No and Distraction Not Working, Now What?

Updated on November 10, 2011
R.P. asks from Lake Stevens, WA
16 answers

My daughter who is 10.5 months learned to crawl a week ago. Since then she has crawled over the the tv and grabbed its cords to chew on them or over to the fire place. She has been scooting on her bottom for a few months and didn't do either in any type of frequency, maybe once every few weeks. Now it is every two minutes. We tell her no firmly then try and distract her. When we tell her no firmly she starts to cry and then grabs at us and tries to bite us at times. She has never tried to bite us until she started being told no. We are firm when telling her no bite as well then she cries even more. We put her by her other toy(s) that are out and get her distracted. Once she is distracted or so we think, we go back to doing whatever we were doing before the cord pulling or fireplace exploring. Right when she sees us going back or walk away or sit down to play next to her she goes and tries to crawl back to either place. Us starting all over again. This has been going on from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed at night of course except also for nap times. She is very cranky baby now since she is being told no. I think I might be more concerned about her wanting to bite us. I don't mind telling her no and distracting her over and over since she is only 10.5month she will figure it out due to being told over and over but my hubby is getting frustrated and thinks we might need to start putting her in her pack n play after no so she realizes ok no means going into pack n play with no toys. Could this help? Where should we go with this?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your words of advice. We are unfortunately not able to hide the cables due to they plug into the front of the TV or believe me those would have been hid long ago. The entertainment center that is built into our wall has the tv area towards the ground and we are currently saving up for a flat screen that can be mounted. Elevate all problems there. Most all other things are already put up from her or baby proofed. I am all for her exploring and know that's how kids learn. And when I get home from work I am down on the floor with her playing a few times a week we go shopping or out somewhere different. She just is sooo fascinated with those two things right now which are right next to each other. At least its a gas insert fireplace so no mantel.
We will keep with just redirecting her and keeping her engadged. But the biting thing I think we will use the pack n play just because that is just unacceptable. I do believe she has the ability to know what she is doing isn't the right response to her being told no.
Oh and teething I wouldn't doubt but she is only biting after being told no. She has teethers with her at all times. She has had 6 teeth since 8 months. Some more should be popping up.
So thank you all again for words of wisdom.

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answers from Houston on

When my kid started doing this, a pop on the hand a few times did the trick. We never had to put up anything b/c we had a baby and never had to worry about him in other people's home either.

As for the biting, I heard if you bite them back (or I mean, pretend to...don't break the skin or leave a mark or anything), it might shock some babies enough to stop.

I have a friend who swears by this method - when her babies/kids get upset, she gets down on their level and while they are crying/fussing, she says "oh, are you mad b/c you want to play w/the tv and I won't let you? I know you're mad. I'm so sorry". I guess she is validating their feelings w/o letting them continue their bad behavior or something.


2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

Once they are mobile you aren't going to be able to put her down and "go back to what we were doing". That's pretty much over - until she's 12 and wants nothing more to do with you!!!!!!!

At 10 months.... You need to be interacting with her!!!! Otherwise she will interact with her environment. Better that she interact with her environment WITH you so that it is safe, rather than on her own (and that's good advice for the next 15 years btw)

One other thing..... You say that she's been crawling for a couple weeks? You can't tell her no once and she gets it. That's not how it works. Repetition is how the learn - rules, consistency, guidance. You will be repeating yourself for the next 20 years. About everything. So start picking your battles now. All the more reason for you to be interacting WITH her - there is less for her to 'misbehave' if you are guiding her behavior but letting her explore with you right there to distract her. "distraction" doesn't mean saying "play with this instead" and leaving it at that. At this age distraction means getting them involved in something else - with you.

I would be careful about establishing a "punishment" style of parenting. You can - if you want. There are many parents who believe a punishment style is best. Myself - I believe my job as a mom is to teach my daughter how I WANT her to behave, not punish her for behaving in a way I didn't like, or isn't safe (if the house is baby proofed and you are interacting with her, her environment should be completely safe for her to explore, explore, explore). Are their consequences? Absolutely. But I try to guide her behavior by giving her suggestions of what she can do instead of saying no, no, no.

