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.
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