25 Ways to Say "No" to Your Kids Without Actually Saying No

If you've ever found yourself in a scenario with your children in which their whining and crying is coming at you from every direction and you're spitting a million noes at them, you know that's typically an inefficient way of communicating. It's hard to say "no" to our kids, but sometimes we simply have to.

For example, instead of screaming, "No," if your child is asking for candy before lunch, offer them a choice to have one piece now or a few pieces after they eat all of their meal. Or if your child is throwing Legos across the room at your head, tell them that's not how to play, it's making you sad that they're hitting you, and offer to help them build something or show them how to play correctly.

This definitely takes more time, but using one of these positive alternatives to no (tweaked to fit your situation appropriately) will help you and your children to communicate much more efficiently overall.

Scroll through for 25 ways to say no without actually using that dreaded one-syllable word.

  1. Let me show you how to do it.
  2. I know you want to, but we can't right now.
  3. I can help you.
  4. Let's take a minute to think about this.
  5. That isn't going to work.
  6. Maybe some other time.
  7. Let's do this instead.
  8. Tell me more.
  9. That's not how we are going to do it.
  10. I can't let you.
  11. Let's try something different.
  12. Can you show me how we are supposed to do that?
  13. Come away from there.
  14. That isn't yours — let's find yours.
  15. What is our rule?
  16. I'd be disappointed if you did that.
  17. Is there another way to do that?
  18. That's not the best choice.
  19. Not right now.
  20. What do you think the answer is?
  21. You know better.
  22. I wish we could, but we can't.
  23. How about this?
  24. There's a better way to do that.
  25. That isn't safe.