Make it a Rule to Practice Rules!


Children will behave better when their world has clear rules and when they know what will happen if they break the rules-which is called "consequences" of their behavior. Teaching a toddler to follow the rules you set is one of the most important responsibilities of a positive parenting Baby Buffer! 


Here are two things to remember when setting rules for your children's behavior:

  • A rule is a pre-determined behavioral expectation that includes a stated outcome. For example, saying, "The rule is that we put our toys back in the toy basket before we go to our friend's house to play. When we follow that rule, we can go to play with our friends."
  • Teach your child that following, not breaking, the rules will bring her rewards. In the example above, the Baby Buffer told what would happen when the child FOLLOWED the rule! 
Learn more here 

Brain Science for Your Baby


Having rules and predictable routines (structure) makes children feel safe and secure which is important for early brain development.  But establishing structure has another imporant purpose for brain development - building the brain's "Air Traffic Control" system - or "Executive function".  


Executive function allows a child to stay focused and to resist acting without thinking.  You will just begin to see that in your toddler - but practice will make that part of the brain develop so that by school age your child can sit and learn and interact appropriately with his or her classmates! 

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby
Practice following rules by using this technique:
1) Decide on a rule that you want your child to follow. Remember that this is the statement of a behavior that you WANT your child to do, as well as the outcome and consequence of doing so.
2) Praise your child's behavior when she follows the rule. Don't praise your child, praise what she is doing. For example, instead of saying, "You're a good girl for sitting quietly at Grandma's house," say, "It's good you're sitting quietly at Grandma's house, so she can tell us what the doctor said." Focus your praise on the behavior, because that it the rule you want her to practice. 
3) If your child does not follow your rule, you know that he needs more practice doing so or may not understand what you are asking her to do. Practice with him while you're in the car or playing in the bathtub, for example.  Say, "When someone says, 'Sit quietly, that means that we don't talk. When I say, 'Sit quietly," what do you do?"   

A baby Buffer Prescription for You  


Be a good role model of following rules. If you have a rule about using a napkin at the kitchen table while you eat so your mouth is kept clean, for example, you use a napkin, as well as expect your child to do so.


If you have a hard time following rules, talk with a close friend, relative or your family doctor about how you can practice rule-following, too. It's hard to teach a child to do something that we don't like to do ourselves.


Keep calm while you teach your child to practice following rules over and over again. It is important to tell yourself that you are doing the most life-changing work you can do every day to be a consistent, protective supportive adult for your child to help her learn how to cope with life and problem-solve...two skills that will help her develop into a healthy person from birth. 




What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Children in this age range are moving away from their "baby" stage and toward the greater world that they have never been physically able to explore before. Talking, walking and asserting their independence are the hallmarks of this stage, developmentally. Children need to explore...we just need to help them do so safely!


Gene's Research Tip

This week, Gene urges you to READ the labels on all medications now that it's WIGA season. (WIGA = whatever is going around)  

Read more here
Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Kristie Clark, MD

After my first baby, I devoted all my time to being a Mom and Pediatrician. I was so tired my eyes twitched!  After my second baby, my Doula (birth coach) gave me great advice: schedule one hour a week to do something healthy for yourself.  With experience I have found that a small amount of time everyday can be more valuable than a large chunk a week.

Read Dr. Clark's full blog here

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