How to discipline babies?
As your baby grows he becomes more aware of his surrounding and his senses make him curious to explore everything around him. This is a beautiful phase of bub’s life where he touches everything around, stares at everything he finds interesting and tastes the first thing he grabs.
However, with your baby reaching the curious age is when you are yet again tested as a parent! Almost every baby at this age starts to be a bit stubborn and this is the time when you as a parent are required to educate your baby and teach them discipline.
Have you heard your friends talking about their 7 year old child: “Mandy never listens to me, it is a challenge to feed her even at this age, especially when she’s on her tablet device watching cartoons…”. You don’t want to be one of those mothers, do you!
In simple word, you need to start developing the habit of saying ‘NO’ to your baby.
Although, teaching discipline is certainly important, but being too extreme and saying ‘NO’ to everything and anything your bub does, has its own adverse effects on his personality development and confidence as an individual. As a parent you need to judge the seriousness of the situation and act accordingly. For e.g. if your baby tries to spill water over your phone or tries to insert his finger in the electric socket holes, make sure your actions tell your baby that he was doing something wrong and this is something he shouldn’t be doing in the future.
In this particular case, your actions as a parent can be: taking away the water bottle/smart phone from your baby or grabbing bub away from the electric socket and saying ‘No, this is not something good he’s done’. Make sure you say this with a non-smiling face. Your baby senses your strict behavior (since he may usually see you smiling at him, talking to him and playing with him etc.) and as a result may cry or scream but he needs to understand that what he just did wasn’t the right this to do.
Some parents to infants and toddlers tend to be less focused on teaching discipline to their babies at this early age. Instead they only focus on their baby’s health, diet and well-being in general and wait for them to join school and get a bit older before they start helping them with discipline, but what they don’t understand is, the earlier you start teaching your child, the easier it is.
Here are a few ways to deny your baby and help them discipline better:
Divert your baby’s attention
One of the best things in babies is that they can easily get diverted and involved (if your baby is not too fussy). When your infant or toddler is asking you for something that you think is not good for them, then offer them something else instead that you think may be a better option.
Since infants and toddlers have recently started their journey in life and exploring new things around them, chances are that your baby will get diverted easily and will show equal interest in what you have offered in replacement. If your baby is one of the few who do not get diverted easily, don’t give up too quick, try a combination of a few different things until your baby shows interest in at least one of them.
For example, being a parent whose brought up in the age of soft drinks, chances are you may have made your baby try a soft drink at least once. Now every time your baby see’s a soft drink around, he wants his share of the sugar-heavy drink.
Your job as parent now is to ‘divert your baby’s attention’ from the soft drink. Firstly, you should talk to your baby and tell him that “I know you like to have soft drinks but having too much of it is not good for you health okay! However, you can have this orange juice (or any other flavour your baby likes) instead and this one is very tasty and yummy”. Drink a sip or two in front of them to grab their attention.
This is all part of your baby’s learning process. By diverting his attention from the soft drink to the juice, you are creating a communication channel with your baby, training him that next time his mother grabs a soft drink bottle away from him, it is nothing to cry and scream about since he’ll then be trained that if mum takes an unhealthy soft drink away he still gets his bright coloured and tasty orange juice after.
In case your baby is fussy and firm about their demands then parents need to handle calmly and patiently.
Needs to know Firm Instructions
Sometimes toddlers can get very naughty and tend to play during meal time. It is really fun for them to throw away food and spread it all over the place. Your duty as a parent is to teach them that this is not something they should be doing! But how do you do that?
If you say ‘NO’ to them straight away when they are at their naughtiest peak, chances are that your baby wouldn’t like it. Some babies may react to this by getting angrier and continue throwing food, this time more aggressively. This may in turn make you raise your voice at your baby, which is not a good way to teach manners and discipline to your baby. This kind of treatment can harass your baby and chances are such children lose self-confidence as they grow.
The better way is to just be calm and politely take the baby’s food away from him and then, you as a parent need to start creating that communication channel with your bub. You are supposed to tell them politely that what they are doing is not the right behavior. And should tell them what the right behavior is instead.
‘Giving your baby firm instructions’ that being naughty during meal time and throwing away food or jumping around during meal time is not allowed. Make sure that your say that with a non-laughing/non-smiling face since babies can sense when you are being serious and when you are being your loving self. Once you see they are concentrating when you are talking to them, towards the end, you must appreciate them paying attention by saying something like: ‘thank you for listening’.
