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when he become mobile...

article written by Heidi


It's amazing how much trouble a little mover and shaker can get into — and how quickly it can drain your patience. But while it's easy to let your little one's exploits exasperate you, there's a downside to overusing the word no. If he hears it too often, he may eventually tune you out or become hesitant to try anything new for fear of your disapproval. Remember that at 11 months, your child isn't being defiant just to bug you — exploring, experimenting, and trying things his own way is how he learns about the world. So it's important to give him freedom but to also help him learn what the limits are, what's safe, and how to take responsibility for his actions. Here are some ways to cut down on those no's — and the behavior that provokes them.

Set up your house for safe explorations: Create a childproof environment and you won't have to constantly stop your little one from poking, pulling, and prodding at the world around him. If he just can't resist going near your collection of knickknacks or that precious crystal vase from Aunt Millie, move them out of reach for a while (you'll eventually be able to bring them back out, and at least they'll be in one piece!).

Offer alternatives : Instead of a flat-out no, redirect his attention to something that's not off-limits. For example, you could say, "You can't play with Mommy's magazine, but you can look at this one." Or "You can't empty the cereal shelf, but you can take out the pots and pans."

Use distractions: If he won't take no for an answer, physically remove him from what he's doing and get him engaged in something else. If he won't stop turning the TV on and off, for example, carry him into another room where his toys are set up and engage him in a new game. Out of sight is out of mind for a young toddler, so he's likely to be just as happy with his new activity. Another tried and true tactic: Distract your child with humor. Sometimes a totally silly face on Mom, a tickle session, or a big fat raspberry on baby's belly can make the medicine go down (and the bad behavior stop) in the most delightful way.

Allow room for error: Accidents will (and should) happen — especially to little kids who need to learn from their errors. So, again, if safety's not an issue, don't make it impossible for your son to make a mistake or you'll deprive him (and yourself) of a valuable teaching moment.

Let baby win…sometimes: If the stakes aren't high, let your son win the battle. An occasional victory (like being able to unravel the entire toilet paper roll) is only fair in light of all the little losses he faces every day.

Keep your expectations in line: Remember, saying "I'm sorry" isn't a realistic expectation for an 11-month-old; however, he should be expected not to yank your hair whenever you give him a kiss.

The bottom line: Save "no" for rules that really matter or situations that are dangerous to your son or others. Some rules (like not pulling the cat's tail) are worth fighting for, while others (like not emptying the toy basket) may not be. That way, when you do say no your son will understand that you mean business. I hope that helps!

Good luck,

Heidi

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