What is the most spoken word among toddlers today? That’s right, “No”. Why do toddlers prefer this word to others? Because it’s often the word they hear the most.
When we say “no” too often to our babies and toddlers, does the word lose its effect? Imagine being blind with no sense of touch, and finally being able to see and feel. Would you want to explore your world? Every light, every shiny object? Of course you would.
When you are saying “no” to your baby when he touches the things around him, you are saying “no” to his natural curiosity. Eventually, he will ignore you and go after things when you are not looking, or he will become anxious in his own home.
If this is the case, how do you protect your things and stop your baby from hurting himself? Some parents believe you should put up everything you don’t want your baby to touch. Others keep their house the same as pre-baby and keep saying “no”.
How about being somewhere in the middle? You definitely want to baby proof your home, but you should encourage your baby to touch as many objects and textures as possible. If he is curious about a certain knick knack on your coffee table, and you know that it’s delicate, teach him to touch delicately. “Gentle” is a great word to teach him. Squat behind him and show him a gentle touch. “Gentle” has a more open, pleasant connotation than “no”, don’t you think?
When do you use the “no” word? Make it a point to use “no” when your baby is doing something dangerous: Moving towards the fireplace, running towards the street, eating rocks. When you save your “no’s” for the important things, he will pay more attention.