Picture it: your baby is playing happily by himself, babbling and slamming blocks together. You think here’s my chance, he seems occupied, I’m just going to go to the bathroom really quick!
You haven’t even pulled your pants up yet when you hear noises in the kitchen… and you run in to find your precious baby eating the cat’s food (yes this exactly has happened to me). You feel like mom of the year.
It can feel so easy to just baby proof the heck out of your baby’s play area so that you can run into another room quickly and not have to worry about anything going wrong. But is that really what’s best for your baby? Or practical?
All too quickly I see my baby on his way to toddlerhood, mini tantrums getting more and more real. It’s easy for me to see the importance of boundaries for babies, especially as I see him trying to test those boundaries.
Once that baby starts walking, it’s going to be so important that they know that you’re in charge! If they’re toddling down the sidewalk they need to listen when you yell STOP! as they head toward the road. Your authority is important not only for their development but for their safety. Setting boundaries early helps to start solidifying that authority early.
If you suddenly start laying down rules and expect obedience once your kid starts getting around, they’re going to be confused and frustrated. Even though babies seem so small, they can learn! You’ve seen them learn and grow already so there is no reason you can’t start to teach them rules now.
I started out by telling Gideon NO and unlatching him when he would bite while nursing, even as a little little baby. Now he has a blue line on the ground going into the kitchen that he knows he’s not allowed to cross. He’s also obviously not allowed to pull on cords or the cat. I’m sure as he grows and becomes even more mobile we will have to set more boundaries in place, but for now these rules give him plenty of freedom to roam and explore while still staying safe and learning what “no” means.
Have you enforced any rules or boundaries with your baby? When did you start? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget if you have anything you want us to write about you can always Ask a Bestie!