The Battle of the No-no’s

I’ve found that with every stage of development Little Bug has gone through, there are positive and negative aspects of each stage.

The negative of the pre-toddlerhood stage?

Teaching boundaries to Little Bug and her constant drive to test those boundaries!

Some days I want to swipe the house clean of every single no-no so I can sit for two minutes without having to discipline.

But I know that boundaries are a very important aspect of a toddler’s life and it is my responsibility to teach her boundaries and be consistent in my training her to respect her boundaries and not touch something when it is a no-no.

This is a tiring task. It is tiring.

I realized tonight I need to come up with a Game Plan because I’m noticing the same behaviors over and over again with Little Bug and the way I am handling each situation needs to be a little more consistent.

Little Bug’s no-no’s consist of the TV, pictures, etc. on the end tables and coffee table and the blinds.

There are days when her mission in life is to touch the glass dish with fall potpourri 1,746 times per day. And those are the days I am about to lose my mind by the time Dave walks in the door from work! 🙂

My philosophy in parenting has always been to do something when the need arises with Little Bug and not wait for the “appropriate age”. For example, most parents attempt to wean their baby from the swaddle around 3 months of age. Little Bug slept SO WELL swaddled that I didn’t mess with weaning her until I started seeing signs that she was ready – which wasn’t until she was close to 6 months old!

The same has gone for when I decided it was time to start disciplining her (and really, I think training is a more appropriate word for a baby/toddler). When Little Bug crawled over to the TV and pulled up on the stand I started teaching Little Bug that was a no-no by thumping her hand when she would touch the TV and/or stand. She was probably around 8 or 9 months old, because that is when she started pulling up on things.

Things have progressed from there. For a time the TV was the only interesting thing to play with for Little Bug and it took a lot of thumps and consistency on my part to train Little Bug not to pull up on the TV stand.

Rarely today is the TV stand (or the dog’s water/food bowl) an issue.

Now, at 16 months old, Little Bug has started randomly going up to her no-no’s and saying, “No-No!”. She totally knows what is a no-no and what is free game.

Some days she leaves all the no-no’s completely alone. (Those are glorious days.) And then, like I said before, there are some days she just can’t keep her little pudgy hands out of the potpourri dish!

So, time for a Game Plan of consistency!

If she …

… walks up to the no-no and says, “No-No!”, I will say: “Yes, Little Bug, that is a no-no. Fold your hands and walk away.”

I got the “fold your hands and walk away” idea from the Babywise Mom blog. It sounded like a brilliant idea so I decided to give it a try. The problem is I haven’t been consistent in using it. The idea behind is by folding the hands you are giving the child something to do with their hands that are so tempted to reach for that no-no.

If she …

… touches a no-no I will thump her hand and tell her to “Fold your hands and walk away.”

At Little Bug’s 12 month well-baby check up the pediatrician warned me this was coming! She told me to be a “broken record” and to calmly handle the situation in the same way every time. Be consistent!

I’ll admit that there have been times when my calm in control voice has gone out the window and instead I’ve dealt with a no-no violation in frustration. I need to remind myself of the “broken record” and be that! Doesn’t matter if this is the first time she has touched the no-no or the one-hundred thirty first time she has touched the no-no… I must handle it in the same way!

I can only hope and pray my consistency and hard work will pay off one day.

I just want my kid to not only know her boundaries but to respect them.


I wrote the above a while ago and it’s been sitting in my drafts waiting to be published. I now have some things to add to this post…

It almost seems like a switch has gone off in Little Bug’s mind and she has an ever-increasing understanding of boundaries and her no-no’s. Before she “turned this corner” she would walk up to a no-no and touch it. I would be the “broken record” and tell her “That is a no.” and give her a thump on the hand.

And now, more and more, I am seeing her walking up to her no-no’s saying, “No-no!” (while pointing her little finger in the direction of her no-no). If she does choose to touch the no-no I am finding that I call tell her to fold her hands and walk away and more and more consistently she is choosing to do just that!

It’s encouraging! Just the simple fact that it seems she is grasping the concept behind no-no’s and that we don’t touch them and we instead fold our hands and walk away, is encouraging!

Around the time I wrote this original post I thought I’d never get to this point with Little Bug and would instead raise a rebel. 🙂

Just kidding.

Sort of.

One thought on “The Battle of the No-no’s

  1. Elaine; This sounds so familiar….William did all the same things (looking/touching no-nos and telling us they were no-nos)….I was having the same frustrations as you. I love the folding hands and walk away thing though…very cool…I may try that because even though William has had periods of improvement….now…at 2 1/2…his testing has just taken on a much more vigourous enthusiasm. I did, however, read a book you might want to take a look at. It is called 1-2-3 Magic. It is not recommended for children under 2, but I started it with William at about 20 months because I needed “something”. When I consistently use the principles in that book…I get good results. The basic premise is that instead of saying no all the time…tell the child the behaviour/object is off limits and then if they persist you start counting down….it gives the child time to think about their next move…but if you get to three there is always a consequence (time out, go to your room, loss of toy etc)…the consequence can be adjusted according age so the philosophy works all the way through childhood. It didn’t take William long to realize that “3” was NOT what he wanted to hear. We now get really great responses on 1 and 2 pretty consistently. It keeps the parent calm and in control because the counting also helps you (or me in this case) take a moment to not fly off the handle when he touches something for the 1456th time.

    Good luck…early toddlerhood is the beginning of a long road….parenting with boundaries and love is very hard, but it is the best thing we can do for our children.


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