If you, like me, have experience raising rowdy 2 year-olds, then you know it takes the patience of a turtle in a triathlon, to get to glory of the 3s. And it feels like a triathlon with all the running, ducking, zigging, and zagging. A lot of literature advises parents, do not tell the 2 year-old “no”; instead tell them what they can do. Now, that is great advice. But, when you have 2 year-olds like my 2 year-olds, it starts to become quite time consuming to think of what they can do for the non-stop things that they cannot do. And quite frankly, sometimes, I am not in the mood. So, for all those realists like me, who cannot always take the time to think of a replacement behavior, adopt the “No Thank You.” I find that it is just as effective in distracting the 2 year-old from the presented behavior long enough, that you can effortlessly redirect them into a more desired behavior. For example,
Michael: opening cabinet that holds all the pots and pans
Mommy: while removing Michael’s hand from the cabinet No Thank You redirecting him to another area of the kitchen.
As you physically redirect them, the verbal prompt, “no thank you,” creates a non-confrontational interaction, and eludes the power struggle. The difference in a “no” vs. a “no thank you” keeps the interaction light. Follow up with a quick physical redirection (reposition their hands, move them to another area of the room, give them something else), and keep on moving to the finish line.