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Surrender To The Baby

Surrender To The Baby

Surrender to the baby is a building block of tolerance that must be ingrained in children from the time they are very young. It’s a foundational behavioral tool for a non-competition mindset. It’s a system where the older children basically collapse, fold, turn their back and if possible move away to avoid any conflict brought on by the baby.

By the time a baby gets mobile the older children have already had many months of training about being safe with the baby and the baby stuff. I train them from the time they are walkers to not touch my babies or anything associated with them.


Babies are by invite only.

Don’t touch their toys.
Don’t touch their exersaucers.
Don’t touch their high chair.
Don’t go on or near their floor blankets.
Walk wide around them.
Don’t build high towers around them.
Don’t carry anything over their bodies.
Do not raise your voice or verbally correct the baby.

Once the baby is mobile then you have to train the baby to have proper behavior in play. My system only allows the adult to teach the baby those rules. Since the older children are already used to protecting the baby, this idea is pretty easy for them to understand by the time the baby can interfere with their play. When they get in your space or do something you don’t like you “surrender to the baby”. The baby ALWAYS wins at that very moment… until I come to correct.

If the baby is trying to climb up on the toddler the toddler just folds over and lets the baby do it. They don’t push the baby away or jut their body away quickly making the baby fall over. They just relax and allow it until I come to remove the baby off of them.

If a baby tries to take their toys they give it to them. They don’t play tug of war. They don’t body block the baby so the baby can’t get their body to the toy or pull up on a table top toy.  If the baby knocks over their tower, I will help rebuild.  If the baby breaks up their train line, I will help put it back together.  They don’t hold the toy up in the air so the baby can’t reach it. They learn to NOT do the normal natural reaction things kids do to protect their own stuff. They do MY system which is let the baby win at the moment with no conflict and then I will come in and “right” it by restoring your position at the toy and the toy you have been playing with. The baby will be stopped and redirected by ME, not the kid.

This techniques engrain into the children’s heads that the younger kids are not their competition. Their job is to protect the baby that is doing something unfair or unsafe. They think of the BABY first… not themselves… because they know in a second or two the world will be right again.

This is done with every stage of development. The babies are protected. The early walkers don’t play with or touch the little babies stuff. The older toddlers surrender to the new walkers. The preschool aged kids surrender to the toddlers.

This technique also applies whenever there is a big age gap between the kids playing. If a two year old is playing with a five year old, I expect the five year old to use the same technique to avoid conflict. At the point where both players are fully talking then they can take it over and use their words to solve it without waiting for us to intercede.

  1. Reality Check06-12-11

    This is disgusting. You are raising children to not handle situations themselves? What happens when they become adults and they are stuck with your deep-seeded mental conditioning that they had ingrained in them from early childhood? Castrated brains sums it up.

    • torifees06-28-11

      I don’t want a three year old “handling” a nine month old. The kids I care for are TOO YOUNG to decide for themselves what to do about an infant. They aren’t caring for the baby… I am. They don’t answer to the State if there is an injury. They don’t pay my insurance. I’m not going to let them figure it out on their own. If they can handle it themselves then why have an adult supervising them in the first place? Why not allow them to “be free” and do as THEY see fit? That way we wouldn’t castrate their brains.

      I can just see the look on the new mommies face when I tell her the injury on the baby came from me allowing the kids to “work it out” when they had a conflict.

  2. Me06-15-11

    The phrase “pick your battles” comes to mind. It sounds like with this so-called “system” (ha) that you would be constantly correcting behaviors all day long. Safety first when it comes to babies, but jeez, this is freakish overboard CONTROL.

  3. JOE_BUBBY06-16-11

    Hi Nan I just read about this on the daycare board & I see where you are coming from, I don’t know if it would work *in my daycare* (I would prefer to discipline the baby rather than having the older dc surrender) but I can see where you are coming from.

    • Dominique06-29-11

      How do you “discipline” a baby? Doesn’t it make more sense to hold an older child more accountable for their actions than expecting a baby to know what to do?

  4. Kathy Scovill06-17-11

    I find the previous comments a bit odd. In a group child care setting, with multiple ages there needs to be clearly defined rules and training that takes place so that everybody is safe. The adult is in control. Peers can learn to resolve issues once they are able to effectively communicate with one another, but the adult is in charge of training in general.

    Although I haven’t called it “surrender to the baby” we practice this type of technique in my home child care as well. It teaches older toddlers and preschool children that there is something special about that baby. We guard and protect babies. Babies have there own space. How is it that people find it offensive that we would teach an older child to not behave in a way that would put the baby in an unsafe position or situation.

    If you don’t want a toddler knocking over your building or a baby crawling through your zoo, take your work UP to the table. If a baby is using you as a pull-up device hold still and I will help move the baby to a more appropriate pull-up device. Jerky movements will knock the new cruiser over, so holding still keeps the baby safe.

