Do We Say "No!" Too Much?

alternatives to the word no

Photo by Veela

When toddlers hit a certain age, there are days when it seems like "no" is the only word that comes out of your mouth. "No, you can't eat the cat's food," "No, that will break," "No, you can't draw on the wall."

A couple things happen at that point. You get bogged down in all that negativity, the word starts to lose some of its power, and eventually your child starts repeating it right back to you.

Then you'll never get rid of it!

One mom in the Old Fashioned & Anti Mainstream Moms is looking for alternatives to the word "no" for her 1 year old.


"I tend to over-talk (Bobo, we don't touch the table cloth because all the stuff will fall down and Bobo will get hurt"). So we usually go with the less wordy "no" and redirection, but I'm looking for other words to get the point across."

Fellow moms say these terms work equally well with their toddlers:


Don't touch

Stay away



Be gentle

Not for ______ (child's name)

Hands off

Please don't

That's owie



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Do you stick with "no" or have you found alternative terms to indicate your toddler shouldn't be doing that? Is using "no" over and over damaging in any way?

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