One day your kiddo is pulling herself up on the coffee table and the next she’s climbing on a chair in the kitchen to reach a plethora of sharp objects on the counter. It all happens in a blink of an eye. You’ve heard of baby proofing but here is how to toddler proof your home.
Anything can become a toy
The contents of the recycle bin, the dog’s bone, the remote, daddy’s tool box in the garage, mommy’s box of feminine products in the master bath. Suddenly the toys we give our daughter are not as interesting as the common things mommy and daddy use every day. As your child grows from a baby into a little person, understand any object you have out can become a focal point of fascination as their imagination grows. Make sure these things are completely out of reach or pick your battles with what she’ll play with. We keep a bin on a high shelve to throw in objects that suddenly become a toy or dangerous point of interest.
Get used to clearing off countertops
My wife used to keep our German steel knifes on the center island in our kitchen, until our daughter pulled up a chair one day and they were in arm reach! Think about what your toddler may have access to, including what they can climb up on to gain access. Also, objects that may seem safe at the edge of a counter or table can also get caught onto other things as they are pulled down. You can never be too careful when clearing countertops of sharp and heavy objects, including glass.
What is it with water?
One of the strongest sensory experiences your toddler will have is with water. They are drawn to it. Ours so much so that we’ve found the hose turned on out outside, or the water running in the downstairs bath because she just had to wash her hands for the twentieth time. Be sure you keep these areas safe. Use a step stool for sinks that actually fits your toddler’s height (so there is no falling or trying to pull up on other objects when she can’t reach the water spout). Keep towels nearby. Most importantly, explain the use of water – when and how we use it – when it should be conserved and when it is okay to play in it.
Get a dog, or a Rumba
When babies eat in a high-chair and spill food, it is typically contained to a two feet radius. You might find the occasional fruit puff in between the couch cushion but nothing – nothing – prepares you for the mind of an energetic toddler with food in their possession. You have to find the right balance between giving them the responsibility of learning how to hold a real cup and properly use utensils, with also ensuring food doesn’t end up everywhere. Have what I call go-to “free range” snacks that she can eat while playing and roaming around that (1) don’t crumble and (2) don’t include anything sticky or ewy-gewy (peanut butter, jellies, bananas, etc.) because these will end up smeared on the hallway mirror, smashed into Barbie’s hair and even on the dog. Banana peels left on wood also stain! When she spills, acknowledge it and gently help her clean it up herself. Graduate from baby wipes, to having stack of old dish towels handy for the big messes.
Lastly, if your house hasn’t already experienced a takeover by your child’s things, invest in a good toy box or shelving with removable bins that can hide the chaos. Teach her to help keep things organized (somewhat) by putting similar toys in certain bins during cleanup time. You’ll be amazed how much they want to help when you make it fun!
What ways have you toddler-proofed your home? Leave comments below!