    There is nothing wrong or freakish about training children that aggressive defense of community toys is not acceptable. It gives each child in my care a comfortable sense that in just a few seconds, I will be there to eliminate or reduce the tension. I have very little conflict. Rarely are there toy grabs that result in tears or tantrums or injuries. With an adult in control, there is peace and learning and a sense of community.

    As for correcting behavior all day, this simply isn’t true. I never have to tell any of the children in my care beyond early toddlerhood not to stand on the couch. This is not much different than that. We don’t run in the house, and we don’t battle with the baby. Consistent, clear boundaries are consistently and clearly respected. Because I said so. 🙂

  5. Me06-20-11

    Oh, I protect my babies… don’t get me wrong. But it isn’t a whole “system” of rules and regulations that need to be written down and recited to the kids constantly. If they get too close to the baby, I say “don’t touch”. Wow, wasn’t that simple!!! I think this person makes things way too complicated with “systems”, lists, rules, regulations, and nonsense. Sorry, that’s me. “Me”

    • torifees06-28-11

      Wow all these years I thought you had to have a “system” and all I had to do was say two words: “No touch” I’m humbled by your simplicity.

  6. DCP06-23-11

    What amazes me is that any professional daycare provider wouldn’t have a “system” (as the above poster put it) in place to effectively deal with the various behaviors of the kids in their care. It’s unprofessionalism like that that makes it hard for the rest of us to get the respect that we deserve.

  7. Me06-25-11

    I think you’re misunderstanding me. I don’t let the big kids touch the babies. If they get too close, I say “don’t touch”, and they don’t. They MIGHT need reminding the next time, then it doesn’t happen again. Voila. Easy Peasy. Where I differ with this blogger is her elaborate and over-done “systems” (her word, not mine, btw). I just think she over-thinks and over-plans things and makes them FAR more difficult and involved than they need to be. Do you have a “system” for your own kids? If they’re doing something they shouldn’t, I simply, but sternly, say “stop it.” No system or rule book needed. That’s all I’m saying.

    • torifees06-28-11

      What are you saying “stop it” too? You just say that willy nilly or is there a system for your “stop it”? You know “stop it” is the same as “don’t (insert what you want them to stop doing).

  8. Tammy Jones06-27-11

    I understand the reasoning in your system, but don’t you think that you could use this as a teaching/learning opportunity also? At my home child care center, I teach the older kids that they must be careful around the babies. But I DO let them touch them-I show them HOW to touch them. So many people here say they don’t allow their kids to touch the babies and I really don’t understand that. (Maybe your older kids are rougher than mine?) I do intervene when the babies “pull up” using an older kid’s shirt, when they knock over a tower belonging to one of the older kids, etc. For the babies that are old enough to be mobile, they are learning things, too. They know what “no” means. They need to begin learning NOT to do certain things-and they will! I’m not strict with my kids, but they do mind. I believe we have respect for each other. Sure, they are the typical kids-and do the typical kid “stuff” and get into trouble, but no big deals. I believe it is because they know I care about them and treat them fairly-ALL of them.

    • torifees06-28-11

      (Maybe your older kids are rougher than mine?) No the children aren’t rough at all. The system eliminates any physical acting out between them. Not a single kid in my home has ever hit or been hit under my roof. We have no biting and no fighting. Peaceful and very easy to manage kids.

      • LittleD08-08-11

        I think it makes perfect sense, and am trying to make it work here. I know your kids (or most of them) have been with you since they were babies themselves. Do you have advice for some one who is just starting this? I HAVE 2 four yr olds, 1 five yr old 1 two yr old and 1 18 mth old. My boys are thinking they”surrender” to anyone younget then them. Is this part of the idea as well?

  9. Nita06-30-11

    How many times in families you see an older sibling pick up and haul around a younger sibling. I have a 4 year old right now who picks up her 13 month old twin siblings. She enforces the rules (takes away toys she doesn’t think they should have for example) and pushes them out of her way. I like the way the article above suggests. I am a family day care provider for 26 years.

  10. BigMama10-05-11

    As a fellow family child care provider, I must say that I do not understand your method at all. All of my child care children (3 yrs., three 2.5 year olds, 15 mos., 8 mos., and my school-agers) love the babies. They love to “help” give them a toy or board book, hand me their bottle, get a blanket, etc. I teach them that if a baby takes something they are using that they are to tell the baby calmly, “I am using that.” and to give the baby another toy before taking their toy back. I have to “protect” the toddlers and preschoolers from the babies more than I have to worry that the bigger ones will hurt a baby. I’ve had my group for a while so they know that if they have something they don’t want the baby to get they must take it to the “big” table. Your method doesn’t seem like it would foster any caring and understanding between the age groups.

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