I once knew a couple who were trying to raise their daughter without using the word “no,” the thinking being that toddlers start spitting this word back at us parents all too soon. I remember thinking this was brilliant; yet at the same time, there are moments when “no” is a very important word, especially when it comes to dangers a baby needs to learn. In fact, when my son was little I referred to outlets simply as “nope-ity nopes” for the first two years of his life!
So it is important for a baby to learn yes and no, and it’s good to start early. Today, I made a point of saying yes to all the good things Veronika did, and firmly saying no to the actions that were a little naughty. Of course, nothing she did today was terrible, usually just silly, but it’s good to set the precedent for when the real nos come along.
Whenever you say the word, you can also sign it. A fist “nodding” means yes, and your pointer pinching to your thumb means no. So, playing with toys always gets a yes.
As does sharing with big brother.
No, Veronika, you can’t eat big brother’s book!
Yes, Veronika, play with your own soft book.
No, Veronika, you can’t steal mommy’s list at the grocery store (and yes, she wants to eat this).
Yes, Veronika, those are better toys to play with while in the cart.
You can further highlight the difference between the two words by smiling for a yes, and frowning for a now. I definitely have an impish girl on my hands already, because she loves throwing her package of diapers off the diaper table. No, no, no sweet girl.
But a hug from mommy or a nap on my tummy always gets a yes.