When we had our oldest son over seven years ago, I was blissfully unaware of how easily babies can get into things. I like having things out on display and babies like to mess up your things on display. It’s quite the conundrum. But after attempting to move things over and over again, and trying to baby-proof our whole house, my husband and I decided we wanted to house-proof our baby instead.
We don’t have pads on the edges of our tables, we don’t have covers over our outlets, we don’t have latches on our cabinets or our toilets. Why? Because the world isn’t baby-proof. We like to leave our home and on occasion, we enjoy entering other people’s homes. We quickly found out that unless all of your friends and family are baby-proofing their homes (which they are not doing), your baby will get into things. A lot of things. That’s where house-proofing baby comes into play.
We started correcting our crawling bundle of joy when he started reaching for things. We said no when he attempted to open cabinets and then gently shut them. We closed doors to rooms in which he wasn’t allowed, but if he did get in, he was removed and told he couldn’t go in. Sure enough, that little guy started to understand that there were things he couldn’t touch and places he couldn’t go. Those restrictions had nothing to do with locks or latches or rubber pads. The restrictions were there no matter what house we were in, whether there were latches on cabinet doors or not. His curiosity never feigned though. He still enjoyed exploring. And we gave him ample time and places to explore. There are so many areas where we could say yes. So many jungle gyms to climb, so many dirt piles to dig in, so many sidewalks to run down.
We continued this plan with our next son and it worked just as well. He learned that somethings were just not ok to play with. It didn’t matter if we were home or at his grandparent’s house, or at a friend’s house — bathrooms were not for playing, kitchens were not full of toys, and other little items laying about were not made for little hands. Is it a perfect system? Of course not. But it feels better than living in a plastic bubble.
I know I’ll get flack for this. I’m quite sure I’ve been judged already. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. My loud, smelly, wild kids don’t break stuff in my house and they don’t destroy other people homes either. They understand restrictions and rules and it makes sense that those rules exist outside of our house too.
We are currently working on this with our daughter. She is much more stubborn and strong willed than our boys, but she’s learning! It’s not always easy, but I love that when the kids are visiting grandparents or down for the night when we have friends over, our home looks like adults live in it.We have some control over our kids and their behavior. Even if it means that one of them pulls all the pots and pans out of the cabinet every once in a while, I like that we don’t have a baby-proofed house, but a house-proofed baby.