5 tips for when your child is in the NO phase

by Hallie Johnson, M.A., BCBA

Model Positive Language

Tell your child exactly what you want them to do, not what you want them to stop doing.
Examples:
I like how you are sitting in your chair! vs. Don’t do that!
Good job walking! vs. Stop running or No! Don’t sit down!
I like how you are using an inside voice vs. No yelling!

Provide Choices

Provide choices of two desired behaviors but allow them to choose.
Examples:
You can sit in the red chair or the blue chair
You can walk by yourself or hold my hand
You can color or play with play-doh

Use First/Then Instructions

Provide your instruction using first/then structure.
Examples:
First sit, then play doh
First stand up, then “toy”

Don’t Respond Directly to the Behavior

It is best not to directly respond to your child saying “NO” – giving it little to no attention. Ignore their “NO” and continue your original instruction either providing choices or using a
first/then instruction (see tips #3 and #4).

Reinforce! High levels of praise!

Provide your child with A LOT of praise and attention when they follow your instruction or exhibit the desired behavior! This will increase the likelihood that they are going to do it again in the future!


Easterseals Central Illinois is here to be your partner in raising
healthy, happy children. If you have questions about your child’s
development contact us today at (309)696-1177.

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