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Teaching Baby Discipline

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Teaching Baby Discipline

Post by checker on Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:47 pm

Your baby is mobile, or nearly so! That’s exciting, but it’s also the beginning of a whole new level of trouble when it comes to making mischief. Hey, your baby isn’t deliberately trying to make messes, or risk his life and limbs (and yours…and the cat’s). He’s simply finding new ways and new opportunities to explore his environment (a sure sign of intelligence and security). While he once stayed put on his blanket, playing with his toys, he can now make his way into more dangerous territory. So what’s on the agenda these days, Mom? A baby-proofing upgrade and your first chance at teaching discipline.
Why Teach Discipline to a Baby?

At about ten months, your baby’s memory improves, making him more receptive to new learning. So where your choruses of “No!” and “Hot!” and “Dangerous!” once went in one cute little ear and out the other, he can now begin to recall your words, actions, and tone of voice from one day to the next. Introducing discipline at this stage helps you start to teach lessons about right versus wrong, caring and respect for others, self-control, and safety. True, these are pretty big concepts, and helping your baby learn them will take years, but that’s all part of growing up.
Dos and Don’ts of Teaching Discipline

Or, the rules for making rules:

Do tell and show your baby how much you love him. Remember, you’re correcting his behaviors, not him. Model politeness and respect (with him and everyone else!).

Don’t be too strict or rigid. If you set your standards too high, it’s hard for your little one to feel like he can succeed and to develop the self-control he needs to behave even when out of your sight. But…

Do be strict enough. Setting limits that are fair helps him feel loved and protected. If you’re overly permissive, he may get the sense that you don’t care what he does.

Don’t let down your guard about safety. You might be teaching your baby that the stove is hot or the stairs are steep, but don’t count on him to avoid temptation.

Do take personality into account. Some babies require a firm tone of voice, while others respond better to a gentler one. Still others must be physically removed from a dangerous area before they get the message. And circumstances (a new sitter or an erupting tooth) matter too when it comes to getting your message across.

Don’t shame or criticize. Your baby isn’t trying to be cruel to the cat by pulling her tail; he’s just curious about what will happen when he does. Calling him a “bad boy” doesn’t help him learn to be kinder to kitty and can crush his developing self-confidence.

Do be consistent. Telling your baby not to climb up on a chair one day, then letting him do it the next is confusing. So is saying “don’t touch” without following up if (when!) he ignores your request. It takes a lot of patience and repetition to teach compliance.

Don’t always say no. A constant chorus of “no, no, no!” strips the word of its power, fast. Choose your battles; safety (of people and things) is most important. Try distractions and alternatives whenever you can (“This knife is too sharp for you, but you can stir with this big spoon”). Turn “don’ts” into “dos”: “This is how we pet a cat” instead of “Don’t pull Fluffy’s tail!”

Do catch him being good. Praise him for offering a toy to a peer or for “helping” you with a chore. Accentuating the positive is truly powerful!
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