Now that your toddler has started walking, there is no better time than now to begin discipline. At this age, baby is getting himself into unsafe situations and hence the need to say no!
Your child is now beginning to understand the word no, which should be used only when you mean it. Be sure to use the word when baby is in an unsafe situation. Doing this will also help your child understand the word quicker. Always remember to also praise him when he is good, so that he can start to tell the difference between bad and good behaviour.
Going to church
If you are religious, it is a good idea to start taking your baby to church, or a place of worship early, so that he can begin to understand that there are times and situations when he needs to be quiet. Let your baby understand that this is not “fun time” but a time to be quiet. Leave toys and colouring books at home, and let baby learn by observing others.
Cause and effect
If you tell your baby no, be sure to follow this up with an action, such as removing him from a situation. It is very important that parents support each other when disciplining. The “Poppa Bear” strategy works best, where dad comes in and reinforces the no, in a more commanding tone.
Out of sight, out of mind
Let’s face it, without language it is rather difficult to discipline. Removing dangerous items and childproofing your home, is the best strategy to keep your child out of danger.
Pulling your hair
Your baby will often pull your hair as a means of showing affection. Follow this action up with no, and give him a kiss on the hand to divert his attention.
Biting and hitting
Everything babies do revolves around their hands and mouth. The hands and teeth are their first social tools, and they learn how to use them from the responses they get. These early bites and slaps, are playful communications, and are not aggressive behaviour. Simply tell your child no every time he does it and divert his attention.
Distraction rather than time-outs
It’s best to distract baby at this age, rather than use time-outs. Ignoring your baby’s bad behaviour actually works best while he is this young is the recommended treatment for bad behaviour. Offer your baby a safer alternative and do this in an affectionate manner.
Always remember that discipline means teaching and not punishing. Also your child hasn’t developed language yet, which essentially means you will have to keep repeating the word no, until he finally gets it.