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Helping Your Baby Learn Rules
By the time your baby is 11 or 12 months of age she will understand some words and may even be able to say a few words. But she cant think ahead about what might happen and decide between the most basic of choices.
Help your child learn rules so she can eventually learn to manage her own behavior. Some suggestions for helping her:
Be Brief. Your child understands short, simple phrases. You should give reasons for your rules, but they should not be lengthy.
Be Clear: The baby can understand the difference between splashing and not splashing in the bath. But, the child cannot know that "splashing is okay if you dont get the floor wet."
Be Specific: Tell her what she can do and what she cannot do. If baby is throwing blocks, tell her "Blocks are for building, not throwing." Here stack the blocks into a tower. Be ready to remove her or take the blocks away if she continues to throw them or give her something soft that she can throw. Remember to focus on the positive when ever possible.
Be Consistent: A child can adjust to small differences in rules set by two parents or child care providers. But dont forbid an activity like jumping in bed one time and then not the next. Sometimes you will need to be flexible, but most of the time, make up your mind about what you want and stand firm about your decision.
Remember that feelings are ok. Sometimes children do things that make parents angry.
When you feel angry, admit it. But dont make your baby feel like a bad person just
because she did some thing bad. And, dont scare her with feelings that are too
scary. Say in a firm voice, "Im mad that you did that."
Also see: XPLOR Guide Sheet gh 6121 - Baby Basics Social and Physical Development
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