Guest Post by Anne Harris
Parenting is often a dance between immense joy and extreme concern. Most parents’ get that caring for their children never truly ends, but there are some trickier periods to navigate before junior trots off into the big wide world. One of them is when our child is a toddler.
Yes, toddlers are incredibly adorable with all the new physical and mental skills in their possession, but they are also in the most dangerous stage of their development. Toddlers, like all small mammals, are too young and inexperienced to comprehend the dangers that lurk within their environment.
That is why we’ve prepared a handy 4-step Toddler Safety Guide for parents.
1) Mind those sharp, round, and pointy objects
From the get-go your home should be fully baby-proofed. That means that any sharp or pointy features are covered. You’ll also want to pay attention to glass coffee tables or solid marble tables – anything that can puncture or cut a small child should be covered or stored somewhere else. In this video, you can see how to insulate sharp edges at the fraction of a cost.
The same goes for bookshelves and chairs. Toddlers adore prying things open, climbing and jumping over furniture. For this reason, remove freestanding bookcases from the living room. That way, you’ll eliminate the risk of the child turning it over and being crushed.
Sharp and pointy sounds obvious doesn’t it? But what about round? All object shapes pose a potential threat to a curious two-year old.
Take a ball for instance. Round objects tend to roll potentially taking your toddler with them. And they could easily fall headfirst onto a hard wooden floor. Yes, balls can be fun enriching toys but put them away when you’re not actively playing with your child. Remember too that smaller balls can be stuffed into a child’s mouth and get stuck.
2) Ensure supervised climbing
Small children believe two things: they have wings and they can climb mountains. Apart from being a fun activity for your toddlers, climbing also boosts brain development. According to scientists from the University of Alberta, unstructured child’s play changes the neurons in the frontal cortex. This adds to the increased brain development in the early stage of a child’s life.
Therefore, it’s recommended to ensure proper conditions for your toddler to climb. This will allow them to test their physical skills and contribute to their mental growth. While you should let them climb under your supervision, make sure they are not able to when they’re alone in the room.
Also, remove all the objects that reach the height of the windows in your home. If your toddler can reach the window, it’s highly probable that they’ll try to open it.
The same goes for climbing places outdoors. It’s important to give them a sense of independence but always stay close to your toddlers when they’re climbing slides, benches, and other places in public playgrounds. It’s okay to helicopter during these years.
3) Protect them in transport
First and foremost, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need to have their own car seat. You should never hold them during the drive, especially in the front seat. Even in a cab children need to be securely fastened.
Moreover, toddlers who ride a bike, a kick scooter, or rollerblades need to be properly protected from the fall. The safety equipment here includes a helmet, shoulder pads, and knee pads.
Apart from that, you should ride them in a front child bike seat when they’re still toddlers, i.e. up to 15kg. It’s important to buy wheel protection so they can’t put their legs into the wheel.
Once they start using rollerblades or a kick scooter, it’s crucial to warn them to always ride directly behind you along special tracks around the town.
4) Introduce clear boundaries
Even if parents shadow their toddlers 24-7 there will still be occasional accidents. One of the causes of these injuries could be the fact that a child doesn’t want to listen to a parent’s instructions.
Toddlers are well-known for being willful. This can put them in all sorts of risky situations.
That’s why parents need to keep reinforcing certain rules – what is acceptable and what isn’t. As stated in the Norland nanny rules, it’s important to allow your toddlers to discover the world around them while introducing discipline.
Parents who are confident naturally command their children’s attention. Even new parents or unconfident parents can embody a confident stance by following these four very simple rules:
- Stay consistent, whatever the rule stick to it
- Stay calm, when delivering directives
- Make sense, only assert rules that are logical and fair
- Reward good behavior with affirmative praise and not treats
For example, you can tell your toddler “If you wear this helmet on the bike, it will protect your super brain plus it’s the law. That means it’s a rule everyone must follow, even mommy and daddy”.
Similarly, if you ban them from doing something dangerous, you should never make an exception. That way, your toddler will learn the concept of consistency.
Avoid bribing a child to behave well. It delivers the wrong message. In life, we are not bribed to be responsible. It is learned behavior and it is expected of us. Our children need to understand this.
Last, but not least, when you’re trying to calm a small child down or point out that something is important, make sure you get on the same eye level with them. This little technique makes a huge difference in the way toddlers perceive their parents and process their instructions.
Navigating a toddler’s life might feel like an endless journey but ultimately it will reach its natural conclusion. The key to instilling good habits is consistency. Parental vigilance and attention cannot ebb and flow. Both parents should clearly establish a set of rules before their infant reaches its toddler years, and then they must stick to them. They cannot break their own rules. The greatest teaching method is modelling, being what we require our child to become. That way, a toddler will learn how to behave in a safe and loving way.
Author Bio: Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for londongoverness.com. She recruits nannies, governesses and other childcare professionals, ensuring top-notch services for parents worldwide. In her free time she likes reading about education, and children’s welfare, as well as visiting sports events.