to defy you. Interesting, isn’t it?

4. Use a timer.
This may sound funny, but most of the time it really works with kids saying no. Explain to your little one that when the timer rings they will have to clean their room. Let him choose how long to set the timer for. When the timer goes off, they need to hop to it. This way they get a feeling of control, and you get necessary stuff done.

What do you think about kids saying no all the time? What is your advice for stopping the ‘no’ phase?


  1. Choices is a great idea. I find with my daughter that if she feels in control then life is so much easier. By giving her a choice, ie: this outfit or this outfit, she feels that she has made the decision and is in control, even though you have already technically made the decision!

    Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.


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