Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No Doesn't Always Mean "No!"

In the spirit of Toddler Tuesday, I thought I would share a little developemental update on my youngest baby girl. She is most definitely into the defiant toddler stage, and language has become the biggest and most frustrating obstacle for her.

Language is a beautiful thing. I love watching my daughter connect meaning to her sounds and get recognition from people we see. Moms and Dads share special modified communication with their children, be it gestures, inflection or cute nicknames. But, when outsiders can understand, that is a big deal! And I love to see the look of understanding on her eager face.

My son said "Yes" with a gusto for a long time. Unfortunately since my daughter is the second child, "No" has become more prevalent in our daily speech. Add to that a new puppy and "No" is probably the most used word in our house. My precious little girl, of course, picked up on this. And her go to word is.... the dreaded,

Her sweet little "no" isn't all that cut and dry. Ask her if she wants to watch her beloved Wiggles and she will answer you, "no" with a a raised inflection. Of course she means yes. And we understand her. If candy is involved she also gives a more emphatic "No", but her body language tells another story. Arms outstretched and a big smile on her face.
So for the past week I have been making a concerted effort to end with a "yes?" and a big head nod. Though she still says "no" more often than not, she has added a head nod that is easier for strangers and family to identify. Ding-Ding! We have real communication. I am hoping that simple behavior modification will lead to less frustration and tantrums for her. Unlike my son, she is a throw down and kick kinda gal, and I don't want that to become habit.

I can't remove all the negative words from her vocabulary, and I think there is a place the word no. I just want her to only use it when it is needed, and of course for her to do more than just answer everything with a show-stopping "NO!".
Do you have any language tips or behavior help for toddlers? I would love to hear them.  
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