When does discipline begin?
When and how to start saying ‘no’ to a baby
Babies do not understand right and wrong so as parents we are there to comfort, teach and guide our babies and help them adjust to the world around them.
Introducing discipline is an important way to help them learn what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t but there are different ways of going about it.
Rather than look at old-fashioned discipline, we look at positive parenting and how it can help you set boundaries for your little one.
What is positive parenting?
The fundamentals of positive parenting say that if children make mistakes they should be responded to in a way that:
• Is kind and firm at the same time, so it’s respectful and encouraging.
• Helps children feel a sense of belonging and of being significant.
• Is effective long-term. Punishment may be effective in the short-term, but not in the long-term.
• Teaches life-long social skills, such as respect, concern and compassion for others.
• Invites children to discover how capable they are and how to use their abilities in a constructive way.
When should I start disciplining my baby?
It’s natural that as your baby grows you will notice behaviours that are not appropriate for your little one. Positive parenting suggests whenever this occurs you can help to advise your little on that there are other choices they can make. Therefore, every time you pause and guide your little one, you are in fact practicing discipline.
So what do I do if my baby is doing something I don’t want them to do?
Use a gentle touch to gain their attention and redirect your baby away from what they were doing. If necessary, use simple words or familiar gestures to help divert their attention. If they are playing with something they shouldn’t be divert their attention with a toy that is safe. The idea is you set limits early and respectfully. You set out clear boundaries and communicate with kindness.
If you follow the positive parenting guide, it is technically never too early to introduce 'discipline' as your simply starting to guide your little one in a positive way as soon as they attempt to do something that you feel isn’t safe or right for them.