How to Communicate Effectively with your Child

Learn How to Communicate Effectively and Clearly with your Child so you Stop Saying “No!”

DiscipliningChildren hear the word “no” far too often. Studies show that toddlers typically hear the word “no” 400 times daily, which you can imagine gets tedious for the parents and the child. So rephrase your sentence from a negative to a positive, which will correct the behavior without sounding critical. Teach yourself to say what you want them to do instead of what you DON’T want them to do.

Below are various ways parents can communicate with their child to achieve a more positive response.


Speak in Positive Terms:

This helps your child understand the rules and reason behind your answer. If your child asks to go outside and play, but it is very close to dinner time. If you only respond by saying no, it can often create a tantrum. It’s better to rephrase your response to, “Yes, you can go out and play, after you’ve eaten your dinner”.


Discuss Feelings:

As a parent, we believe that children should obey no matter what we tell them because we know what is best for them, and we are the adult. Therefore, if your child is doing something that annoys or concerns you; tell them, “That (noise/activity) makes it hard to concentrate.” This may take a while for your child to fully understand that what they are doing can affect others, but it is helpful for their development.


Provide Choices:

Offering your child a choice can help them feel in control of their situations, reducing power struggles and tantrums. When your child is running through the house,’ it can be natural to say, “No running in the house.” However, giving your child a choice can help minimize the disobedient response, such as, “You can run in the backyard or in the garage. Which do you choose”?


Offer Options:

Some children have a difficult time stopping certain behaviors because they do not know what to do instead. Offering suggestions to replace destructive or rebellious behaviors that you want to minimize or stop, can help the child understand an alternative.

For example, children are famous for making a lot of noise. Banging on a table, floor, etc. can be annoying for adults but normal for your child. That natural energy that they have needs to be controlled at some point if you want them to sit quietly while waiting in the doctor’s, or dentist office. Try to distract them, suggest making small circles with their feet rather than kicking the chair, or make it lighthearted by asking, “I bet you can’t keep your foot still till we count to 20?”


Tone of Voice:

Children as young as a few months old respond to a change in our voice. It has been documented that infants prefer to hear a story read by their own mother rather than a stranger they don’t know. Voice is an integral part of human interaction and communication.

Have you ever talked to someone who had a monotone voice? Think back to a teacher you had in school that spoke in such a monotone voice it put you to sleep during the lecture. It is very boring and difficult to become interested in the topic they were discussing.

So, to be actively engaged with your child, use varying tones to mirror their feelings. If your child figures out how to open a box they have been struggling with and they say, “YES!” with pride when they finally open that box, your response as the supportive parent should be happy and excited also. Say something encouraging, like “You did it!” and clap your hands in cheer.

The tone of your voice expresses understanding, acknowledgment, connection and several other healthy things to your child. Although your words are very important, equally important is the tone of which you speak those words.

The Wafflehoffer Curious Maple, children’s storybook teaches both children and parents, it’s important to ask questions. Learn more


A great website to visit to learn more about your child’s behavior is:

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