Most parent wants their baby to grow up and behave like a perfect little angel at all times. But even the sweetest, most even tempered kids will act out at some point. You can't avoid it altogether, and the sooner you accept that, the easier things will. There are, however, several things you do every day that'll make your baby more well-behaved later in life, while making your own life a little less stressful in the meantime.
You may think you don't need to worry about discipline until your little one is old enough to walk and talk, but even younger babies can have a bit of a naughty streak. Just ask any mom who's screamed out in pain after their baby decided to chomping down on a nipple during breastfeeding, or who's scrubbed a bowl of baby food off the floor after someone decided they'd rather fling it than eat it. Taking the time to correct not so pleasant behaviors in the beginning may save you a lot of time and frustration later on down the line.
Here are nine things you're probably already doing that will have a positive impact on your baby's behavior as they get older.
1. You Explain Your Rules And Expectations
Your child won't know necessarily know what kind of behavior is expected of them unless you take the time to explain it. What To Expect noted that it's never too early to start setting some ground rules for kids, and that you shouldn't underestimate their ability to understand.
2. You Reward Good Behavior
Little ones can't always control their naughty behavior, and it would be unreasonable to expect them to. That's what makes it even more important to reward good behavior in kids, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Getting praise from you will make you child want to keep up the good work.
3. You Don't Cater To Their Every Need
Learning how to be patient is a valuable skill in life. You can help your kid practice patience by not automatically jumping up whenever they ask you to do something for them, according to Parents. The better your child is at waiting, the less likely they should be to throw a tantrum when they can't get what they want right away.
4. You Set Limits
Children look to their moms and dads to teach them how to behave, even in those situations where they appear to be pushing your buttons for no reason. According to HuffPost, kids benefit when parents set limits because it helps them understand what is and isn't OK.
5. You Let Them Problem Solve
A child won't be able to deal with their frustration and work through their disappointments if a parent always swoops in to save the day. According to Parenting, letting a child figure out their own problems when it's appropriate can actually boost their confidence in themselves.
6. You're Consistent
When it comes to raising a well-behaved child, consistency is key. Dr. Bernard Arons told Parenting that kids probably won't be able to control themselves if their parents aren't giving them consistent rules. Parents also need to make sure that anyone else who takes care of their kids, whether it's another family member or a babysitter, is doing the same.
7. You Present A United Front
Kids learn pretty early that they may be able to play one parent off another to get what they want. But if you want them to behave, you can't let that happen. According to Fox News, kids should understand that when one parent says no, trying to get a yes from the other won't work.
8. You Don't Expect Perfection
Kids are going to have good days and bad days when it comes to their behavior and that's just something parents need to accept, according to Baby Center. Don't expect more from your child than they're capable of giving you.
9. You Set A Good Example
The best way to show a child how they should act is to set a good example with your own behavior, according to NPR. Simple things like speaking to them in a calm voice and saying please and thank you to them can go a long way.