Articles and Topics
Child-proofing your home
There are four reasons why parents with young children need to child-proof their homes. They are:
  • To protect the child’s safety
  • To provide some peace of mind for mom & dad
  • To protect valuable possessions
  • To not overwhelm young children with “no’s.”

Safety
The moment a baby starts navigating around the floor by rolling and crawling, safety becomes a big concern. Parents never realize how much harmful stuff is in just one room until their child starts exploring.

Peace of Mind For Mom & Dad
Good parents are forever scanning the environment to make sure there is nothing harmful their young child can get into. Parents have to be on their toes and very vigilant to protect babies and toddlers from themselves. A child-proof home allows parents to relax their vigilance and feel secure their child is safe.

Protect Your Valuable Possessions
Many parents have a lot of nice things around to enhance their homes. There are collectibles and audio equipment, video and CD collections, computers, vases with flowers, candles, photos in frames, floor lamps, etc. … the list is endless. You don’t want your possessions broken or ruined by young children who are curious and fascinated by everything they can touch. Child-proofing your home is the answer.

Not Overwhelming Children With No’s
Several years ago some child researchers attached small tape recorders to a group of toddlers. The goal of the research was to analyze the kind of daily communication going on between parents and toddlers. What these researchers found was that the average toddler was being told “no” several hundred times a day.

This study is important for parents because it points out how easy it is to respond to an active, curious toddler with an excessive amount of no’s. Four important points came out of this study:

1. When no’s are repeated extensively to a child day after day, the word no loses its meaning

2. Hearing all those no’s sets up a war between toddler and parent—the toddler actually becomes inspired by all the no’s to have his way

3. So much correction in the form of no’s communicates to a young child that he/she is not in their parent’s favor and are doing something wrong. This continued sense of doing something wrong can affect a young child’s self-esteem

4. All the no’s actually criticize young children for what they must naturally do at this age—that is, to satisfy their curiosity so they can learn about their world.

So child-proofing a home is not only for safety purposes, and for parents’ peace of mind and protecting possessions, but it’s also for preventing the parent–child relationship from becoming negative. When a parent uses the word “no” in a limited way, the parent is more likely to gets the child’s attention.

I disagree with parents who allow their children to freely roam the house. Children do best when they have specific areas of the house available to them that have been child-proofed. I also disagree with parents who believe that child-proofing a house is spoiling a child. These parents believe that children should be disciplined from an early age to adjust to the parent’s home and to do otherwise is to give in to a child. This kind of thinking offers parents and children unlimited grief, and I can only advise against taking this position.

In the olden day of parenting, there was a lot of hand slapping and smacks on the bottom, stern no’s and yelling directed at very young children. many parents just didn’t know about child-proofing a home. And, they did not know how harmful all those no’s were to their relationship with their child and to the child’s self-esteem. Today’s parents have the advantage of knowing that child-proofing is a very sound way to manage a young child’s natural curiosity and desire to explore.

Over the years, I have counseled parents who either did not know about child-proofing a home or who child-proofed their home in a haphazard manner. Needless to say, these parents found themselves exhausted and frazzled running after their little ones and over-using the word no. They were so relieved to see the benefits of taking the time to child-proof their home. They began to place foam cushions on the corners of sharp coffee tables, and to remove plants with toxic leaves planted in dirt that children love to taste. And they began to use expandable gates so their children would not have total access to the entire house. They covered up electrical sockets and put valuable possessions out of reach, and they installed special controls on window blinds. Today’s parents have access to a variety of devices to make child-proofing a home safe and effective; there are web sites and catalogs of children’s products that can help.