Posted August 3, 2012


Ive just started to train my 6 month old the command no. When she wants to touch an object i say ‘no’ whilst simulataneously flicking her hand gently. She is a sweet natured girl but doesnt seem to understand yet. I do it consistently for 30 mins and she still tries to grab the object. I have to stop after 30 mins because her poor little hands go red and i get worried.

Is this normal or am i doing something wrong? Is it just that shes too young to understand and be conditioned?


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  1. Laura C.

    If I were you, I would use a really small “switch” instead of your hand. You want your hand to be a loving tool, not something that hurts. If you have trees in your backyard you can just pick a really skinny stick, or you can go to a store and get the smallest size of dowel they have. Just “flick” her leg a few times as you are saying no, and that should work. You want it to be uncomfortable, but NOT harmful. 🙂 I have found that a switch works much better then my hands for them and me! 😉 Hope this helps!

    # August 10, 2012

  2. Beth

    My training tools were in stages. I too used flicking the finger. But later I used a wooden ruler and then a stick, until the plumbing tool came handy. Start gently, the first one doesn’t even have to hurt, its more of a warning. Then a little harder each time. Make sure it hurts, give her a reason to think twice about doing it again. Just because her hand is red doesn’t mean that it is hurting, it could just be because of the repetition. Pearl says to use the tool on yourself first so you know just how hard to switch, and the mark, if any, should disapear within 24 hours or it is too hard. Some children are very stuborn, a different approach may be needed, like deprevision. Sorry about and spellling errors.

    # August 10, 2012

  3. Beth

    I didn’t realize you said you just started your training. Sometimes it takes a little more in the begining, for both mother and child.

    # August 10, 2012

  4. swifttohear

    Hey, Lola
    I started my first son at 4 months and he understood immediately. I placed two objects of different shapes and colors on his high chair tray. I identified one as “no-no” with a serious face and identified the other as “okay”, with a smile. It only took about four tries for him to get it. The flicking of his hand was never harsh, but enough for him to feel the appropriate amount of discouragement.

    My second son was different. He didn’t have the same attention span. When I did that to him, he clearly did not get it. So I left it alone. When he was about 8 months old, he kept trying to reach out and touch a projector screen. My husband said sternly, “no” and lightly switched his hand. He must have repeated that action about seven times before he got it. But once he got it, he never touched it again.

    The point is, no child is the same. You have to figure out what buttons to push, and when. Use your mommy super-skills of observation to determine how much your daughter “gets”. You’ll know when the time is right. I would say that 30 mins. might be too long for a 6-month-old. I remember once trying to teach my oldest son to pick up a diaper for me to change him with when he was about 6 months. I totally botched it, because even though he didn’t get it, I kept insisting that he ought to. His wee bum was all red, and I knew that I had gone too far. I also knew that I had to “win”, so I gave him a task that he could do, without him thinking about the diaper-fetching disaster ever again!

    Good for you for being diligent to train early. If your daughter doesn’t get it, try another method. Does she notice the flick and look up at you somewhat confused? Then she gets it. Her brain is processing, you just need to follow through. Make sure you give her a “yes” object, so she can differentiate.

    Enjoy this time with her! I hope this helps…

    # August 13, 2012

  5. Beth

    How is your training going? What method(s) did you try?

    # August 28, 2012

  6. Beth

    My almost-2-year-old can now get out of bed and that is becoming an isue. A couple days ago I spent a whole hour switching him and taking him back to bed every 20-30 seconds before he stopped long enough to fall asleep. Last night my hubby actually stayed up to make sure he stayed in bed. That didn’t give him much sleep. I try not to say too much in the process, just “take a nap” and I put him down and leave. He is a very stuborn one. I don’t know how long this is going to drag out. He is sharing a room with his older brother.

    # September 9, 2012