Gentle Discipline | 1-2
We are exploring the ideas of gentle discipline for a few days with our founder, Mia Carr, moving forward with the toddler years of 1-2.
Beginning discipline, under 2. This age here, when babies become mobile and begin their journey into exploring the world, is the most precious. How you interact and react to their exploration has a huge impact on their confidence and behavior.
The bond you have formed is now baby's guide. They will always want to come back to feeling safe and feeling that you are happy with them. This is their first emotional experience with "right" and "wrong". Babies begin to explore or experiment with behaviors or actions and do not at first realize there are things you would not approve of.
The most natural way to ease into discipline is to distract and remove baby. When baby reaches for a plant while crawling, gently pick up baby and move on to something else. If it repeats, move the plant. Babies are unable to be reasonable at this young age and it is not worth the frustration for them or you to try to get them to not touch the plant.
Another good technique is to ignore and downplay a behavior. When your 15 month old experiments and hits you, for example, do not react aside from gently saying no and distracting by looking out a window for cars or bugs etc. If they try it out again, remember that these behaviors are testing reactions and will not stick if they get none. If it persists, say "ow" and frown a little, but then say, "gentle", rub his hand and smile while saying gentle. Don't get trapped into a game of reaction changes or the behavior may come up over and over.
Remember, baby wants to feel connected to you above all else so too strong of a disapproval can scare and confuse them. They may not know how to find their way back to your approval. Make coming back to feeling "right", easy for them, especially before the age of 2.
There will be behaviors that are absolutely not ok, like running down the driveway, grabbing a cup of hot coffee etc where a swift "no" and removable are necessary. These emergency times are where I would reserve the word "no" for.
What has worked for you at this age? Let's chat about it!