When Does Discipline Begin?

Discipline at 7 to 12 Months

Age: 7 to 12 months

The Big Issues: Movin' -- and Getting into Trouble

If you haven't already, start childproofing your house -- put anything poisonous out of reach, install gates, and cover light sockets. But also provide plenty of safe places for your more mobile baby to explore. If you're constantly saying no, you're sending a message that the world is off-limits. Leave a latch-free cabinet filled with wooden spoons and plastic bowls, and put board books and puzzles on low toy shelves. If baby does get into trouble, distract and redirect. Say, "I know you want to pull on that lamp cord, but that will hurt if it falls. Let's play with your trains instead." Marissa Privilegi, of New Hyde Park, New York, changes her tone of voice when her 8-month-old gets into something she's not supposed to. "It doesn't always work, but eventually she'll get it," Privilegi says.

Separation anxiety often crops up at this time as well, which makes for a clingy baby. Encourage her to occupy herself. If she starts to scream when you disappear to do laundry, don't immediately run back, which signals to her that there really is something to be upset about. Instead, reassure her with your voice. Say to her, "Mama's in the laundry room; it's okay."

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