You asked

Why does my 2-year-old insist on saying “no” so much?

Two-year-olds use the word “no” to assert themselves and as a means of getting things done their way.  Saying “no” as a means of giving an opinion about something, is far easier for toddlers to do, than explain how they really feel. Many children have difficulty just articulating what they want to say in a proper sentence and become frustrated. Saying “no” is their way of venting that frustration.

Children at that age will very often say “no,” when they actually mean to say “yes.” Toddlers discover that saying “no” gets them a lot of attention. By repeating it enough, they sometimes get exactly what they want, due to their parents getting tired of hearing “no” all the time. To deal with your child's fascination for the word “no”, present alternatives. Suggest the occasional “yes,” when appropriate and use a calm, even-toned voice when doing so. Offering your child the middle ground of saying “maybe,” can alleviate the “no” habit and encourage cooperation and resolution, instead of endless arguments over everything.

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