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How can I say "no" to my baby without discouraging exploration?
Babies this age are always getting into things that they shouldn't. Many have learned to maneuver across the room and they want to touch and play with most everything they find. The first thing you should do is make sure your home is totally babyproofed, especially the rooms your baby spends the most time in. Remove as many things as possible that he shouldn't touch and strategically place interesting things for him to explore.
Kids do need to learn the word "no," but you should reserve it for only a few things at this age -- activities that might hurt him or others (like hitting or biting other kids), or touching things he might break. A simple "no" followed by "no touch," then moving him or the object, is usually enough. If the room has a lot of items that can't be moved, then a portable play yard is a good idea. Also, the word "gentle" is a great one to teach now. Model it for him when he is a bit too rough. Say "gentle" softly and then show him how to do what he was doing in a more pleasant way.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.