When our little one became mobile child safety was suddenly a huge priority as we tried to figure out a way to stop her from playing with potentially dangerous or breakable objects.
I didn’t want to make too big a deal out of it as we all know as soon as those little tikes get a reaction from something that they do, they just keep on doing it.
The first and most obvious thing to do is to remove as much as you can from their reach. For us that meant all the remotes had to move from the coffee table, all the power boards and cables hidden away behind large immovable objects and most of the stuff in the bathroom drawers had to be put in large see through bags with strong zippers.
The biggest child safety problem came from the kitchen as some of the cupboard doors are difficult to put locks on and that is where we accidentally discovered what we now refer to as the “Thank you technique.”
Whenever our daughter would grab something from one of the cupboards that she wasn’t supposed to be playing with ( e.g. a cheese grater ) we would say;
“Wow look what you have found. That is very dangerous and can hurt you. Thank you so much for finding it for us. Good work honey. Let’s put it back somewhere safe.”
We would then make a bit of a fuss about how grown up and clever she is and get her to help us find a suitable spot for it.
Initially I think she enjoyed the praise so she would keep getting out the same object and bring it over to us with a serious expression on her face. We continued to go through the same child safety routine with many other questionable objects until she knew everything in the kitchen that was in her reach and considered dangerous.
The best part about this child safety method is that now whenever she finds something that she thinks is dangerous, she brings it to us straight away and carefully. She doesn’t play with it or take it and hide it somewhere. She brings it straight to us where she receives praise for her actions. We have empowered her with responsibility and she appears to thrive on it.
While we are extremely careful about what we leave around and we even have kiddy locks on the most dangerous cupboards, human nature means that you will occasionally make a mistake and kidsy curiosity will ensure that they are there to take advantage. I’d much rather she knows what to do when I am not watching.
Just the other day she came to me carrying one of the cupboard locks that I had obviously not fastened properly.
“Ooohhh” she said, running toward me with the offending lock in her outstretched hand.
“Where did you get that from honey?” I say.
She points toward the kitchen.
“Wow, thank you so much for letting me know. That could be quite dangerous. Good work. Now lets put it back. “We both trot back toward the kitchen and re-fasten the lock.
“Now everything in there will be safe. Good job!”
“Yes” she says looking pleased with herself.
Praise seems to work so much better than punishment….