Your eight-month old has just sprung new teeth and you’re all excited. Then one day she digs two tiny sharp teeth into your finger as you feed her. You dismiss it at first. But a few days later she bites her older brother. What do you do? Ignore it again, rationalizing she’s too young and will outgrow the habit? Or do you let her know it’s wrong? Some experts say babies, like all kids, need limits too. It teaches them early on what they can do and what they cannot. But can a baby as young as your eight-month old really be disciplined?
In fact babies are like a blank slate. Once your baby is aware of his surroundings, setting limits help him learn. Disciplining can start as early as the age of six months itself.
Babies may not understand words, but they gather enough from your body language and tone. A firm ‘No’ each time your baby bites tells her she is doing something wrong. She will notice you are not smiling and hence unhappy with the act.
Punishments may not work with babies. A baby will not comprehend or even correlate it with their action. But if you explain briefly using a firm tone that biting hurts and is wrong, she’ll get it. Eventually she’ll understand your words too.
Try distraction. It takes focus away from the act and works well with first time offenders. Your baby has short term memory and once distracted will easily forget.
Positive Parenting is a great way to instil good habits. When he puts a toy back in its place, praise him, clap your hands and make a big fuss about it. Then encourage him to put back the rest too, praising him all the way. Kids love attention and providing a well-deserved praise lets them know they’ve done a good job!
Good habits can be formed at any age. So don’t be shy in disciplining your baby or toddler. It will go a long way in shaping their personality.