When/Then, Now/Later, You May/After You
This is a great way to say “no” without really saying “no”. It is particularly appropriate when there is nothing wrong with what your child wants to do. Sometimes it is the timing that isn’t appropriate. For instance, just before bed time is probably not the best time to go play at the park, however, a book before bed time is fine. This tactic allows you to acknowledge your child’s desires by moving it to an appropriate time. You also avoid the dreaded “no/stop/don’t” words that all children dislike hearing.
You have to be aware that when you start using this, your toddler might adopt the same approach back with you. For instance, my niece would often ask her Mum for items she would like to have. My cousin’s reply would usually be, “Yes, but not right now.” One day, my niece said to her Mum, “Yes, but not right now.”
It is also a great way to get your toddler to do all those nasty things he hates. For instance, “If you take your bath now, we can read a story later.” Or, “When you’ve eaten your dinner, then you can have some ice cream.”