When considering how to create a suitable environment for your child to grow up in at home, it’s clear that safety should be your first priority. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice stimulation or entertainment value that are critical to a child’s healthy development. It’s perfectly possible to create spaces that combine safety with a novel learning environment to help make sure they get the best of both worlds. Let’s look at some of the ways you can implement this philosophy in a practical and straightforward manner.
Think Like a Child
Children are naturally curious and so are particularly given to exploration in whichever environment you put them in. You may be tempted to establish boundaries around the home in a negative manner by spending all day telling them what they shouldn’t do or where they can’t go. Whilst this will naturally occur every now and then, it’s possible to design an environment in an intuitive fashion to help redirect your child’s interest in a safe and sensible direction. Try looking at a space from a child’s-eye view. See a space from a child’s perspective to help identify the sources of potential harm before anyone has an accident.
Keep Hazards Out of Reach
Obviously, certain domestic items should be kept well out of the reach of children. Household cleaning goods, gardening supplies and medicine should be areas of particular concern. Bear in mind that even if they’re out of the child’s reach, resourceful children can sometimes drag chairs to help them clamber on top of higher surfaces and get to out of reach items. For this reason, you might want to consider installing locks on the cabinets where some of these items are placed. At the very least, you don’t want to keep them in any proximity to areas where a child will take an increased in: for example do not keep medicines in the same areas as you might keep cookies or other treats a child might try to get access to.
Separate Your Spaces
You can save both yourself and your children a lot of time, hassle and disciplinary action by ensuring that various spaces are differently purposed for your child’s particular needs. For example, have a dedicated playroom where you keep and organise all of their toys. This way you can purpose the room for their specific needs, and it also makes it easier to keep them focused when playtime is over. If you have every room filled with toys, it will be much harder to calm them down when it comes time to eat, wash or go to sleep. Another good idea to limit the harm children can do themselves is by minimizing the amount of “runways” in your home. A “runway” is a long narrow space like a hallway or corridor where children can pick up speed and will be encouraged to run, increasing the likelihood of them crashing into furniture or falling over. By placing a chair or other small item of furniture in these spaces, you can dissuade children from practicing such dangerous behaviours.
Toys and Games
As far as the toys you do allow, don’t just leave them with action figures or stuffed animals: paper, pencils and coloring in pens or crayons will give them a chance to exercise creativity in a way normal toys won’t Just be sure that you use non-toxic items that are age appropriate to your child; you don’t want to leave toys with small parts around young children who might try to put them in their mouths and swallow them. When it comes to toys, it’s often tempting to unbox them and leave them with the children to play with, but this misses a great opportunity to help nurture your child’s development. If you take some time to use the toys with them and show them the proper way to play with them, you get to offer guidance and show them how to properly treat their possessions in a way that will be useful for them in future.
Invariably there will be a lot of trial and error when it comes to finalising your child’s home environment. Every child is different and will exhibit different behaviours and rates of development growing up. Just make sure to prioritise safety and keep your child’s needs in mind at all times when coming to a decision. Remember, there’s no reason that you’re child can’t play well in safety, as long as you, the parent, keep your attention on what’s really important.