Baby proofing (or not!)
Aaaaaahhh baby gates. The image gives me shivers. I remember all throughout my 20s and early 30s, visiting the homes of friends and family with small children, I just could not figure out how to open that damn baby gate. I always ended up stepping over it. And the closet and drawer latches that seem like they intend to keep out the CIA? Enough to drive a person insane. For the love of god I just want to throw out my garbage! Or get a spoon! And god forbid they had one of those little latches on the toilet lid. Guess I’ll be waiting to pee. Obviously I’m being a touch dramatic, but I found these things so annoying that I already started dreading the day I would have kids and have to turn my home into a trap of sorts. So when I got pregnant, imagine my absolute DELIGHT when I started reading “Babywise” and read about house proofing vs baby proofing. This was actually a real thing??? I had wondered if you could just TEACH children to respect certain boundaries but I didn’t know there was an actual term for it! I loved it and quickly decided I would house proof my babies.
So, if you, like me, don’t like the idea of having everything in your home locked up or put away, and enjoy the thought of keeping your home looking and feeling fairly similar to pre baby, this post is for you. I’ll give some quick tips but the best thing to do would be to pick up a copy of “Babywise” or check out some babywise blogs (I like this one). The basic premise of house proofing is that you remove or displace things that could pose an immediate and significant safety danger to your child, and this will be subjective. Everyone will have their own non negotiables, but anything that can be used as a teaching opportunity to house proof your baby, should be used as such. You first teach your child the words “no” and “stop”. I think I started using these words as soon as they could sit up and roll around. If you use these words often, they WILL learn what they mean. You then simply use every opportunity to show your child what is and is not acceptable. The boys were not allowed to go near the edge of the staircase by themselves and this was the case for all other things that were off-limits. Kitchen cabinets and drawers, bathrooms, mommy and daddy’s room, etc. It’s a very simple concept, it just takes diligence, consistency, and patience. You must be consistent. Once they are old enough to handle a responsibility, you allow them that freedom. So for instance, once they showed interest and had the ability to maneuver their way up and down the stairs, we allowed it, with guidance. Now, at 20 months, they walk up and down the stairs like adults, holding the railings or our hand. They know they are not allowed to start walking unless we are there and say it’s ok. If they do have a lapse in judgement and reach for a cabinet they are not allowed into, a simple “no” or “stop” does the trick. I’ve done a post in the past about keeping a home peaceful with children. I’m not gonna lie, I do like a clean and organized home. Just because I have kids doesn’t mean I want toys cluttering every inch of my living room and I certainly didn’t want any unneeded baby proofing. For me, house proofing my boys has been awesome. Not only do I feel that it has taught them to obey and respect boundaries from a very early age, but it does something that baby proofing doesn’t. It works even if you are not at home! Like magic! Baby gates are great if they make you feel secure at home, but what do you do if you go to visit someone who’s house is not child proof? At the end of the day, like everything else in parenting, this may appeal to some and not to others. But if it is an a-ha moment for even one person, I’ve accomplished my mission! I’d love to hear your thoughts on baby proofing and house proofing! Thanks for stopping by!!!