How many times do I have to say ‘no’?

[~12 months on]

Can I open it?

Can I open it?

Children really do WANT (and need) boundaries.  The other day, I did an experiment.  Master 15 months was playing with the packet of wipes… And then did his ‘can i?’ look to me, to open them up.  I simply said ‘no’.  He went on playing with the packet, until he checked in again, looking up at me with his ‘can I?’ face.  I said ‘no’ again.  He checked with my husband.  He said ‘no’.  We did this nine times until he decided he wouldn’t bother.  But it took nine ‘no’s!

We also used the simple ‘no’ (and with a sign) for when he asked with his ‘can I walk away from here?’ look.


At other times, when he has been in a similar scenario, if I have not been looking, he will go for it since there is no one there telling him ‘no’ in matter of fact terms.  Without a boundary, he cannot help it.

At other times, we have done the fun ‘no no no’ with a smile or a tickle.  Master 1 then thinks it’s a game.   The ‘no’ means ‘yes’ game, because he just wants more of the smiles and tickles.  The ‘no no no’ starts the game!  But it doesn’t help to stop the undesirable behaviour.  My bad!

And in other times, I have ignored little Master 1.  Like when he turns off the TV when we are watching it.  This can work a treat.  He gets no reaction, even when I can see him reeeeally wanting a reaction or a look, or a no no no.  He is then far less likely to do it again.  Until Master 3 comes along and really tries to get a reaction.  He turns off the TV…  Arrrgghhhh!

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