Making Your Home Child-proof

Your baby is creeping on all fours now and before too long, he'll be crawling and walking. Some babies creep for a long time, others walk without doing much creeping first. In either case, your baby will be moving like lightning and exploring with zeal once he senses his new powers.

If not watched very carefully, he's going to get into mischief. Telling him "no" or "don't touch" won't do much good at this age. Why not? Your baby is just beginning to understand words. While he may not understand what you say, he does understand from the tone of your voice and your gestures that "no" and "don't touch" mean his is not pleasing you.

He does not understand DANGER. His memory is too short - he can't remember your warning for more than a few minutes. So, the next time he encounters a "no-no," he doesn't recall your warning or recognize the danger and plunges right in. Your punishment at this age is not effective. Training in "touching" and "not touching" will be much more effective in a few more months. Right now make your life and your baby's life easier and more relaxed by making your home "child-proof."

Place all dangerous objects, as well as valued treasures, out of his reach. Cover unused electrical outlets with plastic inserts purchased from a hardware store. Keep medicines and vitamins in child-proof containers, on a very high shelf. Remove all household cleaning fluids, such as furniture polish, ammonia and window cleaner, from beneath the sink and put them well out of reach. The same caution must also be carried to the outdoors, especially if the yard is not fenced. Your baby is no longer a passive watcher. He will creep like an athlete when his curiosity is stimulated by the sight of traffic or some other exciting enticement.

Once the yard and house are "child-proof," make sure you provide plenty of objects, even safe household objects like pots and pans with which your baby can play, because for him, play is learning. Often leaving a low, accessible cupboard or shelf stocked with such items satisfies a baby's need to explore while staying near the adult who is busy working. Your baby is highly curious right now to learn about new objects so this may be a trying period for you. Remember that every new thing is raw material for his knowledge factory. This direct experience will provide the basis for his intellectual curiosity, creativity and language development in the future.


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