Some parents think that their baby doesn’t even understand the language at this age, so what’s the point talking to them. Even if you are one of those parents who try to visually show their babies of what is wrong and what is right, talking to your baby while visually acting to show what you mean, helps your baby learn the language faster and also helps them get used to listening to what you have to say.
So, in short, talk to your baby about his actions. Every time he does something wrong, he needs to know that directly from you face to face. He will then gradually learn discipline and will also learn what your different facial expressions mean. Your baby will start keeping a mental note of the things that change his mother’s facial expression from “always smiling and playful” to “not so smiling and serious”, and will stop repeating those actions.
Let him spend time with others
Babies are fond of their mothers. They like to follow them everywhere; and it is also observed that most children do not like their mother talking to someone else while they are around. They feel ignored. They start screaming and sometimes they also use force (pulling your leg etc.) to take you away from the crowd.
It sounds very adorable to see your baby craving for your attention. However, in real life this may not always feel that cute. There may be times when you are involved in a serious conversation with someone else and your baby seeks your attention at the same time, it may then be a bit difficult to handle your baby’s tantrums.
As a parent, you need to be very patient and calm. As much as you love your baby, one of the major causes of postnatal depression is your baby not letting you live your life anymore and asking for your full devoted attention. This is where friends and family come into play. It is ideal for the mother’s health and well –being that that she tries to seek help from close friends and family in this regards.
Try inviting your friends or family every now and then and let them spend time with the baby so that the baby starts getting familiar with them. As your baby gets familiar and is taught the habit of spending time with others as well (and not just their mother), you get to spend some time on your personal health and well-being as well.
This will not just help improve the mother’s health and well being but at the same time, it will also teach your baby that seeking his mother’s attention round the clock is not required. If the mother is busy, the baby would have been disciplined that the mother is busy and won’t be able to give me the attention he requires and may then go look for your partner or someone else in the house to spend time with.
Stop him by holding his hand
If not disciplined step by step on time, some babies tend to get very aggressive and quickly learn to hit and push if they are denied something. Some children also learn to pull their mother’s hair to grab their attention, which is certainly not a good sign of parenting.
Help them learn to good behavior at this early age. Politely yet firmly hold their hands to stop them from hitting you. Then explain them politely that what they are doing is not the right behavior and good babies are not supposed to act like this.
Again, communication is the key. You as a parent need to make sure that a communication is setup between yourself and your baby as early in the age as possible. You need to talk to your baby and communicate their wrong and right actions. Like if your baby hits your or pulls your hair, make sure they know that wasn’t the right thing to do.
Talk to them one on one: “You are a good baby, aren’t you! You must tell mommy politely what you need rather than screaming or hitting mama”. Then hug them and tell them that you love them a lot so there is no need to be angry or grumpy. Teach them what is gentle touch and how to express love.
Remember, babies are tiny humans. They have all the senses a normal adult has but it is your job as a parent to use those senses to help them grow into better human beings.
Giving them the right learning environment
Have you heard the saying “like father, like son” Your baby learns a lot from you and your surroundings by observation. Therefore it is important to keep your baby’s environment as healthy and happy as possible for proper mental, physical and behavorial development of your baby.
It is observed that parents who regularly go through conflicts and fights, especially in front of their babies, their babies tend to learn aggressive behavior and grow to be irritable in nature. Moreover it is also seen that such babies usually do not like to listen to anyone and being denied anything results in aggressive behavior by such babies.
In short, if you want your baby to learn discipline and grow to have a nice personality, make sure his surrounding is free from negativeness. Of course this may not always be so easy. Real couples do argue and have conflicts. Make sure that your arguments and rude behavior to each other doesn’t reach your baby’s radar. A good learning environment is necessary to help your baby learn the right behavior and to grow be a good person.
Create a good environment for your baby and teach them what is good and bad behavior by acting accordingly in front of them. Such as if your baby is screaming by imitating some other screaming baby; you must tell your baby that this isn’t the right thing to do. Your baby should know with every action he does. If he does something nice and friendly such as grab you your phone or grab your car keys for you, he needs to be appreciated. This will tell your baby that what he just did was the right behavior and if he scream and cries for no reason, he should be told accordingly that such behavior is not the right thing to do. Doing this as a parent, you will notice how slowly and gradually your baby starts to learn.
Get involved with their play or whatever activity they want to do in order to teach them right way to do such activity, such as having meals together.
Treating babies respectfully is very important for their life long character and personality building. Do not try to order them. The better way is requesting them it helps make things better and much easier way.
Sometimes giving them their own space and learning time is also important. It help them become creative and independent learning skills in your baby.