Just my $0.02
Good Luck

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Lucky you, you've got an explorer on your hands! She's curious; she's interested; she wants to understand her world. Stop what you are doing and watch her explore. If anything is dangerous, get rid of it or store it for the next year--even the T.V. Take her outside and let her explore out there, too. Talk with her and explain what she is looking at, thereby building up her vocabulary. If she drops her toy down the stairs to see what happens, retrieve the toy and watch her do it again. And again. She is beginning to understand gravity. Focus on her and be her first and best teacher in life. Say, "Oooh, I see you've found. . ." Give her a hug from me, little cutie.

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answers from Portland on

Please don't isolate her with no toys. The distractions may not seem to be working because she *really* wants to find out what's so important about those no-no's. But she's too young to really understand what time-outs are about (she'll need to be 1 1/2 before she gets the point). So timing her out as punishment will probably only frustrate her further.

Getting those cords out of her reach won't be easy, but is important. Otherwise, if you are distracted long enough, she could get an electrical burn, pull down equipment on herself, or worse. PLEASE babyproof, unplug and set cords up out of her way every time you turn off the TV. Or find a way to block access with large boxes that she can't move or get past.

It's also not a good idea to tell a child 'no' any more often than is absolutely necessary. Otherwise it becomes a 'power' word that she will use repeatedly around the time she turns two. It's far better to redirect her yet again with an appealing toy or activity.

And Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Toddler on the Block, has a number of techniques for helping reduce frustration while still setting good boundaries for your child. Watch him demonstrate one of his techniques that have worked very well with a few littles I've known: . He demonstrates exactly how he "speaks" the toddler's language so they know he's heard the need they are expressing. This calms them and makes it easier for them to cooperate.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You really need to consider childproofing the areas of your home your child is allowed to crawl.. Yes, distraction is great, but at 10 months, she will not quite remember exactly what she is not allowed to touch if it is quite a few things in each room.

The biting is a natural reaction. She also really could be teething. We used to turn our daughter away from us while holding her when she would try to bite. We also had a LOT of teething things so when she opened her mouth up, we placed one in her mouth.. We just kept them in every room.

Also at this age they do not really play with anyone.. They usually are into exploring. So just because you are next to her, will not mean she will pay attention to you or play with you.

Also children usually have the attention span of their ages, so she is not even 1 to have 1 minute of an attention span. The things you describe is very normal. She is still a baby. Make sure you have a good Child development book to refer to.

FYI, Our daughter walked at 6 months unassisted, we just had to make sure our home was really baby proofed. The walker or activity saucer will help your child, and the doorway jumpy was one of our daughters favorite things to be placed in during this time.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

This is so completely normal. My son was walking at that same age. And I got absolutely NOTHING done, from the time he woke each morning, until he was asleep at night. (Except for feeding/changing him and keeping the house from burning down, lol).
Some babies are more into the exploring and such than others. My daughter, was not like my son. She was much more cautious (still is at 10 yrs old) and content to be in one place and observe from a distance before trying things out for herself or getting "involved" with something. My son, however, reached and grabbed and pulled and pushed and climbed SOMETHING the second my back was turned for 3 seconds. And pack n play (playpen, whatever) just didn't cut it, because he did NOT have the attention to sit in it and play with toys. He would just scream if he was "trapped" in there--no matter what toys were in with him. I didn't take showers unless my husband was home to keep up with our son.

It is tough and a struggle, but like Darius Rucker sings: "It won't be like this for long."

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answers from Portland on

I really liked what Peg and Laurie A had to say. A couple more things:

even Dr. Sears suggests not using Time Outs until 18 months. I think you are going to have to look at the Pack-n-Play as a 'safe choice' and not as punishment. Punishing babies is the start of what can potentially be a relationship fraught with power struggles.

Babyproofing: it's every responsible parent's best friend. Get down on your own hands and knees and see the room from your little one's perspective. I'll bet you find loads of interesting things...

