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8 Ways to Make Your Toddler Listen to No

toddler won't listen

My toddler won’t listen to no.

Toddlers, like most of us, dislike the word ‘no.’ Being told we cannot do or have something that we really would like is quite unpleasant, yet it is all a part of life.

Sadly, toddlers don’t quite grasp why they’re being told no, and tantrums frequently result despite parents’ best efforts. Rather than deal with a toddler who won’t listen, perhaps it’s time to incorporate a few changes that ease the meltdowns and eliminate your stress.

The following tips offer a helping hand to frustrated parents of toddlers who want nothing more than a toddler who listens:

1. Stop Asking Questions

“Why are you crying?” “Why aren’t you listening”? These common questions are often met with more resistance from toddlers. The truth is, they don’t know why they are crying or why they don’t want to stop playing. Toddlers act on impulse rather than logic.

Rather than asking questions when your toddler misbehaves or refuses to listen, acknowledge his disdain and give him time to process the information. After a couple of minutes and perhaps a couple of options, your toddler should willingly listen instead of throwing a temper tantrum. It may take trial and error and time to conquer success, but it works for many parents!

2. Use Your Child’s Name

Many parents call their toddlers by nicknames and use a cute speech to communicate with them. Some people refer to it as baby talk. While it is perfectly fine to talk to your child using cutesy talk most of the time, it is inappropriate when disciplining the child. Make sure to call the child by name and use a stern voice that tells them you are serious, especially if the toddler is in danger.

Do not yell at your toddler, even when it seems you’re at your wit’s end. Yelling doesn’t solve anything but instead escalates the situation for both parents and the toddler. Make sure that you use your child’s name, a stern voice, and do not yell when your child will not listen.

3. Age-Appropriate Communication

Perhaps the problem with a toddler not listening is caused by the language the parent uses. Toddlers are smart but do have limited vocabulary and knowledge. They cannot process information in the same manner as an adult. Talk to your toddler in an age-appropriate manner that’s easy for them to understand, so this doesn’t become a cause of concern.

It’s a good idea to make eye contact with your child as well. When your child understands the expectations, getting results is much easier. Like most other tips on this list, trial and error is the key to success. Do not give up if your first efforts are unsuccessful. Over time, you’ll notice results.

4. Be Realistic

Along with talking to toddlers in an age-appropriate manner, they can understand, parents should also set realistic age-appropriate expectations. What is realistic for a toddler? First, it isn’t realistic to expect them to listen to everything that you say. The terrible twos are certainly real, and toddlers love testing their boundaries as they continue to grow, learn, and discover themselves.

Expecting too much from a toddler is a great way to get just the opposite results. Be realistic when telling your toddler ‘no.’ And, as the saying goes, pick your battles wisely! Your discipline efforts are far more effective when you follow this advice, and everyone experiences less stress in their daily lives.

5. Praise Your Toddler

Praise is an important part of building self-confidence in your child, and it’s never too early to begin teaching this important lesson. Aside from teaching kids confidence, praise also helps them distinguish good from the bad. When they know there is a reward for doing what they are told, they’re more likely to do them rather than the alternatives.

They better understand the alternative includes its consequences that they don’t like as much as the rewards. Praise your toddler at every chance possible and make certain that you are not always telling them ‘no’ or otherwise critiquing the things they do. A well-rounded, confident, and understanding child is one who earns both discipline and praise during their childhood.

6. Consistency is Important

Consistency is an important part of the discipline that reduces a lot of headaches for parents. If you’re inconsistent, it confuses toddlers and creates more resistance. Maintain consistency, so your toddler better understands what is and what is not allowed. You’ll notice fewer meltdowns and tantrums when you’re consistent since toddlers know their actions include consequences. It may take a bit of time for this to work, but eventually, the results provide that relief that you need.

7. Stay Calm

Dealing with toddlers who won’t listen is certainly frustrating, especially if it seems to occur everyday or when other mishaps cause you stress. Losing your cool when a toddler will not listen might happen, but it isn’t helpful for anyone.

Kids do not understand why you’re yelling. Plus, you’ll probably feel horrible about yelling later in the day when you’ve had time to cool down. Take a time out if you lose your cool. Removing yourself from the situation provides time to cool off and properly discipline your toddler. When you stay calm, discipline is far more effective, and the stress that you otherwise feel is gone!

8. Use a Reward System

Who doesn’t love a reward in exchange for a job well done? It not only feels nice, but it’s also motivating. This idea works well for adults and toddlers, too. A reward system helps toddlers distinguish good from bad and offers an incentive to do the right thing. A small reward offers big gratification for a toddler. Do not hesitate to use a reward system for positive reinforcement.

1 thought on “8 Ways to Make Your Toddler Listen to No”

  1. If your baby won’t sleep, check out the sleep method from – Thank you SleepBaby for this brilliant method! My daughter now sleeps from 7pm to 6 or 6:30am every night with almost no night wakings. And even if she wakes, it’s usually just for a second and then she falls back asleep all on her own.

    Most nights I get my 8 hours of sleep and it’s just wonderful! I really feel like I understand her little body and mind and can address her sleeping holistically. I can’t thank you enough, Kacey and the team!

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