Try telling your child what they can do instead of what they can’t. Practice the positive alternatives below to avoid overusing the word “no” while maintaining reasonable limits.
“Maybe later” can work to delay a request such as snacks or sweets before mealtime.
“Not today” communicates that the timing is wrong but leaves the possibility open.
“When we’ve done (this), then we can do (that).” This method is good for transition times and to help toddlers establish event routines. For example, “When all of your toys are put away, we can go play at the park.”
“I’ll think about it” replaces an automatic “no” by allowing yourself the time to think about your determination. Parents tend to make better decisions when they take the time to think about the request and their response.
“Sure, did you bring your allowance?” This technique allows you to communicate that they may have the requested item if they can pay for it themselves.
“Yes (with qualifier).” This strategy grants conditional permission. For example, “Yes, you may play the game after we eat dinner.”