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LifeSkills Handbook Activity 22

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions altogether. The handbook is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, books and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbook Activity 22
Communication: Saying No

Purpose of activity

  • To develop skills to help children when they are being teased or bullied by other children.
  • To help children learn how to say ‘No’ to what they don’t want.

Life skills: Communication & interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, critical thinking

Important points

Girls in particular need to practice being assertive and be praised for assertive behaviour.


  • None


  1. Explain that one way of negotiating is to make a very clear statement when you don’t want something. Ask the children what they would say if someone in the market says, ‘Come with me, I have a special present for you.’
  2. Divide children into a girls’ group and a boys’ group. Ask them to discuss the main pressures they face in their lives (demands for sex, being forced to work etc). Here are some examples from a group of children in Delhi:
    • If someone wants you to go with them
    • If someone tries to ask you to take bad things (drugs, cigarettes)
    • If a man tries to give you a gift
  3. Explain that we have to practise saying NO to these pressures. For example, in the case of girls, they can practise saying ‘No’ to a man who strokes them on the bottom while talking to them. The girl turns around fast and shouts NO loudly before moving away quickly. Here are some other examples:
    1. For girls
      1. A friend is trying to make you steal fruit from the market stalls.
      2. A man asks a girl to go to the cinema with him.
    2. For boys
      1. A boy is trying to make you smoke cigarettes.
      2. A group of boys thinks it is funny to tease girls and he wants you to join them.

Puppets can help children roleplay situations and responses.

  1. Continue practicing until you are sure that everyone has overcome fears and embarrassment. Make sure all say, ‘NO’ firmly, loudly and clearly. A group of children were asked what were the hardest situations for them to say, NO. Here are some replies: If my friend is cheating in exams and he wants me to join him; When you don’t want to go somewhere with someone; When your friends encourage you to do something e.g. to smoke, to go to the cinema on a school day.

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