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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!

↓ ↓ ↓  LEAVE A COMMENT ↓ ↓ ↓

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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Imagine that instead of brushing your kid’s teeth every day, you decided to wait until they’re 16. ⁣

The side effects of this choice would be…⁣
😝 Bad breath⁣
😬 Plaque build-up and discoloration⁣
🦷 Toothaches and cavities… ⁣
and eventually, BIG $$$$$ at the dentist for treatment.⁣

Of course, this is not a good plan!⁣

I'm going to assume you would rather create a small, manageable daily habit that invests in our child’s oral hygiene to last a lifetime.⁣

Because we know: ⁣
It might be a pain to get started and stay consistent, but over the long haul, it will save you so much pain, $$$, and grossness.🤢⁣

And it's the same with, independence.⁣

If you invest a little bit in your child’s independent play right now - taking small, manageable steps every day to maintain and establish healthy habits - you will reap the benefits over time.⁣

A tough-love moment here - it’s not realistic to wait until your child is 16 and then suddenly expect them to be independent enough to drive or get their first job or figure out a plan for the summer.⁣

These are skills you’ve got to build slowly and gradually.⁣

It’s also not desirable to spend the next decade suffering through burnout, exhaustion, clinginess - because you’re not making the little investment that it takes to establish healthy independent play habits (just as it’s not awesome to endure cavities, toothache, and bad breath for years - rather than invest in establishing healthy brushing habits early on).⁣

So I guess my message is: Don’t wait with this. ⁣
When we neglect our child’s need for independence - it gets worse, not better.⁣

But when you take the time to follow along with the small, daily, doable actions that are outlined in the Reclaim Play Challenge - it will pay off in spades years later! ⁣

That’s why you’re here.⁣

You can do this. 💪⁣

It’s SO worth it. The small actions you’re taking now are going to pay back dividends... forever.⁣

Reclaim Play is all unlocked! Link in bio

We're kicking off Week 3 "Inspire" with a set of #StrewPro challenges!

So, what is a strew? It's simply leaving out toys, books, activities, or objects in a new and inviting way. Silently waiting for your kid to "discover" them and maybe - just maybe - to bite into independent play.

Did you know there are a myriad of "toys" in your home, strews waiting to be formed right under your nose?

Today, I want you to head to your KITCHEN and find things that your kid might take interest in...

Nesting bowls
Measuring cups
Wooden spoons

There's literally so many options and combinations to explore!

Try putting them out on a tray or somewhere that is not the kitchen. If you're feeling brave you can get really fancy and add in some water, slime, or dry beans (only do this if you're happy to clean it all up later).

There's really only ONE rule to becoming a Strew Pro:
Don't tell your child to play with it, don't tell them how to, in fact - you might kinda ignore it all together and just watch what happens.

Go! Grab a few items and arrange your first strew... take a 📸 picture of it and share with me @parentingjunkie in your instagram stories!

Welcome to the wonderful world of strewing, my friend!

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Can your child play independently for 30 minutes in a day?

This week you have done a lot of designing - you created a "pop-up" (a quick and scrappy) Imagination, Messy, Movement, Quiet, and Focus Zone. If you have a little one - you made a YES space for them.

Phew! 😅 Time to give yourself a pat on the back!

☕️Grab your hot drink, 📚your book, and a fluffy pillow because I'll bet my Lego collection you're going to be able to catch 30 minutes of play.

Remember everything you learned in week one:
🌈 Observe without interrupting!
🌈 Practice the "BRB" technique
🌈 Set up little "pop-up zones"

...and I believe you'll be able to catch your child playing for 30 minutes today and 10x the independent play in your home by the end of this week from when you started this challenge.

Now, I know you might be feeling like you're totally not "done" designing your zones - of course not!

Rome wasn't built in a day (or a week!)

In Present Play, we're going to dedicate the entire month of May to perfecting your zones. But this should set you on your way and whet your appetite for more design solutions.

When you catch those 30 mins (or more!) make sure to share it with us! Tag me in your stories @parentingjunkie

★ SIGN UP for the Challenge - link in bio!

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The Focus Zone is where kids go to do their "work" (like schoolwork) and also where they do any activity that requires following instructions properly.

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CHALLENGE #13 - Create a Pop-Up Focus Zone!
Find that third cleared area that you prepped last week - preferably a quiet area away from the hustle and bustle of the home. Try placing the materials in a box, bin, tray, or basket right there, and see what happens.

Show me by tagging @parentingjunkie 🤗

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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.


  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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