Having a Hard Time Saying No? 

You’re not alone - after all, happiness is what matters the most, right?


In reality, research shows that teaching your children how to set and follow safe boundaries helps them understand expectations. And, when children know what is expected of them they have a stronger sense of control over their decisions. Here are three tips on how to set boundaries that work:


Let your kids feel like they have a choice. 

Offer two choices so your child feels like they are being asked what they want to do as opposed to being told what to do:

  • Would you like to read books, or play with play-doh for ten minutes?

  • Would you like to eat your veggies first or the chicken?

  • Would you like to take a bath or a shower tonight?

Know what’s happening next and let your little one know.


It all comes down to this: your child has very little control over their life, and they often struggle with it. This shows up as tantrums or a simple “no”, but you can head these off by sharing the itinerary and letting them participate in a bit of the planning. Halfway through the current task, say, “I’m so excited we are going to do xyz after this. Only 10 minutes left!” Or, if cleanup is the task say, “Thank you so much for helping me clean up our toys after we finish this game in 10 minutes. It’s going to be a big help.”  


Let kids know how much time is left.


Markers like “10 minutes to go!”, “5 minutes!” are helpful for younger children, and using your phone to set a timer is helpful so you aren’t the one always saying “time’s up!”


Lastly, model the same behavior with the other people in your family so your child sees the same thing happening equally.

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