Parenting The Mind of a Toddler

Why do toddlers say “no”?

Turns out this phase of development is as normal as it is annoying.

Want lunch?


How about water?


Do you need to take a nap?


Are you just going to keep saying no?


Sound familiar? That means you’ve found yourself firmly planted in what experts call the Toddler Refusal Phase. Welcome! My guess is that you knew this stage was coming, but have you given much thought to why the hell it occurs?

Turns out this phase of development is as normal as it is annoying.

The simple answer as to why your child seemingly word vomits the word “no” at you every time they open their little mouth is, well, because they can.

They have quite a small vocabulary at this age, favour short words, and learn early on (from you, of course) that certain words like “no” and “stop” carry with them power, emotion and meaning.

The more complicated answer is that between the ages of one and three, toddlers become very independent. They start to understand that they are, in fact, separate beings from you. This results in them attempting to taking control of situations, learning to make their own decisions by, that’s right, push back with words like “no”.

It’s important to remind yourself through this phase that your baby is simply experiencing the most rapid brain development of their entire lives. No big deal. They are gaining 700 new neural connections every single second of every single day. This developmental stage is a critical transition from baby blob to an actual little person, so go easy on them and yourself.

Did know why your toddler always says “no”? Well, now you know!

Speaking of knowing… if you’re keen to understand what the heck is going on with your toddler, check out The Mind of a Toddler page for interesting answers to your burning questions!

Until next time, stay crafty.

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