Kids hear the word “no” all the time. Think about it. Toddlers ask the most inane questions and are developmentally supposed to be exploring all the things. This inevitably leads to telling our children no…a lot.
There are many reasons why we might need to say no, but I think we should practice changing our no’s to yes’s. We can be Yes Moms! Don’t worry: we’re not going to say yes to everything. Let’s look at why we say no, and how we can turn it into a yes at appropriate times.
Yes, but later.
Sometimes we say no because it’s not a good time to do something. We’re about to leave the house, it’s almost time for dinner, company is coming over…there are lots of moments when the timing isn’t right. Kids live in the moment and they don’t think about these things. But this is what they might hear when they ask if they can go play in the puddles outside right before church:
No, you can’t go in the puddles. You have your good church clothes on and they’ll get all dirty.
You want to play in the puddles? Yes, that would be so fun! Let’s do it after we get home from church and change into our play clothes.
Feel the difference?
Yes, but after we do something else first.
We often say no because we need something else to happen. We’re trying to get our kids to eat all of a healthy dinner, we have to tidy up the house today, we have to feed the baby. How can we work with our kids so all of our needs get met? This is what our kids might hear when they ask for more pasta at dinner, when they haven’t eaten any other food on their plate.
No, you can’t have more pasta. You haven’t eaten your broccoli or meat.
Of course you can have some more pasta! Try your broccoli and meat first and then I’ll be happy to get you some pasta.
It’s a simple switch that still conveys what needs to happen with a much more positive manner.
Yes. (I can get over myself and give permission)
Sometimes we say no because we don’t want to have to deal with the outcome. This can be absolutely necessary to our sanity, but does it need to be the answer ALL the time? We don’t want to clean another set of clothes, we don’t want to pick play-doh out of the floor, we don’t want to be late to our next appointment. Again, our kids are in the moment and only see the fun instead of the extra work. Can we try to see the fun, too?
No, we’re not playing with the kinetic sand today. It’s too messy and I don’t have time to clean it up.
Yes, we can play sand! Let’s get out your shape toys and make some cool buildings!
The way we phrase things makes so much difference in the environment, in the way our kids feel, and the way we feel. It feels good to be a Yes Mom! Here’s to practicing saying yes more than we say no!