When they start to say no...

Amy Sweeney by Amy Sweeney Additional Needs

Amy Sweeney

Amy Sweeney

My name is Amy and I’m mum to Wilson aged 3 and Ava aged 4. Wilson has cerebral palsy affecting all 4 limbs along with CVI but it doesn’t let it st...

What do you do when your child starts to say no? Whether it be verbally or using their body language to tell you they just don’t want to do something, all parents go through it!

At first it might be cute, you might laugh it off or let them away with it but eventually you realise that sometimes the things you are doing are completely necessary, maybe they all of a sudden don’t like their medicine or (and this is a big one for us) they decide that they don’t want to do therapy/exercise.

So what do you do!?


It sounds easy, but I’ve experienced first-hand that it’s not always as easy as it sounds, and it can take some thinking! For medicines, perhaps start a sticker chart for every time they take it, or give it when they are watching tv and won’t notice as much or turn it into a game!

When it comes to physio/exercise the same applies. One thing that I’ve found to help with doing exercises is the mouse game! My son absolutely loves this, he has a lot of stretches and exercises he has to do lying down so we pretend there’s a mouse crawling about and we have to search for it, so he has to lift one leg, then the other, open and close his legs like scissors, arm stretches, roll on to his side and then the other side and even sit up - all searching for our little pretend mouse! We even manage to practice high kneeling looking for mouse over things.

It’s such a simple game but it works and requires no equipment!

When you make something sound like a chore or hard work then it’s no wonder that they don’t want to do it, turn it into a game and offer rewards and children end up changing their minds very quickly!

One big thing I also realised was to stop asking. I know it sounds silly but often I find that if I don’t ask then it doesn’t open up an opportunity to say no! So instead of “shall we do your medicine now?” you could say “ok it’s medicine time, let’s pick a sticker!” Or when I know I need to do floor physio, I don’t say “do you want to do some exercises?” I say “I’m sure I just seen a mouse! Let’s try find him”. How you word things definitely helps - good luck!



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