Observe children’s reactions when told “no.”
No elicitation may be needed, as infants will try to explore everything. When the child moves toward an inappropriate object and tries to get it ask the adult to say “no” firmly with a brief explanation of why it is a no-no. If no opportunity arises naturally, place an attractive, but inappropriate object where the child can see it and react when the child tries to get it.
Children at this age are beginning to understand that “no” means something is wrong. The child will stop, look at the adult then usually go for the object again. The “stop and look” is beginning recognition of do’s and don’ts. Some infants may begin to cry, and seek the adult for comfort when she recognizes she has done something to earn disapproval.
Children all need boundaries, so learning the meaning of facial expressions and limit-setting words is important. Encourage early childhood educators and parents to pair words (short and simple) with firm intonation (not yelling). Make a frowning face, say ‘no’ firmly, and explain why simply (“That’s sharp.”) The child at this level will not understand the meaning, but this pattern is important for later cause-and-effect understanding.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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