Our sweet boy is learning the word “no”. That probably ruffles a few readers feathers J
“You tell your baby No?! That’s so mean!”
Yes, we tell him “no” and we also tell him “great job”.
In just one week of us being intentional and consistent, John Ryman has learned:
- to stop and look at us when we say “no” or “no touch”
- which items are off limits and is beginning to avoid them
- (my favorite) that when he does the right thing and we say “great job buddy” he will sit down and start clapping with a proud grin on his face!
The dogs' water bowl was the first thing for our little crawler to discover and the first “no touch” item. Knowing that we couldn’t hide the water bowl every time JR was awake, this was going to be the first thing our mobile boy needed to learn. With watchful eyes and consistent instruction, we would wait until he was reaching out for the water and warn him with “no touch”, then quickly moved him to the other side of the room. He was smarter than we realized. Trust me, your baby is way smarter than you know! What did JR do? He crawled across the living room, into the hall and straight back to the water bowl. We repeated it two more times, before giving a little swat on the hand. After that, for a couple days, he might get close, but simply saying “no touch” was enough of a reminder. Now, he crawls all around it and pulls up on the door next to the water bowl, but he doesn’t touch it. I try to encourage him as much as I can, so if I see him eye the bowl and then sit down next to it, I start clapping and praise him for not touching it. He gets so proud and will clap for himself! Precious! Now, I don’t leave him alone because he is still learning (my goodness he is only 8 months!) and I’m sure there will be days he tests us, but if we continue to respond consistently I hope he will grow up to obey first-time and feel a sense of security in the consistent emotions in our family.
(Please notice that I am using the word “we”. Both parents need to work together and be consistent. You must communicate together on what you are going to expect from your kids. If you are both going to be relaxed and let the child run free- you still need to share that with each other so the child isn’t confused with the changing boundaries or lack there of.)
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to babysit in dozens of homes. I have been able to watch godly (still imperfect) parents striving to raise their children in the Lord. While many taught me wonderful tips and parenting lessons, there were other homes that showed me what not to do. I can tell you that the most important thing I realized over those years was the significance of consistency in parenting. I tried my best not to watch in a judgmental way, but simply to make the most of my time before starting a family, learning from the good and the bad.
If we teach our kids that they can have anything they want and do not create boundaries, then it poses a major problem when they begin to interact with the outside world. I feel sorry for their first teacher who has to teach them the difference between play time and desk time. (Thank you Teachers- I’m sure you put up with a lot because of our parenting mistakes!) Or who helps your child understand they can’t run freely and need to stay in line in order to organize all the children in the class? If your child has never been told “no”, how will they respond when they do not make the team or pass their driver’s permit? The real world is not that easy. Your child will have to be told “no” in this world and given boundaries by society, most importantly, for their safety. If you cushion every area of the home and put away every fragile “no touch” item, how will they learn?
(to be continued...)