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My Toddler’s New Favorite Word: No

My Toddler’s New Favorite Word: No

My kid is so cute, like seriously cute, as I’m sure all of your children are too. It’s real lucky he’s so cute, because he’s been driving my husband and me a tiny bit crazy these last few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting and incredible to watch him transition from a baby, to a crawler (or, in our case, a scooter), to a walking and talking little boy. He’s 18 months old and his personality is coming out now; he’s a goofball, a sweetheart, smart as a whip, and… well… as stubborn as his mother. And he learned his new favorite word: no.  

Simple actions that were once met with excitement such as, “Want to go outside?! Let’s put on our coats!” are now met with a shouted “NO!” and a defiant stare. He almost definitely does want to go outside, but simply will not because a parent suggested it. I have found a few ways to circumvent the situation:

  1. “You have to wear your coat, mister. Rules are rules. Because I said so!” This works 8% of the time and is my first line of defense, which ultimately leads to…
  2. “If you put on your coat, we’ll go outside! We’ll go to the playground. We’ll drive your little red car. We’ll go to the park! Don’t you want to go to the park?” This works about 40% of the time and usually takes several attempts. It may also result in doing a few extra things like taking the red car TO the park and playing on the playground for two hours.
  3. “Hey! Look what’s outside! A squirrel!” [Feverishly jams tiny arms into coat and zips it up while toddler considers woodland creature outside.] This one works about 50% of the time and surprises me every time. Distract your kid out of a tantrum and into their coat.
  4. Giving up. “I’ve got a great idea! Let’s stay indoors! It’s cold out anyway!” If you’ve done the math, this is where I end up the other 2% of the time when I just can’t even deal with the screaming and want my kiddo to be happy. This is not my favorite because I am stubborn and don’t like to give in, even if it’s to my year-and-a-half old son but sometimes it’s just necessary.

My toddler's new favorite word: no - mom and toddler talking

It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who can only take so many no’s in a row (see Amy D.’s  7 Toddler Behaviors That Drive Me Crazy). For now, I think the best strategy for me has been to take a deep breath and remind myself that this isn’t forever, it’s just for right now. Odds are very good that later today he will give me the sweetest toddler hug with a wet, sloppy toddler kiss (one of the Toddler Behaviors That are Easy to Adore) and the memory of this specific tantrum will be forgotten. Stay strong, mamas and dadas, this too shall pass. But until then, take a deep breath, find your nearest squirrel and get that kid into his coat.

Amy blogger photoHi! I’m Amy. I work for Bright Horizons on our Recruitment Operations team, and I’m a first-time mom to a boy. My husband, son (!), and I live with our kitty in a fixer upper house that we’ve (finally) finished fixing up. I enjoy all things comedy, DIY, food, gardening and binge watching TV shows. I’m so excited for the chance to share some of my experiences with you as I start the next chapter of my life as a new mom.


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