Giving Babies Limits

How do you teach a little one-about 8 months old-how to stay away from things like wires? I want my little one to be able to go where she wants in the house, but of course she's drawn to things she shouldn't have-like all of the wires under the computer. And I want her to learn that there are somethings that shouldn't be played with, even if they look like fun. Is there anyway to teach her to leave these things alone? Or should I just succumb and completely baby proof the entire house? Now that she's mobile, she doesn't even play with her toys-she only wants to climb and crawl to things she shouldn't.

Yes, baby proof. But, I think that after 6 months, a crawling baby is the perfect time to start developing limits - I hate the idea of rules so young. But just think of them as limits, not rules or mandates. They seem to have an easier time if there are limits from the beginning - not many, but a few.
The fireplace seems to draw babies - and it just isn't safe. So, after I did this first idea for about a week - I never had a problem. My baby would crawl on by after I did this...

The first idea - make a loud sound. Right as they are about to touch the fireplace - a "honk" or a duck-sounding, loudish "aaa!" A loud - but short sound. I know that kids aren't animals - but the simple Pavlovian method of doing something unpleasant helps them associate surprising sound with touching the fireplace. They are so little, that they learn pretty quickly. Does that make sense?

The second idea - 20 seconds of holding their arms still. So, right after they have gotten to the fireplace you (instead of saying no - or saying anything) just go to their side and looking away, you hold their arms still at their side. After they realize they are stuck, count to 20 (it will make them a bit frustrated) then calmly say, if you touch the fireplace, you can't use your arms. Short. Sweet. And again they associate something they would rather not with an unpleasant moment. This idea comes from The New First Three Years.

I would only do one at a time and see which one your baby responds to. Good luck!
If anyone has another idea, please share!

Painting: The Delphic Sibyl by Michelangelo detail from the Sistine Chapel


Missy said...

These are GREAT suggestions!

Erin said...

Angie, thanks! those are great ideas for the near future. I'm glad someone asked that. I have also been super curious about your toy rotating. Will you do a post on that sometime soon? I love Ask Miss Angie!

lynette said...

I have to say that the "holding hands" totally works!
Wesley had a bad habit of slapping faces... he gets attention and he thinks it's the same as giving high fives.
So, I tried, "If you do that, you don't get to use your hands" and the face slapping has stopped!
Thanks, Angie!