Biting: if she's teething, please find some better things for her to chew on. You say she's cranky-- I think that it could either be teething or perhaps she's responding to your reaction. Kids don't need a big response from us; they need us to be relatively contained when we move them along to another place to play. When my son bit at an early age, I would just say "no bite" and put him down and walk away from him. The removing of my own self was lesson enough--if he bit, I 'went away'. He learned very quickly.

And yes, it is terribly difficult for a child this age to remember all the "no"s. Do as much as you can to adjust the environment and then just remember, she's only little once, for a very short time. It's our job as parents to guide our kids, and part of that means eliminating as many 'no's as possible to keep our little ones as safe and conflict-free as possible. Good luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Welcome to the world of temper tantrums! ; ) Yes, put her in her pack n play so she starts to associate her behavior with her "time out."

AND, you need to childproof your home NOW. Crawl around and look at things from her point of view to know what she will go for. Telling her "no" and distracting her are good, but for the times she chooses to do what she wants and you don't see her, you want her to be protected.

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answers from Charlotte on

She is too little for you to be saying no to all the time. You don't want to do that, because it will end up being the first word she says, not da-da or mom-mom. :(

She is also too little to understand that you move her over and over and try to redirect her. She also can't understand not to bite.

You will just have to suck it up and put her in the play pen unless there is a piece of furniture that you can put in front of the TV cords, that will help. You can lay thick blankets on the fireplace hearth.

Have things she can play with that are more interesting than TV cords in the playpen. Take her in the kitchen with you and let her play with bowls and wooden spoons. You need to babyproof like crazy now, with gates and plugs for the outlets. AND a lock for the toilets!

She cannot help what she is doing, and you shouldn't get upset about it. Just remove her from the scene of the crime every time, and if you need to put her in the play pen, then do it. It will get better - promise.


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answers from Columbia on

She's testing her boundaries. It's okay if she gets ticked when you say no...and you should say no to biting of course. Eventually, she'll start associating the no/negative feeling with the naughty thing she was doing and she won't do it anymore.

Keep doing what you're doing. Don't give up and don't give in. You're doing fine.

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answers from Seattle on

I think putting back in her pack n play is a good idea. Be prepared for some screaming. She sounds like she is teething again. Get something that she can chew on when she is playing and in her pack n play. Also check her teeth.

It is critical that you stop her biting now. In all cultures it is a big no no. If you can stop it now it will be so much easier. I have seen older children who do it and it is harder and uglier to stop. So put a lot of effort into it now. Try to remain calm and without anger when you do it. Removing her from temptation by putting her in the pack n play is the best solution but be prepared for screaming. Get the orajel out if you see teeth buds. It does help.

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answers from Savannah on

Why don't you try using the word "STOP!" I use this with my son and use the sign for it as well to give him a visual. We try to use "stop" for most things so that when he hears the word "no" it will jolt him into stopping. We reserve the word no for dangerous behavior.

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answers from New York on

Baby proof as much as you can for safety. The pick a 1 or 2 things (no more than 3) at a time and then use a minute in the pack and play for a time out. I used to give one redirection and if the baby went back to it right away then the time out.

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answers from Washington DC on

Kids are so smart.
If you don't want to put them away, spray your chords with bitter apple, it's from the pet store, it tastes nasty and is for just that purpose, to keep cats and puppies from chewing things.
Like the other moms said babyproof and do your chores when she is sleeping.
Give her things to explore. Big people things, not just baby toys. Sponges, pans, spoons, cans of food. Let her have sticks, she may put them in her mouth, so? She will learn if you say yucky.
Get those plugin socket protectors, although my firstborn could wriggle them out by the time he was 15-16 months.
Only when absolutely necessary did we say No or Stop. When mine bit, I set them apart form me with a NO BITE! I usually put them in the pack and play.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think it's a good idea to use the pack 'n play after one warning. That way she will understand that you mean business and that going over there will get her put in the pack 'n play (time out) with no toys. I would I think also use that strategy when she bites - straight to the pack 'n play.

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