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I'm Avital.

You want a present, peaceful and playful family life? I'm here to help you make that a reality.

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How to Create a “Yes Space” for a 1-Year-Old

When a 1-year-old begins moving and exploring, suddenly he’s into everything! How do we discipline a 1-year-old, set firm limits, and keep them safe in a peaceful, respectful way?

The approaches I discuss here have worked for hundreds of my clients in the Present Play membership. Those who didn’t start implementing these techniques at this age usually wish that they had.

There is a lot of conflicting information regarding disciplining children in this age group. Much of it involves parenting from a place of fear that we can’t keep our children safe.

Methods involving shame and punishment such as spanking and yelling put a damaging amount of stress on the developing young brain and have other serious drawbacks.

  1. It makes your relationship based on fear.
  2. It might not work and you’re still responsible for your child’s safety.
  3. It might create pushback especially as he becomes a bigger toddler.
  4. It will model for him saying “NO” and being contrary.
  5. It doesn’t respect his innate need to explore.

INSTEAD: create a YES SPACE – a safe space that offers a great opportunity for baby to play independently.

FREE Download | YES SPACE Cheat Sheet 

In doing so you’ll liberate both yourself and your child from constantly saying no to each other. 

(Learn more about how to turn your “No” into “Yes” here.)

A 1-year-old’s job is to explore, touch, taste, feel, climb, grab, smell all of the things they come across. These sensory experiences influence the way the brain grows and develops. It is our job to make sure that the things they come across are safe.

Based on the RIE philosophy, providing a YES SPACE involves reframing our approach to involve disciplining with love. It means considering the true meaning of the word, “discipline” (think: disciple, student.) – learning.

Do you want to teach your baby that the world is a forbidden, dangerous place? Or that the world is safe and loving and they are allowed to be free in it?

Do you want to teach your baby that the world is a forbidden, dangerous place? Or that the world is safe and loving and they are allowed to be free in it? via @ParentingJunkieTweet This

Rather than manipulating your child, manipulate the environment.

Doing so will liberate both you and your child from constantly saying, “no” to each other. 

NOW is the time to cultivate independent play.

10 Ways to Create a YES Space

  1. A mat or comfortable rug on the floor (not too fluffy for baby’s breath)
  2. A gated off area, a playpen or a completely baby proof room
  3. Absolute 100% safety (so you can take a shower)
  4. Some open-ended toys (scarves, blocks, balls)
  5. A climbing opportunity
  6. Soothing and understimulating walls
  7. Soft music
  8. Natural light and natural elements
  9. Time with you and without you – communicate when you’re leaving and gradually increase increments
  10. A great mindset and loving energy

Download your FREE YES Space Cheat Sheet now!

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How has this approach worked for you? What is something you could easily change in your child’s environment to encourage safe, independent, exploratory play?


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11 Replies to “How to Easily Discipline a Baby WITHOUT Damaging Your Relationship”

  1. The YES SPACE concept made life with a baby and toddler so much easier for us… we could relax! I shared this piece of advice to a pair of new parents, and months later they thanked me. ❤️ I’m going to share this with them!

    PS – the comparison of introducing fear into the relationship in a marriage/relationship was so potent. When you think of it that way – WOW.

  2. Thank you Avital! I’m going to download the cheat sheet right now and manipulate the ENVIRONMENT. Excited to try this!

    1. Hi, Elise! I’m replying on behalf of the TPJ team and will pass your kind feedback on to Avital.
      We’d love to hear back from you about how you change things up and if you find it helpful!

  3. I love your videos Aviatal.

    I have noticed that your more recent ones are having more and more audio background (music) in them. That is very distracting for me. I am a very auditory learner, and the music is distracting from your wonderful words of advice.

    I am not a social media person, so your videos are critical for me to continue to learn on my parenting journey.

    Is there a reason you are heading the way of more background music while you are talking?

    1. Avital I love all your content! Unfortunately, I have to second Samantha’s comment on this one: the background music was really distracting! Your voice alone is amusing and engaging enough :).

    2. On behalf of the TPJ team, we are so thankful for your great feedback, Samantha. I have passed your comment along to Avital. We try out different things and see what works, and we’ll definitely take your concerns into consideration for future editing.
      We’ve found the music can be a good way of keeping people engaged, but we know it doesn’t work for everyone.

  4. Thank you for this video! I’ve loved watching your videos and share them with friends often.
    Along the lines of disciplining or not to…I’d love your advice. My son is 16 months old and has started to bite me and his cousin who is 3 months older then him who I watch once a week. He does this when he’s frustrated and it’s very intentional and it hurts a lot too. Oftentimes, I can get to him before he sinks his teeth into his cousin but not always. I feel awful for my nephew! My son tried to do this last week in front of my extended family and they were all shocked and immediately told me that he needed to be spanked or bitten himself so he knows how it feels. I don’t agree with either of those paths.
    Do you have any advice on what to do right after he does this or how to curb this behavior? He’s such a loving soul. I don’t want him to be known as a biter or for him to feel that this is the only way to handle frustration. I appreciate any advice you can offer.


    1. Melody I answered you in today’s FB live! xxx

  5. Thank you for all your awesome videos and perspective! What ages do you recommend the summer infant gated space really working? My almost 8 month old is very fast & mobile with his belly crawl and does not like to be contained but this is frustrating to my almost 3-year-old as he wants whatever she is doing and makes letting him get down dangerous because he will try to follow me and explore the whole house, he also tries to pull up on everything but cannot do it without hurting himself yet unless someone assist him which is what he really wants right now all the time and when I try to contain him in a saw space like a pack n play he is not happy with it either and wants out. I’m considering buying the summer infant space you recommend but am also just afraid he will cry being put in there because he will want out and not to be restricted. TIA

  6. What do you recommend for visiting the homes of friends and relatives? Bring a whole play yard with us?
    I’m inclined to just not visit so that I don’t have to stress about keeping their possessions and my child safe from each other, but of course that doesn’t go over well.

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