Babies often learn what the word “Yes” means faster than they do the word “No.” Your tolerance, facial expression and their being able to continue enjoying what they’re doing (or about to do) makes everything easier. We often have no problems with the “Yes” word.

It’s the “No” word that creates problems. Before you start saying no to kids, you might want to learn more about their impact on your baby.

When Babies Understand

As early as six months old, babies begin to understand what no means, say experts. In fact, psychologists say babies can begin to understand some words, among them the word no, even before they are able to utter them, says Julian Gavaghan of DailyMail.Co.Uk.

“A study by psychologists suggests that babies can understand words months before they can say them,” she writes. She adds that this phenomenon “confounds traditional scientific thinking that (babies) start to grasp (the meaning of words) at about a year old.”

Thus, you can begin to train babies about what they can and cannot do 6 months or so after their birth by just patiently speaking to them. With repetition (plus facial confirmation) comes familiarity and babies soon develop a concept of yes or no. It’s something as simple as this:

Yes is when they can go on doing what they like to do and which elicits pleasant facial expression from you. No is when they’re prevented from doing what they like to do and which elicits a formal look from you.

Pros and Cons

Learning the meaning of no helps babies develop a concept of right and wrong. That’s good and needful. However, the no word can also trigger some negative emotional effects in the baby, especially if spoken often. It might even trigger early signs of rebelliousness.

Babies love to explore. They love to touch everything they see and even taste them. When they are able to crawl, stand up, reach out to objects and walk to places, they do so to learn new and exciting experiences. No wonder then that when they’re stopped from doing these things, they protest, as if saying, “Why not?”

The key here is that, there’s a time for everything–a proper time to say yes and an apt time to say no. And experts say there should be less utterance of no. Psychologists say babies can learn what the word no means as early as 6 months old, but they learn the whys behind the no at age 12 to 18 months.

At this age bracket, babies begin to understand why it’s wrong to do certain things and why they are not permitted to do them and respond accordingly. Thus, in the meantime that babies are still unable to respond to the word no properly, experts say adults should say the word as less as possible.

So, instead of saying no to kids, here are some suggestions:

  1. Divert the baby’s attention to other things. If the baby wants to touch dirt, for instance, instead of saying no, attract them to a toy.
  2. Take the baby somewhere else. If the baby keeps touching forbidden objects around them. It would be even better to carry them to a safer place than to keep saying no to them.
  3. Clear the room or house of untouchables. Make your baby’s surroundings safe for them before you place them there, instead of always keeping them from doing what they like or saying no to them.