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Setting Baby Limits

Your baby now understands simple instructions, so why does it seem that her translation of "no" is "repeat offensive action"? Try to remain calm and remember these rules of thumb:

1. Stay consistent. Your baby is a scientist; if her response to the word "no" is to keep doing the outlawed activity, she's simply testing you to see if she'll get the same reaction from you each time. Be prepared to say "no" over and over again, and don't make a game of it.

2. Speak wisely. If you save the all-powerful "no" for times when you're really serious, it will be more effective than if you use it all the time. Learning and exploration are very closely connected. So when you want to teach important safety lessons like avoiding the stove, say "hot!" and "ow!" with drama (try not to fill her days with limitations).

3. Keep her options open. Discipline is as much about presenting options as it is about prohibiting actions. Tell her in short, easy-to-understand sentences what she can't do and why. Then offer her something she can do instead.