Entering the toddler phase is such an exciting and overwhelming time. Parents begin to think about the inevitable baby proof dilemma, how do I baby proof my home? My son just turned 1, and he is moving and grooving all over our home! He can crawl at lightning speed from his room, to the kitchen, to our bedroom in about 5 seconds! My eyes are everywhere all day long making sure he is listening to everything I am telling him. We live in a 2 bedroom condo, so our space is definitely not big.
We made a choice to not drastically change the style of our decor, because we love how our home looks. Many parents decide to completely change all of their furniture and style, to be extra cautious of their little ones. So, do you need to baby proof your home, or are there ways to discipline your child to keep them safe? I found the answer to be a bit more complex for my family.
Baby proof your home: Raise a child who listens!
Did you know that your baby can understand commands at only 8 months of age? That means you can start to set boundaries not just in your home, but during meal time, when they start to pull your hair, and more! There are several more ways to discipline a child past 8 months old, but I want to focus on the very beginning.
For me, it took me a bit to realize how smart my son actually is. He listens and understands so much more than I even realized. He can turn on a toy himself (after only a few times playing with it), is practically self feeding (wants to do everything himself), and understands so many commands (wave hi and bye, point to your head and toes, point to objects, drink, etc). Once I realized this, I knew I needed to set more boundaries with his behavior! That started with the big decision, how should I baby proof my home?!
Baby proof your home: How to start to discipline?
Many will say it’s hard to discipline a child under a year old. The truth is, that is so wrong! You should begin disciplining your child by 8 months old. When I say discipline, I want to be very clear. I don’t mean yelling or punishing, I mean simply setting boundaries and limits with your little one. You want your baby to understand the difference from good and bad behavior. I found 3 tactics (that my Mother taught me), to help discipline my child so I don’t have to baby proof my home.
- Let them know this behavior isn’t allowed. I do this by making a loud noise “EHH EHH EHH”. When I first did this my son stopped in his tracks, and gave me the sad face. Now he just stops and puts his 1 finger out (near the object). Deciding if he wants to touch something or not. It is a way to get his attention and to look at me.
- Pick a command for their actions and keep it consistent. I simply say “Don’t touch that!”, and he will back up or sit down. He is beginning to test me a bit more (now that he turned 1), but I am staying consistent with my commands.
- Redirect their attention. The final phase is damage control. When he begins throwing a tantrum, in a calm and excited voice, I give him a new toy and say “ooo look at this!”. Usually when I change my tone, and show him something new, he will calm down almost immediately.
How to baby proof your home, while keeping your style
Many people are torn on what is best for their family. We decided to look at the pros and cons of baby proofing, and implement a balance for our family.
- You do not need to worry about your little one getting into danger
- Less responsibility on parents
- Your home decor will change
- Annoying at times for adults (maneuvering through child proof locks, doors, cabinets, knobs, handles, etc.)
- Discipline may be delayed
We used a few methods to baby proof our home, while keeping the home we love. There are a few things we didn’t want to compromise with baby proofing, so we found a way to balance our efforts. Here are the changes we made in our home:
- The first is outlet covers. Every single outlet is covered to make sure he can’t touch it.
- Wires. There are no wires available for him to pull or bite.
- Chemicals. All of our cleaning products and other dangerous items are out of reach. You should check to make sure your cleaning products are baby safe!
Baby proof your home, by disciplining your child!
We certainly are not going to compromise the safety of our little one. We removed the obvious dangerous objects out of sight, and reach from our son. However, we didn’t want to change all of our furniture, and lock every single cabinet. I make it a point to always keep an eye on him, I am usually down on the ground with him at all times. (Check out the lessons I learned during my 1st year as a Mom for more on this).
The most important thing for us was teaching him not to touch things. He knows what he can and can’t touch so well! He will crawl to a table, and pick up one object that he knows he can have. The rest will be untouched! He has been listening to this for months now. I even feel better about taking him to other peoples homes. When I tell him not to touch things, he listens well! He is beginning to test his boundaries, but this is further proof that this method is working.
Our little ones are smart. We have to protect them, support them, and guide them!