Please don’t touch!

by pew

Please don't touch

Everyone knows that the minute your baby begins to crawl you have to not only safe proof your home but move everything! But does it have to be that way? And is it actually a good thing to do? Accepted, if there are dangerous things in your home then indeed you need to protect your child. For instance I felt it necessary to put a guard around our fireplace once Deva was crawling. But in general I do not think you should change your environment so much,  instead your child needs to learn, as part of their growing up, what can and cannot be touched.

Deva began to crawl at about ten months and we went through what most parents do and suddenly realized, ‘oops, our house is not child friendly’. However, I’m pretty lazy and didn’t want to move everything and thought ‘we must be able to teach her not to touch things’. You may think we were being a bit optimistic but we achieved it and with not much effort at all.

First off we began to talk abut things that belonged to mummy and daddy and things that belonged to Deva. With everything we would say “that’s mummy’s  or that’s daddy’s and this is Deva’s”. You get the idea.

Then the first thing we tackled was books. Our bookshelves are at ground level, perfect for a crawling baby. Deva was a bit of a book worm from the off and loved books. So, she was magnetized by these.

So, with her, we emptied out a part of one of the bookshelves and placed HER books in there. She now had a section of the adults’ book shelf. It took probably two weeks of her still pulling our books out before she completely  stopped and only played in her book section. Trust me, we were amazed too! It was great, she would just play around there and never touch ours. Every night before bedtime we would get her to place her books back in her shelf, she was so proud of it.

Next thing to tackle was cupboards. Once she discovered that there were all sorts of goodies hidden behind these things she started to open them. Again, we used the same principle. We emptied one cupboard out and this became Deva’s toy cupboard. She was allowed to go in there and pull out her toys and every night she then placed them back in before bedtime. As you can guess, this worked wonders.

The secret was to constantly tell her what belonged to who. The fact that she also had things that belonged to her, amongst these adult things, made the whole concept acceptable to her.

And I truly believe this to be a healthy exercise for your child. She learns the value of things and why some things are hers and others not. She will more readily accept you telling her that she may not have or touch something if she knows there are other things that she can touch. It’s all about inclusion.

Just be creative, you’ll be amazed with the ideas you’ll come up with and you’ll have lots of fun doing it too. And you’ll find yourself uttering the phrase ‘please don’t touch that’ less and less.

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