Parents often ask when they should start teaching babies the word “no.” In answering this question, it is important to consider things from the baby’s point of view. Babies from 6 months to 2 years like to chew on things, bang things, take things apart, touch things, and put things in their mouths. Babies and toddlers use these methods to learn about their world. While it is tempting to use the word “no” to discipline your baby, there are more effective ways to keep him, and your home, safe.
Tips for Keeping Your Baby Safe Without Using the Word “No”:
- Baby-proof your home so that your child can be free to touch, crawl or walk around without getting into trouble.
- Use safety gates.
- Keep medicines, cleaning supplies, and other dangerous items out of reach of your child or stored in locked cupboards.
- Place plug covers on all unused outlets.
- Close doors to rooms you do not want your child to go into without supervision.
- Take valuables and breakable items off of tables and shelves that your child can reach.
- Be consistent.
- Use distraction when your child is doing something you don’t want him or her to do. Substitute a safe activity.
- The fewer times you have to say “no,” the happier everyone will be.
- Save “no” for things that are really important.
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Oakland County Health Division, 2005. Discipline.