Baby’s First Word…”NO”

I don’t want that.   I want Davey’s first word to be “mommy” or some other connotation of that.   Unfortunately, I’m having a harder time these days of using the word “mommy” vs. the word “no”.

In my hopes to combat this, I had a discussion with my sister-in-law today and she offered up some advice that I would like to share with all of you.   And just as a side bar, she does have experience in this arena, maybe not as a mother but as a registered nurse with the Monroe County Nurse Family Partnership program.   As a matter of fact, she’s been some form of a pediatric nurse her entire career, so I trust and value any advice she tosses my way.

So, for those of you out there going through the same predicament as me (your child is reaching for EVERYTHING and you’re exhausted just using the word “no”), then try using the Distract, Redirect, and Remove approach illustrated below.

Essentially this is a 3 strikes and you’re out routine and works well for babies under the age of 1.

1. Distract.  Calmly bur firmly say, “(your child’s name), no” then distract with a toy, rattle etc.  If he or she gets distracted by the toy, praise him or her for playing with something appropriate. If he or she goes back to the forbidden item, go to step 2.

2. Redirect.  Calmly but firmly say, “(your child’s name), no” then completely redirect to another activity. Move him or her to another part of the room with toys, put him or her on your lap with a book, etc.  Praise him or her for playing with something appropriate.  If he or she goes back a third time, go to step 3.

3. Remove.  Either remove the baby(to a high chair, playpen, bouncer etc.) until you are able to give your full attention, or remove the object.  This is not a time out as time-outs are essentially useless for children under the age of 2.  This is just a way to keep babies safe while they learn to understand limits, which takes several months and a lot of consistency, and a ton of exhausting effort on the parent’s part.

This way you only have to say “no” 3 times. If you over use the word “no” or in a firm tone, it will lose its effect.

If you want to experiment, next time instead of saying “no”, say a completely unrelated word, like “chocolate”, but in the same tone that you would say “no”, and it will probably get his attention just the same.  Obviously you’re not going to replace the word “no” with “chocolate”, but it’s funny to see how the babies react.

I haven’t had the opportunity to really put this into practice today, but I’m adding it onto my various other action items where Davey is concerned.   All I know is I’m exhausted with saying the word “no” especially considering the fact that when I do use the word, Davey laughs at me.   He’s definitely NOT getting the meaning or point of the word.

Comment and let me know if any of you have tried this approach or if you have used something different that worked just as well.  Thank you again to my sister-in-law, Denise, for the 411 that I’m able to share with all of you.

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