Teaching toddlers safety at home

toddlersafetyIn my previous posts I wrote about the precautions we must take as parents and child proofing, in order to protect our children against the dangers and any possible accidents at home.

As our babies grow into toddling phase we can also teach them, within the scope of their physical and mental abilities, how to protect themselves against such dangers. I want to share the 3 skills I taught my son and I am now teaching my daughter.

PMIconclearTeaching toddlers how to get on and off the couch and bed

When babies start to crawl, we must start child proofing the house. When they start to cruise around, it helps to guide them to develop some of their motor skills. Especially, climbing onto and getting off of a couch or bed.

In the beginning, when they get up by holding on to the furniture, they don’t know how to slowly lower themselves back down and sit. For this reason, you may find your babies, who got up to standing by holding onto the rails of their crib but couldn’t sit back down, crying in bed. You can show them how to do this by giving them a helping hand, and talking them through it.

Figuring out how to climb onto a bed or couch is a piece of cake for active babies. If they don’t know how to get back down safely, we have to keep our eyes on them all the time. You can show this by helping them turn down on their tummies and slowly guiding them to bring their feet to the edge. They can slowly crawl backwards and dangle their feet down and finally slowly lower themselves until their feet touch the floor. After showing this to them a few times, you will be surprised to see how quickly they get it and begin to do it themselves.

PMIconclearTeaching toddlers how to go up and down stairs

If you have stairs in your house, you can’t always keep an eye on your child, or rely on your safety gates. It’s still the best way to keep them safe by mounting baby gates at the top and bottom of your stairs. On the other hand, it’s not good to limit children too much either. They’ll always be curious about the other side of the gate.

We didn’t have any stairs at home when my son was very young. But since there are stairs in this house, I taught them how to use it safely.  I allow my daughter to go up and down them with me. She goes up the stairs at least 5-6 times a day. It’s good gross motor skill practice for her. Initially, they start by crawling up. That’s easy. It becomes dangerous when they try to crawl down head first. So I’ve also taught her how to climb back down.

There are two methods to go down the stairs. One is sitting down, the other on their belly feet first. For smaller babies, it is easier to go down on their belly in the beginning. Because when they are really small, their feet don’t reach the second step down when they are sitting down. As they get taller, they can also go down sitting down. Once again, the important thing is for you to show your baby how. On their belly, they can go down exactly the way they would get off the couch. First they dangle their feet down and when they touch the step below, they drag their body down as well. Babies who get used to going down on their belly can, in time, learn to slide down the stairs quite fast. Back when I didn’t have any children, when I first saw one of my friend’s child go down the stairs like this, I screamed out so loud, thinking the child was tumbling down the stairs, I scared him off worse than he would if he were really tumbling down. Children who have mastered this, are actually quite in control of their movement.

When they start to walk and they are tall enough, they can learn to go up and down by holding onto the railings on the side and placing their feet on each step like an adult.

PMIconclearTeaching toddlers “hot” zones at home

In our kitchen, there’s always food cooking on the stove or in the oven. Since babies and children have a keen desire to imitate us, they want to do the same things we do. Instead of telling them, “That’s hot, don’t touch that,” from afar, it’s better to introduce them to what “hot and cold” is early on.

First start with the hot and cold things your child regularly sees in the house. Set it up as a game, bring their hand close to hot objects such as teacups, coffee mugs, stoves, kettles, pots, pans, heaters, radiators, etc. Don’t touch their hand to very hot surfaces, they’ll feel the heat from a distance. It is very important that you teach this like it’s a game. By the time, they’ll get a sense that “too hot” hurts. While emphasizing the word ‘hot’, you can also use sign language. This way your baby can communicate this to you if their food or drink is uncomfortably hot as well. At home, instead of using baby sign language, we communicate ‘hot’ by blowing on things while making a sound.

These are the 3 major things I taught my babies to help them protect themselves. If there is anything else you teach at home, please share it with us below in the comments section.

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