Some people will tell you that rules are there to be broken, however in my experience it always gets you in trouble.
The topic of baby proofing and rule implementing has had many mothers get into serious cat fights or worse, lose friends. That is why I believe that every mother should follow their own advice and decide what works best for their home and what are the best ways to discipline your own child.
Children are unique and what works for one child doesn’t always work so well for other children, but one thing is certain, disciplining your children is part of your parental duty. Parents can choose how to discipline their own children, but parents can’t choose not to discipline their children at all because it makes them (the parents) feel bad for raising their voice or giving a hiding.
- They want to explore - Imagine that you are seeing everything around you for the first time, wouldn’t you also want to explore, feel, smell and taste all those things? (I mean seriously, if you didn’t know that a bar of soap was not for eating, wouldn’t you also consider tasting a bit of that vanilla flavoured bar of soup lying on the side of the sink?)
- They need boundaries - It makes them feel safe and secure when boundaries are set in place and yes, they will challenge your limits and try to push on those boundaries but, if you stay strict concerning the boundaries at home, they will think twice before overstepping that line.
- They do not know the value of life and the things around them. That shiny vase on your coffee table that cost an arm and half a leg, to your toddler it’s just something shiny that they want to touch and play with and they honestly don’t have a care if it breaks because they have no value attached to it.
- PLAY! They are not out to hurt you, they don't want to break everything they see, they just want to play, explore and experience there little word around them.
- Messy - what will a toddler be without a mess? Relax, rather enjoy the moment and there is always time to clean up later (besides you can always have your toddler “help” you clean the mess).
- Mom's room: Not allowed to enter without me and NO eating in the bedrooms.
- Her room: She can go wild, it's her "world" so all the toys are all over when its play time, but before bed she will help me pack away all the toys and books.
- Bathroom: I decided to get Gabi her own toiletry bag with old makeup, brushes, etc. This is a great way to keep her busy while I do my makeup in the mornings.
- Living room: She is allowed to have her bottle milk on the couch but no eating on the couch allowed.
- Kitchen: She has one drawer to herself (marked with a heart sticker), in it is toys, kitchen tools, Tupperware and mostly anything she finds goes in there... even salty cracks :-) Most moms will not follow my technique but not one single drawer or cupboard is locked in my kitchen. I made her understand that she has her own drawer and that's it, the rest is off limits. Although, we are still struggling a bit with the fridge door though.
- Eating: I got Gabi a plastic table and chair that is perfect for eating and playing. When it's time to eat she knows that she is not allowed to walk around eating. Gabi also feeds herself so she will sit at her table and have her food. When she gets up and walks away she knows that I will take the plate away.
- Stairways: the only part I had to baby proof was the stairways. I installed a baby gate which works great.
When we go to kiddies parties I realise how well behaved she is among her friends. All the mommies will ask me how I get her so "perfectly behaved”? Well whatever way you discipline your toddler, keep your boundaries the same/firm. Don't allow something today that you will not allow tomorrow. You confuse them more than anything else and end up in big fight over your mistake.
So remember mommies out there, let them be toddlers, play with them, get your hands dirty, let them help bake a cake, make them part of whatever you are doing. I make sure that in each room that I spend time in; she also has things to keep her busy. They want to be entertained and kept busy, you will make life so much easier for yourself.
I don't know if I am just lucky with Gabi, but I had no reason to baby proof my house. There are some great gadgets out on the market to help you tackle this task.