Imagine that you are 8 months old
You try to talk, but no one seems to understand your language. You try to walk, but you’re not quite sure how to do it yet. You reach out to touch things that are shiny, soft, hard, smooth, or sticky, but everyone tells you, “No, don’t touch.”
How would you feel? A little frustrated, you can bet! That’s how your baby feels at this age. She is very curious and wants to find out about all the fascinating things that are around her.
When you find yourself saying no, give your baby a one- or two-word reason. This helps her learn why she cannot do certain things. Tell your baby what you want her to do instead. Research shows that this really helps.
If you see your baby crawling toward your slippers, and you know they’ll go into her mouth, say, “Yucky” or “Tastes bad”. Give her something else to play with and say, “Let’s play with the teddy bear.”
If your baby tries to touch the hot oven, say “Hot,” and move her away from the stove.
As your baby gets older, you can make explanations a little longer — three or four words instead of one or two.
Your baby’s memory is not the same as yours. Remember how many tries it took her to learn pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo? You will have to tell your baby again and again how to behave and handle situations the way you want.
Show the world to her, lovingly and safely. Be your baby’s guide while she looks at, explores, and satisfies her curiosity.