Infants and young toddlers may not understand the reasons behind many rules that exist. For example, she doesn’t know that it is unsafe or unsanitary to carry food or drinks around with her. She may be too young to know why she needs to sit to eat, but she needs to experience this as a rule. She needs to see and hear this rule many times, and she needs to test the rule again and again to fully understand it.
When we teach and reinforce rules gently and calmly, we can help children to internalize them. Babies have very little self-control. They naturally act on thoughts and feelings without the ability to stop themselves. I want to climb the climber and it doesn’t matter that I am in the middle of snack! With sensitive guidance, verbal reminders, and gentle physical redirection from parents and caregivers, they can begin to learn to manage their actions on their own.