Almost from the beginning, most infants and babies respond to a smiling face and a cheerful “Yes!” Likewise, a frown and angry “No,” will not feel loving or encouraging to an infant, baby, or young child. In fact, sensitivity to your facial expressions and your voice tones continues into your teen years.
When your baby begins crawling, everything she sees becomes an invitation to explore. With her new mobility, you will need to safeguard your home. Although safety must be the top priority, be selective about when you can simply remove valuables and when you must designate something as a “no-no.” You can return your valuable vases and bowls soon enough. With thoughtful and careful planning, you can assure a safe environment as well as one open to investigations.
For dangerous items, you cannot remove or cover, think “firm” but not “angry.” Getting angry will not help babies understand and may cause unintended consequences. In fact, a constant dose of “no” ultimately creates resistance to the word. When over-used, the word “no” becomes almost meaningless. Use the expression only when needed in order to emphasize the importance.
Deciding when an item or an activity must be a “no-no” depends primarily on safety. For example, electric sockets, glass objects, hot surfaces, or stairs all pose dangers for children too young to understand. Curious babies can never be accused of being “naughty” since they have no concept of what will harm and what will be innocent play.
Curiosity comes with the territory and provides an important way to learn. Years later, in school, teachers will applaud curiosity. (At least good teachers will encourage curiosity.) The power of a smile and a “YES!” will benefit you, as well as your infant, baby, child, and teen.