March 18, 2009

How Do I Get My Child to Say 'Yes'?

By: Shari Harpaz, CCC-SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist)

Does your child often respond ‘no' when you ask them a question? When asked a ‘yes' or ‘no', most children will respond ‘no' more often than ‘yes.'

Toddlers and pre-schoolers are at an age when they are egocentric and/or establishing independence (see all milestones). By saying ‘no' they are making a clear statement that they don't want to do something and now your hands are tied if you really needed them to do it. So what should a parent do?

Here are some tips to help get more of the response you're looking for:

1. Try and ask questions in a “what”? Or “where”? Format instead of yes/no whenever possible. For example: if you're child is pointing and you can't determine what they want instead of saying “Do you want juice?” and having to go thru a list of items, ask “what do you want?”

2. Give your child a choice of 2-3 things you are willing to give them. (“Do you want to go to the park or to the book store”)? This way they feel empowered that they chose the activity, and you didn't have to negotiate after a ‘no' response.

3. Sometimes your best option is to simply TELL your child that this is what you are going to do/eat/have etc. Remember you're the parent and know what's best so don't let your little negotiators always get their way!

For some activities that don't involve ‘yes/no' answers, check out...

You pick the game you want to play:

Which puzzle do you want to play with:

Let's "Pretend Play" and have some fun:

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