There are two main reasons
for parents to make rules for
their children. The first is to
keep children safe. The second is to help children
Your baby needs to know that she can depend on you to set limits for safety
and guidance. Use these guidelines when you set limits for your baby:
- Make rules that develop the self-esteem and dignity of your baby. Don’t
have rules that make her feel bad about herself. For example, when
she’s trying to say a new word and mispronounces it, say the word
correctly. Don’t scold, mock, or repeat the “baby” word.
- Make rules that are clear to your baby. Your baby needs to be told the
rule, again and again. For example, you don’t want your baby to pull
your hair. If she pulls it again after you told her that it hurts, simply
put her down. Say, “I can’t hold you when you pull my hair. I won’t let
you hurt me.”
- Make rules that you can enforce. Avoid threats like “If you splash, I’ll
never let you play in water again.” Instead, state clearly that you expect
the water to stay in the sink while your baby pours from cup to cup. If
she splashes the water, restate the rule and tell her that her water play
is over for the day.
- Enforce rules consistently. Your baby needs to learn that rules are
important to her safety and that they don’t change from day to day.
For example, you have a rule that your baby always rides in a car safety
seat. This rule should be the same in all cars, no matter who is
driving. If you bend the rule once, she will test it again and again.
- Childproof your home so it is a safe place for your baby to play and
explore. You’ll spend less time making and enforcing rules.
Your baby is too active to watch TV now. She is curious about the things in
the real world: kitchen spoons, blades of grass and newspapers. Her
attention span is too short to sit still and watch TV for even a minute. This
means that she won’t be interested in videos or movies, either.
When you watch TV, watching it takes time away from your baby. It’s hard
to enjoy a show and care for your baby at the same time. It’s best to save
your TV watching until she naps or goes to bed at night. Instead of
watching TV, read a book to her.
Sing a song or dance to music. Play a game such as “drop the ball in the
oatmeal box.” These activities help develop her brain. They strengthen her
social skills. They help her feel loved and happy.
If you watch TV while your baby sleeps, turn down the sound and darken
her room. You don’t want her to think she’s missing something fun.
Avoid having the TV on all day as background noise. A silent black box will
be less interesting to explore. Limiting TV time is a good habit to start now.
Later, when she’s in school, your child will need time to read and do her
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