Discipline Methods for Baby: 10 Months and up

Discipline Methods for Baby: 10 Months and up. Different ways to help teach baby what is okay and what isn’t okay to do. Babies can learn!

Baby with blue eyes looking up.

Babies are adorable. They are so cute and do the cutest things. But babies aren’t just cuteness. They are also very smart. Babies can learn more than we often give them credit for. When a baby does something we do not want baby doing, we don’t have to just allow it. We can actually correct it! Remember you can give your baby rules and boundaries.

If change in behavior does not happen, your discipline method is ineffective. By discipline I simply mean correction. Your aim is to teach the baby what is not okay and what is okay instead. If you try one method and things do not change, try a different method.

Discipline Strategies for Babies

There are a lot of different discipline methods you can do to correct a baby or young toddler when they are doing something they shouldn’t. Here are a few ideas.

Verbal Correction

This is something you can start using sooner than 10 months old. This is my method of choice for all ages. I use it with my children. For this to work, your child has to obey your voice. He will have times when he absolutely just ignores you. Many times, he does this to test if you mean it.

You will also find that he obeys well, then will start ignoring you again. This usually accompanies a new skill. One example is when he starts to climb the stairs by himself. Part of his choice to ignore you is his strong desire to climb those stairs over and over to practice. There are ideas in On Becoming Toddlerwise for addressing situations like this. See How to Use Substitution for Discipline. Another part of his choice to ignore you is that his new skill has brought with it new freedoms. He needs to test his limits of those freedoms.

Don’t underestimate the power of verbal correction. As I said, it is what I use the vast majority of the time for all ages thus far (Brayden is approaching 14 years old). I used this primarily with my kids when they were babies.

We aren’t special around here; it can work for you, too. Part of our success is that I use it from the beginning. For the entire span of my children’s lives, I have been correcting them verbally. Another part is that I expect them to obey that verbal direction. Children live up to expectations.

When Kaitlyn was close to two, I noticed that even Kaitlyn obeyed her brothers “verbal direction” above the percentages expected for her age. He did not need to be giving her verbal direction, but that is a whole other topic. The point is all he did was verbally instruct her and she obeyed. He did not use any other method of persuasion to get her to listen to him.

A third reason we are successful with verbal correction is that I am very consistent. I am consistent with what is okay and what isn’t. I am consistent with providing that verbal correction. Finally, we are successful because I also offer a lot of verbal praise when they choose the right thing.

Always remember to allow your little one to Discipline Strategy: Surrender with Dignity.


A great little tool for discipline is distraction. With this, you essentially focus your baby’s attention on something else. If she really wants to go up those stairs, you work to distract her to focus elsewhere. Read Distraction as a Discipline Tool for more.

Discipline Methods for Baby: 10 Months and up. Different ways to help teach baby what is okay and what isn't okay to do. Babies can learn!


Encouragement is a great discipline tool. It is positive discipline and helps you focus your child on what she should be doing rather than what not to be doing. Read more on How to Use Encouragement as a Discipline Tool here.

Isolation in the Crib

If your child refuses to listen or is emotionally out of control, you can remove him from the situation and put him in his crib (or a pack-n-play). At 10 months, you can be sure your child can easily learn cause and effect relationships. The most common worry for parents with this method of correction is that the child will start to hate the crib. Your child is smart enough to associate the difference between isolation time and sleep time. I have never heard a parent who does isolation in the crib say that their child started to hate the crib.

Read: Time Out/Isolation

Loss of Privilege

This is to reinforce verbal instruction. You use it if the child does not obey the verbal instruction you have given. This is my second most used method of correction for all ages. He can lose a privilege, a toy, etc. If he refuses to listen to your instruction to not go up the stairs, then he might lose his privilege to climb himself at appropriate times. If he throws something off the highchair, he loses it, etc.

Mommy Glare

You know. The look.

This is my own addition. In conjunction with the verbal instruction, I give them what I call my “Mommy Glare.” This is that look you give that tells your child what they are doing is inappropriate. Often times for me, just the look is enough to stop the child if he already knows what he is doing is inappropriate.

Never underestimate the power of the look. I literally have stopped a physical fight between high school boys after a basketball game with my “look.”

On Becoming Babywise II lists methods of correction appropriate for babies 10 months and up. Many of those ideas are listed here. Some of these can be used sooner than ten months old if you feel your baby can respond to it. These are found on page 60.

Discipline Methods to Avoid


Avoid getting angry. When applying these methods, remain calm and matter-of-fact. Getting angry about the situation does not help your child to obey. It also puts you and your little one at odds with each other. You can correct your child and still be on your child’s side or team when you maintain your composure and correct your child.

Emotional Manipulation

This is really along the lines of getting angry. Don’t make your child feel like he is about to lose the love of his parents because he did something wrong. Apply the consequence for the action without holding a grudge and without trying to apply a guilt trip. Again, tie no emotion to it. It just is what it is. Child did something he shouldn’t have so now he has the consequence for it.

