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Q&A: When will baby understand no?

When do babies understand what "no" means, and when do they understand basic discipline? When he pulls my hair, I try to distract or redirect him, but it doesn't always work. I know it's unintentional on his part, but I'm still curious.

Re: When do babies understand what "no" means, and when do they understand basic discipline? When he pulls my hair, I try to distract or redirect him, but it doesn't always work. I know it's unintentional on his part, but I'm still curious.

The Bump Expert

Children understand "no" at different ages -- some grasp things earlier than others. You don't need to wait to start explaining the rules, though. At as early as six months, you can begin introducing discipline by verbalizing messages like "we do not hit." Don't expect him to understand or follow those directions, though.

If baby's pulling your hair, start relating the message, "we do not pull hair," and then provide an example of what he can do such as "rub mommy's face." It may take a while, but as baby hears the instructions repeatedly and continues to master physical control over his body, he'll eventually be able to follow the direction.

Tammy Gold

Q&A: When will baby understand no?

I wouldn't just use the word, "no" because I don't want that to be my baby's first word. I think it's better to say something positive or just use more specific directions.

rocket2japan |

Q&A: When will baby understand no?

I agree with all of the above. I usually say, "Be gentle with mommy" and then show him how to stroke my face/hair without hurting me. I think it's important to show them what they can do instead (and to give them loads of positive responses when they do something gently).

claradutton |

Q&A: When will baby understand no?

This is more of a question: My 22mth is hitting and doesnt really listen all that well. When I say no he laughs. When I say come hear he ignores me. I tried time out but he thinks its cool because now he can say corner and is excited. Is this the terrible twos? What can I do?

carrief27 |

Q&A: When will baby understand no?

We have had a similar problem. Our son (5 mo. yesterday) is interested in mom's hair, dad's hair (which is also long), and in the cat and the dog. I have simply taken the hair out of his hands (by inserting my finger to his grip and rolling outward against the thumb while saying, "Let go. We need to touch gently." Then we do a lot of "practice." When he expresses interest in the cat, dog, or my hair, I cup his hand in my hand and we stroke the hair in question saying, "nice touch. gentle. ZZ is such a nice boy. Thank you." Although he only turned 5 months yesterday, he seems to be getting it. He now reaches up while breastfeeding and strokes my hair with an open hand and smiles. -- I say it's never too early to verbalize. (For what it's worth, I also used to work as a behavioral specialist for non-verbal children and adults with autism, and we also stressed using terms for the behavior we wanted rather than what we didn't want.) I hope this helps someone!

brettski73 |

Q&A: When will baby understand no?

We are also working on that. I use the we do not pull hair or kick Mommy's hand. I then tru for a redirect to focus attention on another action. Sometimes it works sometimes not. I do know that my son responds to tone of voice. He seems to know when the word no is implied even when it is not used. The head butts are the hardest to redirect. He has the head control but if he is fusterated he seems to target my face with some good slams. If I can get him to focus on a toy or something else he usually stops.

Jester131 |

Q&A: When will baby understand no?

I'd be less concerned with baby's first word being "no" than I would be for my baby's safety. "No" is a short quick word that should get your baby's attention in an emergency. Say "no" and then explain why you said it. You'll be glad you did when baby is reaching for something harmful when just out of reach.

smokeyangel |

Q&A: When will baby understand no?

No is such a bad word to use. tons of my friends say now it's the only thing there 1 and a half or 2 yr old say. Some told me to use a different word. I say this. If you try to explain it in a way that your baby can understand then it's a good learning process. If my baby bits I of course say ouch! Then I tell her that hurts mama and please don't do that again. She was 5 months old when I started to explain this to her and took her off my boob when she bit. That only lasted till month 8 she would bit on and off. Now at month 9 she does not bit at all and has tons of teeth. I only said no twice and then caught myself. When I started to realize as I explained to her that it hurt she would look at me as if trying to understand me. Well she has it down now. She really does understand! She even tilts her head to the side a bit to let me know that she is taking in what I say and will not play bit on my boob while breastfeeding. I lover her so much and now we have an understanding that is way more then just saying NO to her.

zora33 |

Q&A: When will baby understand no?

No is a bad word to use? I'm sorry but, that is why there are so many poorly behaved children running around! We, as parents, cannot be afraid to discipline! Give me a break. For those that need a little help with getting their lo to understand, don't just say no, say no while taking their hands in yours and look them in the eye and use a stern voice. They will understand and if you do it, you won't need to use it often and therefor it won't be your childs first word! It can't just be - no no, no no hunny - please! That soooo doesn't work! My first son is 16 now, his first word was not "no" and perfect strangers used to stop me literally in the street and in restaurants and thank me for such a well behaved little boy that LISTENS! I NEVER had a problem with him because I wasn't afraid to discipline early on. If a child's first word is no, then they are hearing it too often which means it is being used ineffectively.

jarobinson |