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On Becoming Babywise II lists methods of correction appropriate for babies 10 months and up. Some of these can be used sooner. These are found on page 60.
- Verbal Correction: This is something you can start using sooner than 10 months, I think. 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 Substitution: Toddlerwise. 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. Like I said, it is what I use the vast majority of the time for all ages thus far (Brayden is approaching 4 years old). 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. I have noticed that even Kaitlyn obeys her brothers “verbal direction” above the percentages expected for her age. He doesn’t need to be giving her verbal direction, but that is a whole other topic. The point is all he does is verbally instruct her and she obeys. He does 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.
- 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 they 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.
- 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.
- Hand Squeeze: This is light to moderate. This is used to gain the child’s attention, not as punishment. I personally don’t ever use this.
- Mommy Glare: 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.
Methods to Avoid:
- Anger: Avoid getting angry. When applying these methods, remain calm and matter-of-fact. Getting angry about it does not help your child to obey.
- 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.
- Spanking: “Spanking, as traditionally practiced in our society, is not an acceptable form of correction during the pretoddler phase of development” (page 60).
- Substitution: Toddlerwise
- Training in Times of Non-Conflict
- Controlling the Young Temper
- The “Mini-fit”
- Discipline: Progress is a Spiral
- Throwing/Dropping Food off of the Tray
- Discipline Strategy: Surrender with Dignity
- Baby Highchair Manners
- Teaching Your Baby “No”
- Babywise II: Freedoms
- Babywise II (blog label)
- discipline (blog label)