Related Discipline Posts:

Discipline strategies for baby. 6 strategies to use to correct your baby or young toddler.

19 thoughts on “Discipline Methods for Baby: 10 Months and up”

  1. Hi, I know this isnt the right post to leave this comment on but, my computer keeps crashing so Im just going to hurry and leave it here.I need your HELP! I am a Mommy to 2, and a HUGE BW believer. My daughter (3) followed the schedules perfectly and slept through the night at 7 weeks and continued with no problems. My son (4 mos.) on the other hand has struggled with the entire process.He is currently on a three hour schedule and takes 3 naps a day. His day time routine is not really the problem (although he has problems with it at times). It is the night we are struggling with. He goes down at 8PM and sleeps really well until 5:30AM. He is consistently waking at this time, I have been feeding him and he goes straight back to sleep until 7:30 when I wake both kids up. He isnt very interested in eating at this time, but will usually do OK. Anyway, I have tried putting him down later and dream feeding. My question is, he is sleeping about 10 hours a night, should I try the CIO at this point? I feel like he is waking out of habit but once he is awake after 9 1/2 hours of sleep he feels hungry. I am totally willing to do the CIO and I do it for naps often, but it is when I KNOW he isnt hungry. At 5:30AM, I dont KNOW that he isnt hungry, but I am wanting to try. I just need someone to tell me its not cruel.Tanks for all your advice! LOVE this blog!

  2. I have a question about the isolation to the crib or playpen. Do you remove any toys so that he has nothing to play with or do you leave the toys? It seems like with the toys there he wouldn’t know he was being disciplined. How long do you leave them in the isolation spot? Thanks!

  3. I love your new layout! Very easy to read and navigate, and fun fresh background. Good job! And thanks always for this great service and forum you provide through this blog. God Bless.

  4. My daughter used to be very obedient with verbal correction/instruction until lately…when she spends more time with grandma, I realize grandma is teaching my daughter habits/behaviors that are not a part of our “rules” where now I have to retrain or “re-correct” wrong behavior. Several talks with grandma get us nowhere. I have to use “time outs” pretty frequently now because my daughter won’t listen to me and “the glare” no longer works!!! Any advice on how to nip this before it gets worse?

  5. Lotts,I would remove all toys. Length is up to you. With Brayden, isolation only works when he is throwing a fit–it isn’t an effective tool for discipline. So for him, he would go to isolation until he could calm down. With Kaitlyn, I do one or two minutes. I set the timer. BW II says that some might need only 5 minutes. I find that with Kaitlyn, 1-2 right now is 100% effective. I have heard to do one minute per year of age. I think you just need to decide what is the proper length for your particular child.

  6. Thanks Carrie! When I first changed it and looked at the two side by side, I thought “Ugh! I can’t believe I had that old one for so long!” This one is a lot cleaner.

  7. Nikki, this is a hard one. First, if you can limit or spread out time with grandma, that might help. I think all grandparents spoil their grandkids. I know mine get spoiled with grandparents. If the kids are with them too long, behavior problems follow. But if you can look at it as a disruption and space it appropriately, you can minimize the problems.If time with grandma can’t be altered, I would focus on your daughter understanding that life at grandma’s is different than life in the real world. I know my mom for the most part keeps things the way I do it, but she has some things she is different about. One is that she gives snacks between meals where I don’t. The kids never ask for snacks at home. I think they are at grandma’s for about 30 seconds before they ask. Another is that she doesn’t give a treat every time Kaitlyn goes potty (potty training) since she gets snacks already. I do. Kaitlyn accepts that and still does just as well with the potty at grandma’s. Children can learn and accept that rules vary based on location and who is in charge. Good luck!

  8. I’ve found that if I “disconnect” myself from the situation a bit I am much less likely to get angry and frustrated. Also, I wanted to mention something about expectation and following through. It is amazing how much of a difference it makes. My friend is always making comments about how her kids won’t do this or that etc. Whenever I’m taking care of them they pretty much always do what I ask without breaking out into a fit which they always do with their mom. I know it is a little different bc I’m not “mom” (and many kids simply act differently around mom), but I think they simply know what I expect from them and that I am not going to back down. What a difference in behavior it makes! They are angels around me and in tantrums 50% of the time with their mom.

  9. With a 11 month old, I am starting to study up on disciplining techniques! question re: when to go to the isolation stage. right now, all I really have to deal with is my son touching off limit items. He is drawn to electrical cords. I have focused on verbal instruction from the start. He responds to his name, and may or may not move away after I tell him no. If he doesn't move away in response to the second "no," I remove him to a different area of the room. I know every kid is different, but would you think this situation, with an 11 month old, requires moving on to something like isolation? He doesn't get upset when he is moved away and doesn't usually come crawling back to the "no" item. Thanks (to anyone!) for your insight!

