Boundaries for Babies?
Yes! Babies like a predictable world and for a good reason. Every day is packed with learning and excitement and routines provide relief from the chaos. If you spend your entire work day mastering a new task, you appreciate your regular coffee break.
Sticking to a familiar pattern soothes babies and children of all ages in stressful situations whether it is a new caregiver or a parents’ business trip. It is helpful for little ones to know what to expect.
Routines by age:
4-6 weeks– introduce a nighttime routine. Bath, dim lights, massage, read a book together and snuggle, last feeding, then bed. Even though they will be awake soon you are setting a good foundation and your baby will associate these cues with sleep. Also, during late night feedings, keep lights dim and limit talking. During the day you encourage them to stay up for longer periods with stimulation, lights, talking, and singing.
3 months-You should have them on a pretty good feeding, playing and nap schedule. Try laying them down drowsy but not completely asleep to start teaching them to fall asleep by themselves. Do not let them cry it out, they are still too young. But give them an opportunity to start self-soothing.
6-7 months- They are now starting to need boundaries. They are beginning to understand the concept of object permanence which means he realizes the people and objects exist even if he can’t see them. If he recognizes that he lives in a safe, predictable world that he can always return to, new challenges and experiences aren’t so scary.
Setting boundaries provide much-needed structure for your developing child. Know when to create, change or expand those boundaries is the key to parental success.
Redirection- Babies want to grab and taste everything, some things are off limits.
What to do? Yelling and punishment do not work. Babies don’t have the ability to understand, it will only scare them. Redirection is the best approach, if you see them heading for the pet food, call their name and pick them up and show them something else safe to play with.
Introduce boundaries with select words like Yes touch and No touch, indoor voice and outdoor voice. Consistency is key, do it over and over with kind words and lots of encouragement.
Benefits to routines/boundaries
- Learn self-control
- Reduce power struggles
- Fosters positive behavior
- Keeps baby safe
- Increases social skills (hi, bye, please, thank you)
- Helps baby cope with transitions
- Makes baby feel safe, increases ability to learn and retain