How To Discipline A Baby Who Isn’t Even Old Enough To Understand Rules

·5-min read

It is never too early to provide your child with guidance. Even if they are still in the age of blessed ignorance, you should take on the role of a teacher.

If your little one has a big personality, maintaining discipline can get tricky. Can you even teach your baby some rules if he or she can’t understand you?

Yes, you can. There are effective ways of disciplining a baby.

The Art Of Disciplining Babies

The foundation for discipline is consistency. You want to practice the same disciplinary actions if you want your child to absorb your teachings.

Also, equip yourself with patience, support, and positive emotions as your baby will need love and support. After all, positive emotions and discipline shouldn’t exclude one another.

Now that we’ve set the tone let’s get straight to some practical tips. Here are some ways that can help you teach your little one to understand and follow your family rules.

1. Call attention to good behaviour

disciplining babies
disciplining babies

Image source: iStock

Babies learn from their environment. Your behaviour shows them the right direction and that’s why calling attention to good behaviour is effective.

When a positive reaction rewards your child, they will build the desire to repeat that behaviour for more rewards.

You need to understand that babies can’t differentiate between right and wrong. They can only observe what kind of consequences follow their actions.

Repetitively calling attention to good behaviour will make a lasting impression on your little one.

For instance, if your baby pulls your hair, show them how to stroke it. Smile at them after they stoke it, hug them, or play with them. Follow up good behaviour with a positive reaction that your baby will notice.

Help your baby create a catalogue of good behaviours. You don’t need to give them a tangible reward. Drawing attention to it with a change of voice or pleased reaction will do.

2. Use your serious voice

disciplining babies
disciplining babies

Image source: iStock

Have a “no-no” voice set and ready when your child misbehaves. Just as a positive reaction should mark good behaviour, a serious voice should show disapproval of bad behaviour.

Remember that a serious voice doesn’t equal yelling. You shouldn’t yell because you’ll only upset the baby without him or her know what’s happening.

Combine a serious and calm voice by saying “no.” Also, move the baby away from a dangerous situation until they learn to do that by themselves.

Your baby can understand a change of tone and start recognising your serious tone as a signal of something wrong. However, you should limit your serious voice teamed up with “no’s.” If you do this more often, the baby will associate the serious tone with regular behaviour.

3. Divert attention

disciplining babies
disciplining babies

Image source: iStock

Distraction is an excellent disciplinary method. Diverting a baby’s attention doesn’t endanger their curiosity but simply redirects it to something positive.

Let’s say that the baby starts putting their shoes in the mouth. Take a mouth-friendly toy to divert his or her attention and make an exchange.

Or, if they start being restless, take a story and start reading in funny voices. Basically, distracting your baby will not only prevent them from misbehaving, but it will also drive their attention to positive behaviours.

4. Give them a timeout

Image source: iStock

Timeouts are traditional and yet very effective disciplinary measures. The American Academy of Pediatrics also promotes timeouts as one of the best practices for managing children’s behaviour.

What timeouts do is give babies a moment of isolation. Since they want attention and care, isolation will stick with them as the situation they want to avoid.

Time-outs are a suitable solution for unacceptable behaviour such as throwing food, biting, or hitting. The moment they start misbehaving put them in a timeout area. This can be their kitchen chair, for instance.

The timeout shouldn’t last longer than a minute or two. Longer timeouts don’t have any effect on babies.

5. Laugh it off (use funny voices)

Image source: iStock

Humour is a stress-free solution to encourage discipline. Use fun, laughs, and humour to teach your child about the dos and don’ts of your household.

For example, you can transform into a funny character with a funny voice that shows and tells your baby what to do. The baby will enjoy this game-like behaviour, thus, he or she will repeat the action that preceded it.

As the baby gets used to the same funny character they will have a larger desire to “surface it” with good behaviour.The funny voices and laughter will put all your child’s focus on you. They will observe what they do with more attention.

This humour-boosted measure combines attention diversion and calling attention to good behaviour. The funny voice will distract them from unwanted behaviour and put their attention to what’s right.

Remember, expressing their independence comes naturally to babies. They don’t know any different. That’s why they have you to set the limits. Give these tips a try and see what works best for your little one.

Keep in mind that you need to choose your battles. You’ll win some, but you’ll also need to lose some. Your baby will need time to learn and adjust to the world of rules, so be patient and enjoy this rather wonderful time.


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