  10. At that age, I mostly focused on telling my son what not to do (e.g. don't touch mommy's book) and then redirected his attention to something else (e.g. you can play with your book right here). In fact, this is still one of the most common things I do right now with him (he's 17 months). Everyone uses isolation differently, and I use it mainly for defiant behavior. Like when I ask my son not to touch something, he moves away from it or I move him away, and then he goes right back to it again–he then gets isolation.

  11. Melissa, it sounds like he is doing well since he doesn't go back to the item after you move him away. I agree with Rachel to try isolation if he returns after you have moved him. Be aware that isolation is not effective for every child.

  12. My son is 8 months old. So, what discipline do you use for babies under 10 months? I guess he may still be at that age where he doesn't understand discipline yet. But I feel like he is beginning to go down the wrong track with screaming, grabbing things he shouldn't, and starting to throw small fits. My husband and I definitely want to stay ahead of it all.Thanks!

  13. He isn't too young to understand. The other day, McKenna blew a raspberry while eating. I didn't even think about it, I just told her "that's a no" the same way I do to Brayden and Kaitlyn. She stopped, and didn't look the least bit concerned over my tone. I thought it was so funny when I realized the whole thing. When Brayden was a baby, I was so concerned over him obeying and wasn't sure if I should tell him no…but by now it is just second nature. And McKenna lived up to my expectation.For me, I just say, "that's a no" or "no fingers in your mouth while you are eating" and then also move them if needed (so if her fingers are in her mouth, I remove them for her). Then you are just consistent. Do it over and over and have the same expectations. At some point down the road, you will see the fruit of your labor.

  14. I am at a loss and very frustrated with my son's hitting, kicking, and sometimes biting (he is 19 months). I was hoping you would have some ideas. I typically give him a time out in the corner when he disobeys and what ends up happening is he tries to hit/kick/bite me on the way over there. If he runs to time out by himself he will hit the dog on his way over. This of course makes me very frustrated! When he does this he is usually not throwing a fit, just has a "what are you going to do about it know?" kind of attitude. I will place him in his corner he will try to get me before I leave. Sometimes he will chase after me to hit me and as I put him back he will continue!The other times he hits/kicks/bites is when he is throwing a fit because he is not getting his way or I have to change his diaper and he doesn't want me to. This time he is usually screaming or whining and is just out to get me. I've put him in time out and it just doesn't seem to be working. He will come back and do it again. Getting me even more worked up!I am at a loss at what to do about these behaviors. It doesn't help that I am almost in my third trimester of pregnancy either. My patience runs out quick and I end up raising my voice to him because I don't know what else to do! What do I do? How do I stop him from hitting in those two very different circumstances?

  15. LEMA couple thoughts. First off, I would try time outs in a place that your son cannot get out of like a play pen or a crib. It sounds like he does not have enough self control yet to stay in time out and that is turning it into a game for him and making it ineffective for him and super frustrating for you. Oh, and while taking him to time out I would hold him face out and away from your body if possible to keep him from hitting you.Also, maybe time out isn't the best method for him. I know I had to try out several different things with my son to see what worked. Right now if he hits or throws I have him sit on my lap with his arms folded for a couple minutes (I hold his arms folded if he tries to unfold them). If he tries to head but me in this position he goes in time out and then we finish up our little period of "controlling his hands" (used to happen a bit but is pretty rare now). I know some people that have kids that love to be held will put them right down and walk away the second they hit them and this will work. I'm sure there are a bunch of other ideas out there too.I would also work on staying calm as hard as that can be right now. So much easier said than done! If he's like many kids, he may misbehave much worse when he can tell you are getting frustrated just because he likes your reaction. My son likes to do this to my husband on a daily basis :)As for the diaper changing situation, I'm sure many people would do this differently. I personally would work on distraction first rather than discipline but that is just me (I would still continue to tell him not to do his bad behaviors though). It's a bit hard to be disciplining throughout a diaper change too since you might have a dipaerless child and all. I would make sure to talk to him to let him know what is going on. Maybe having him stand during the change will help. Maybe you could offer him a toy he only gets to play with then or an object like a remote control he is normally not allowed to touch. You could try songs, encourage him to help you do it (lift legs etc) and praise him for this, calmly tell him that the more he kicks the longer it takes or that if he'll stay still you'll be done so quickly etc. I don't know, it's a hard situation. I'm sure valerie will have some good ideas too.

  16. LEM, that is a hard age because they are kind of between types of discipline. One thought is that for time outs, Love and Logic says the child needs to go to time out by themselves, but I am sure there are plenty of kids who wouldn't do that :)For diapers, I would give him a toy or something to keep himeslf occupied. My guess is that because you are in your third trimester, you are less patient which leads to him acting out more. You are probably also more lax in a lot of areas–I know I get that way. Do the best you can. You might want to try a different form of discipline since it sounds like time-outs really aren't effective. Keep working with things until you find what works with him most of the time.

  17. OH! Rachel I just read your response. Good ideas 🙂 I like your idea about time out in a different location if she continues on with time outs.


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