When communicating with your child, your messages can be more effective if you take into account what they know and understand at various stages in their development as well as their readiness to learn new information.

Before starting these conversations, click here to learn more about how to deliver that message to your toddler.

While cleaning your home, your child sees a bottle of cleaning solution and reaches for it.

What to Say
In a calm, loving tone, tell your child "No, no, no, that's not good for you. It could give you an "owie". For added effect, you can make a "yucky" face to reinforce the message. You are beginning to teach your child limitations. (When you aren't using cleaning supplies, make sure they are stored in a safe place.)

Your child reaches for an open bottle of beer (cigarette, lighter, etc) that is within their reach.

What to Say
Promptly intercept, remove the item from reach, and tell your child, "No. You can’t touch that it’s not for kids."

You are at a family barbeque and your brother tells your child to grab their cigarettes from the table and bring them to him.

What to Say
Promptly intercept and offer to get them for him explaining that you are trying to teach your child that cigarettes are bad for them so don’t want then handling things that you've said are bad or illegal for children and send a mixed message.

Sources: The Partnership at