Sunday, October 22, 2006

Day 244 - Discipline

Today's first time parenting tip - Use positive actions and distractins to build the foundation for preventing bad behavior. Phew.

A mobile baby is a baby that crawls and gets into everything. And no matter how baby proof the house is, they still seem to manage to go for the plugs, little fuzzies on the floor and other untouchables.

Most people say that children under a year are too young to discipline. Others say that children don't make the connection between action and consequence until 18 months.

So what are you supposed to do? Let them do whatever dangerous thing they want and smile all the way?

Not quite.

At eight months, your baby is too young to practice real discipline with. Mostly, you'll be using distraction to prevent dangerous behavior (nothing at this age is deliberately "bad." They know not what they do!) But, I would argue that you don't want to give rewards or pure fun right afterwords.

At this point, you want to start thinking about developing the habits that are conducive to good behavior and listening to you.

If your baby is doing something you don't want them to, like pulling hair, going for a plug, reaching for something hot, etc. Follow these steps.

  • Say no firmly but gently and divert them from what they're doing.

  • Take the baby into a different area, like another room, set them down and let them explore. (this is the point where you don't reward them with a toy for playing with a cord

  • After a minute or two, give them some attention and fun.

Your strategy should change as they mature, but right now you want to get in the habit of consistency (for your own benefit as well) and give them positive attention. Your main focus should be preventing things that are unsafe.

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