My Baby Doesn't Understand the Word 'No'

Sona Charaipotra

baby shoes
She sure likes her shoes.
(Or mommy's, as the case may be.)
Kavya started crawling last week, and things have been chaos ever since. She's so uber-curious, she gets into everything. In a way, it's really charming. But it can also get a bit problematic, given our small space. So I find myself chasing her around, stashing every little thing out of sight, and prying things out of her little hands when she does get a hold of something.

And then, when all else fails, I find myself saying, in a stern (but not unfriendly) tone, "No, Kavi, no."

Here's the thing, though. She laughs at me.

She really doesn't understand what the word means yet, but apparently she also doesn't understand what the stern tone means yet. She thinks I'm just trying to be funny.

She's only 8 months old, so I'm sure it's a bit early for her to truly understand this. But she's also just hitting the age when she realizes what's happening if you take something away from her.

There's a school of thought that saying "no" too often stifles a child. I could see how this could be true, to a degree. But not saying it at all could turn your little one into a raging brat. It's definitely a fine line. All I know is, I don't want "no" to be the first word that Kavi learns to say. 

Still, it would make things a lot easier if she did understand what the word meant. I mean, I don't want to raise a brat. But really, when does discipline truly need to begin? Maybe she should have a bit more time to be oblivious to the world's rules and regulations.

Does your little one understand the word "no"? Do you think discipline is important, even at the baby stage?

Image via Navdeep Singh Dhillon

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