As a mother and therapist it is still surprising to learn of the old-school thinking still in existence. Adherence that children must follow given rules before their little brains have physiologically developed enough for this to be possible. The expectation that they be able to comprehend and understand what it means to avoid the allure of the sparkly, pretty, brightly-colored balls, tinsel, and streams of flashing, mesmerizing lights on the Christmas tree or any of the other beautiful decorations we adorn our homes with during other holiday traditions practiced throughout the year. Some experts recommend decorating the tree only to the point where your toddler is not able to reach the decorations. Another idea is to put up a secure child gate around the tree and presents.
Unfortunately, attitudes and beliefs change slower than the rocket speed increases in medical technology and it is tough enough just to keep pace with the routine of the day. Then there are those that are content with the old ways, not recognizing that they could be bettering good parenting skills to ensure their child gets the most out of life.
Most of us do not read the American Psychological Association’s (APA) publications and-or the American Medical Association’s (AMA) journals but for those of us who browse it you should know that the AMA now has evidence to support the fact that higher cortical functioning does not fully develop until some time around your early 30s. This means executive functions such as organization (which is needed for memory), strategizing, and planning may not be fully developed until one’s early 30s. This does not mean you have to wait until your child is 30 to expect them not to play with the Christmas tree ornaments, however, it does bring to light the fact that it takes time to development certain skills that we, as adults, take for granted every day.
Have you ever asked your toddler not to touch something only to turn your head for a split second and find them touching it? There is good reason for this. A young toddler does not have the capacity for memory as a young child does. This is because their brains are still not developed enough for them to remember that you just told them not to play with the decorations. In contrast, it is quite natural and the job of a young toddler to explore the world around them as this stimulates parts of the brain that develop pathways promoting growth and development. Part of exploring is finding out what their senses are all about: tasting, feeling, hearing, seeing and touching. These are brand new experiences for them. It falls on us as parents to assume responsibility for our children’s exploration and to provide an environment that allows for as much of this as possible.
There are a myriad of ways we can childproof our home to avoid accidents and harm to our children if we can get creative while still allowing for exploration.
Day-to-day childproofing strategies include putting childproof cabinet and drawer locks on the silverware drawers and cabinets in the kitchen where knives, forks, and cleaners are kept. These can be purchased at Wal-Mart, K-mart, Target, Meijer or any other store of this nature.
Electrical units should be covered period. Covers for outlets can also be bought at almost any retail outlet. Chargers for cell phones and game boys are commonly left plugged in to an electrical outlet. If left unattended this can result in incidents where children have picked up the end of the cord and stuck it in their mouth only to be electrocuted.
When cooking on an oven range please use the back burners. Often toddlers reach up and knock off boiling water on to their little bodies during those rare split-second intervals when the parent turns their head for a second. A lot can happen in one second.
Medications should be kept on a top shelf that only adults can reach for obvious reasons.
Bath tub time must be supervised by an adult. A toddler can drown in situations that are unique with minimal amounts of water in the tub. These curious, exploratory children sometimes desire to turn the water on or stand up and can easily slip, hit their heads on the water spout, and fall in to the water. Children have drowned this way. Covers for your waterspout can also be purchased at your local retail outlet to avoid head trauma from a slip or fall.
Children curious about the water falling from the spout will quickly observe and learn how to turn on the water. Absent of supervision, the child could scald themselves with hot water. Also, hot water vaporizes/humidifiers have been known to cause severe burns in children. Be sure hot water vaporizes/humidifiers are not within reach of an infant/toddler. Often what parents do is put the vaporizer/humidifier up on a dresser next to the bed in an attempt to get the vaporizing fumes as close to the child as possible. Unfortunately, the infant/toddler can pull on the cord pouring the hot water over their body.
Child Protective Services for the State of Indiana has reported that neglect is one of the main reasons they are contacted.
As burgeoning work and family demands continue to require parents to tightly schedule events, it gets more difficult to remain conscious and alert to these minor every day incidents but these tips can give you some relief while keeping your child safe.