How to get a YES.

We’ve talked about this before. No. It’s not necessarily a bad word. Sometimes saying “No” is good for you. And it’s just as good to let your children sometimes say “No” as well. In the previous link, Zen Mommy and Practical Mommy discuss respecting the boundaries your children set for you. Letting them say no, giving them choices, and still getting to the end result. Well lately my son, who is not quite two, has been ALL OVER the word “No”.

Sometimes he says it in a way that sounds more like a question. Sometimes he shouts it. And sometimes it is a long and drawn out “Noooooooooo.” And at this stage in his life, he isn’t really understanding the concept of choices.

We went trick or treating for Halloween. One family had two bowls. One had rocks in it (don’t ask me why!) and one had candy. They asked him which he wanted. He reach one hand into each bowl, grabbed and ran.

We’ve tried the this or that plenty of times. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. So, what does a mommy do when the kid is headstrong, wants what he wants and is firmly not budging? Furthermore, what does a mommy do and still maintain her sanity?

Before he could say the word, he could still show us that he was against what we were trying to do with much screaming and thrashing. They makes books about this type of child. I haven’t read it, but maybe I should? In the meantime, I have found one trick that works like a charm pretty much all of the time. So far.

The first time Walker threw himself on the floor at the mention of bath time he was barely over a year old. Up to that point he had always loved bath time so I was completely caught off guard. I also felt a little helpless. I needed him to take a bath and he was screaming the blood-curdling scream of a person straight from a gory horror flick. I don’t know how it happened, but the first thing that popped into my head was Dora the Explorer. We don’t even watch it, but I’ve heard the backpack song a time or two. Next thing I knew I was singing and clapping:

Bath time, bath time.

Come on Walker – let’s get your clothes,

it’s time to take a bath.

Wash your fingers!

Wash your toes!

It’s time to take a bath!

Bath time, bath time- YAAAAAY!

And somewhere in the clapping and singing he had stopped screaming and was looking at me incredulously. He started clapping his hands and was smiling and ready to go. It was like a miracle or something. This trick had worked for me before when I needed to change him.

He absolutely hated to be changed or tampered with. He would kick and scream and make me want to beat my head on the floor. One day I just thought to myself, Count to ten. Stay calm. And then I started count-singing out loud, but ever so softly.

One little, two little, three little fishies. Four little, five little, six little fishies. Seven little, eight little, nine little fishies. Ten little fishies, swim, swim, swim. Calmed him down every time.

Somewhere in the midst of this I learned. Stay calm and make it fun. This is what works for him. Maybe it will work for your little one too?


  1. DUDE. I am so nodding my head up and down with this post. Same with diaper changing here. I make the STRANGEST sounds and songs and games up during my 30 sec race to get one of the two changed while keeping the other happy and entertained too. Patience is the key to most evey parenting situation you find yourslef in with lil ones three and under. Five and under. OKAY… twenty one and under!!! Lol…

    And hey, given two bowls, one with rocks and one with candy, I’m grabbing something out of each bowl too. I don’t think this is a sign of a greedy child… just a SMART one. 🙂

  2. I love it! It gets him smiling and helps me accomplish what I need to without a total meltdown.

    Also, sometimes I feel like I’m parenting the OVER 21 crowd as well- haha! Songs may not work, but patience… yes.

    And lastly–he had more fun with the rock =)