Babyproofing Your Bedroom
When you consider transitioning your child's bedroom to a Montessori Bedroom where they have more freedom, it is really important to ensure the rest of your home environment is safe. Montessori promotes freedom of movement. When using traditional babyproofing methods, you restrict the child from exploring their environment. Instead of locking everything up, find a way of making the environment safe. Take away any dangerous objects out of the child’s reach. In Montessori, the children are provided with hazardous equipment such as knives and tools, and they can use them under strict supervision. Making sure the environment is safe is essential when using Montessori methods. Here are some helpful tips for babyproofing a Montessori environment:
1. Corner guards: When your child has freedom of movement, they will likely bump their heads and bodies on sharp corners around the house. Using corner guards will give you peace of mind when letting your child roam freely. Corner guards are not usually used in Montessori, as children learn the consequences of bumping themselves, and they avoid doing it again. Either way, safety is always what is most important—do what works best for you and your child.
2. Secure furniture to the wall: Toddlers love to climb, and when they are free to roam, they will more than likely climb on anything and everything. Heavy furniture can be extremely dangerous if not properly secured. Use furniture anchors to secure all drawers, units, and cabinets to the wall.
3. Put away all dangerous items: For any cabinets and drawers that your child has access to, take away any hazardous items and store them up high or out of the child’s reach. Fill all of the lower cabinets and drawers with everyday objects that will not cause harm. Your child will have the freedom to explore their environment. If you have a cabinet or drawer that you need to keep the child away from, use child safety cabinet locks and ensure that it is entirely secure.
4. Stair gates: Install stair gates at the top and the bottom of the stairs to prevent accidents. Let your child know that once the stair gate is closed, it is oﬀ-limits.
5. Cover all power sockets: Buy good quality power socket protectors and install them everywhere in your house. Children are curious, and if they find a small hole in the wall, they will more than likely try to stick their finger in it. Ensure that the power socket covers go into the wall firmly and are not easy to take out. If you see your child trying to play with a plug socket, explain the dangers and why it is oﬀ-limits.
6. Put away electrical items: Find a space in your home out of reach of your child to store away any electrical items. To make it easier for you to access your electrical items, store them in a locked box in their usual place.
7. Secure and cover all wires: It can be very dangerous if your child has access to electrical cables. They could pull the wire out of place or bite and chew on them. Secure all wires and cables to the wall and cover them using electrical cable covers.
8. Lock windows and move furniture: Keep your child away from the windows. Make sure you lock them. Move any furniture away from the window to prevent your child from climbing up and reaching it. Consider installing roller blinds, as they may stop your child from wanting to explore the windows.
9. Cover the fireplace: You can buy fire screens, but they are usually lightweight and easily removable. Consider building a sturdy fence around the fireplace to prevent your child from touching the fire.
10. Mount your TV: Televisions are heavy and pose a risk if they are freestanding. To avoid dangers, you can mount the television to the wall.
11. Stove guard: Children watch what we do. Your child will watch you cooking, which may entice them towards the stove. Consider purchasing a stove guard to keep your child away. You could also use knob guards so your child cannot turn on the stove.
As well as babyproofing your home, you can practice safe activities with your child and teach them about the importance of safety. Here are some points to be aware of when practicing safety at home:
- Always supervise your baby when they are in the bath. Do not leave your baby unattended in the tub. Encourage your baby to wash themselves and allow them to move freely, but always under your supervision.
- Wash up together. In Montessori, children are encouraged to wash their cups and plates. If you have a stool for your child, ensure you supervise them on it. Always clean the dishes together as your child may accidentally fall, break the dishes, or put soap in their mouth or eyes.
- Supervise your child on the stairs. Keep the stair gate closed at all times unless you are present. Your child will, at some point, want to venture up and down the stairs. You can let them explore the stairs under careful supervision. If they can access the stairs without an adult, they could fall and seriously injure themselves.
- Keep your child out of the kitchen if there isn’t an adult present. A kitchen contains a lot of dangerous equipment. Montessori encourages children to help out in the kitchen, but this should always be under supervision. You can provide a Montessori child-sized kitchen for your child so they don’t have to ask for assistance when they need a drink or a snack. If you cannot lock the kitchen door, consider installing a baby gate.
- Use the appropriate toys for your child’s age. You don’t always want to supervise your children when they are playing. Otherwise, you would rarely be able to take your eyes oﬀ of them. Provide your child with age-appropriate toys that pose no dangers. Ensure that the toys are not small enough to be swallowed. Unless you are supervising, keep all toys that could be dangerous away from your children. Always supervise your child when using the “big toilet.” Your child can have a potty at hand. Always accompany your child when they go to the bathroom. There have been cases where a child has fallen into the toilet bowl.
- Eat together. When your child is eating, whether at their own table or sitting around the family table with you, make sure you keep a close eye on them when they are eating. Children can easily choke on their food, and they need you to be around to act quickly if this happens.
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