Discipline is teaching
If you're a warm and loving parent, baby will learn to trust you. The more baby trusts you, the more easily she will accept the occasional limits you set. Consider these ways to teach baby what is acceptable:
- Praise baby when he does things you like. Infants like adult attention, such as words, hugs, or smiles. The more positive you are when baby is good, the more he will tend to listen when you disapprove.
- Ignore misbehavior, such as spitting food, if it is not harmful. Don't look at, smile at, or scold baby. Pretend she isn't there until she stops.
- If baby is doing something dangerous, pick him up and move him to something safe. For example, take baby away from a stairway; put him in the middle of the room and say, "You can crawl here." This is redirecting.
- Remember to praise baby for doing something that is OK after you have ignored or redirected her.
- Baby-proof your home so baby has safe places to explore and move around; she can't spend all day in a playpen.
- Good parents try to prevent problems. If baby gets into trouble, there may be some things you could do to prevent it before baby learns to control her behavior. For example, put a gate on the stairs. Move a vase to a higher shelf.
- Make your baby's world interesting. If he has fun things to explore, he will be too busy to get into trouble.
- Teach your baby the right way to do things. For example, if she pulls the cat's hair, show her how to pet the cat gently.