Baby and Toddler Discipline

Dealing with a misbehaving baby or toddler can be difficult. Is there anything you can do if your small child smacks you and thinks it’s funny or is constantly grabbing things she shouldn’t be grabbing? Yes, there is an appropriate, effective way to discipline babies and toddlers when they misbehave.

Once your baby begins to grab and wave her arms purposefully, it’s time to let her know what’s not ok, which comes into play at about nine months or so, maybe a little sooner or a little later depending on your kid. It’s about the time she begins to crawl.

One successful approach is the “no-no” approach-first saying “no-no” when the baby does something like pull on Mommy’s jewelry, put something in her mouth that she shouldn’t be putting in her mouth, or even playfully smack Mommy’s face. If the baby doesn’t listen and seems to be acting like she thinks she is playing a game with you, she gets a sterner “no-no” and a little tug or a gentle smack on the hand.

This leads to a crying fit, usually, but it’s ok. You’re not hurting her physically. Her ego is bruised and she may also be a little frightened, but you just can’t reason with a baby so don’t try! You have to communicate with her in a way that she understands.

With a consistent application of the “non-no” approach, it doesn’t take even a little baby very long to begin to understand that “no-no” means “something’s wrong-I better stop.” The point is to let your child know that when you say “no-no,” her behavior must change, immediately. If it doesn’t, something worse than “no-no” WILL happen.

This “no-no” approach is a tried and true method of training children to be well-behaved and obedient.

A lot of parents only say “no-no” a few times and never go any further. Guess what? Their kids don’t listen to them. And their kids don’t don’t listen to other adults either. It portends trouble in dealing with more serious misbehavior down the line.

If you’re consistent and you follow through regarding tiny things like not letting your baby tug Mommy’s jewelry, you’re setting an important precedent that helps to build a solid foundation for having a well-disciplined child.

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