For a parent of young children, decorating your house at Christmas can actually be a dreaded event. Once November hit us, I was immediately thinking of ways I could baby-proof our home to make sure our toddler didn’t manage to get hold of anything that could potentially harm him or break. We have a fairly small living room with very limited space for decorations so I had to be quite creative in the ways I could decorate our home. Seeing as the decorations are usually up in our house for around a month, making sure the place was well and truly toddler-proof was a number one priority.
A lot of parents are against doing any child-proofing and choose to simply teach them not to touch instead. I’m all for doing what works for you and if your children are able to listen and not let the brightly coloured decorations tempt them, then great! But that doesn’t work for all families out there, especially ones with babies who are on the move. Teaching your children to not touch decorations, that are all brand new to them, it can be very stressful and time consuming – the younger the children are the less likely they are to actually understand the concept of danger and they aren’t allowed to touch.
So I have made a list of a different ways you can help to child-proof your home this Christmas period.
First up, the all-important Christmas tree! One of the biggest concerns of mine was ensuring that the tree couldn’t fall over on top of my toddler, so I cornered it off into a small area of the room. To corner it off I used our corner sofa and his toy box; this made an area where he couldn’t really get to without using a lot of energy. It was a success and he has only managed to poke a few tree ornaments twice.
The best way to help protect your tree is to be cost effective and try and use up what you already have. If you have a playpen, it’s simple as all you need to do is find a space where it’ll fit and place your tree inside. Another way is if you have any safety gates available to use then you could try and build your own fence with them. Depending on the layout of your room, you may only need the one to block off the front area.
Or, you could buy one of these tree fences right [here], I personally think they look wonderful and definitely don’t ruin the ‘look’. Even if I wasn’t a parent, I think I would possibly look into buying one!
One of the prettiest options you have is to buy or use up some big cardboard boxes and fill them with heavy objects so they cannot be moved. The boxes would need to be big in comparison to your child, so that they cannot reach over the top of them so it’s really only a good option if you have much young children. You could then gift wrap the boxes to make them look like decorations in their own right!
The last resort option is… wait for it… not buying a tree. I know, Christmas without a tree? It may not be the best solution but if you’re willing to compromise then you can buy some really lovely tree ornaments to go on your shelving units, window sills etc to replace it.
Christmas Tree Ornaments
It definitely isn’t the nicest look ever, but decorating the tree from half way up can be a good option for those who have little else they can do. This way you can ensure that the ornaments are well out of reach from those little grabby hands! You never know, get creative with it and you may end up with a lovely result.
As I have a two-year-old I would never consider buying any ornaments that could break and shatter, regardless of how high up I could place them. If there’s another way to bring them down or a loophole, you can be sure your child will find it!
If your children are in that ‘taste everything’ stage, then this is one of the best tips you can get. You don’t want your little one getting their hands on a tiny jingle bell or dinky little ornaments, so make sure you buy bigger ornaments – so if they do manage to get hold of any, then there’s no worry (as long as they cannot break).
Presents and Under the Tree
To ensure that your tree cannot be pulled over or to minimise that risk, you could place smaller boxes that are filled with heavy items such as bricks or stones, gift-wrap them and place on top of your tree stand.
It may be tempting, but try not to place any presents under your tree until Christmas Eve, as the younger ones will likely be very interested by the colours and patterns and ultimately want to grab and maybe even taste!
Also, consider the option of not having a tree skirt, unless you place heavy objects on top, as it can be tugged and the tree pulled over on top of your little one – a disaster that you want to completely avoid.
Soft cuddly decorations like singing reindeer, cuddly snowmen etc. If they do get their hands on them then no problem! Just put them back in their place once the little ones are in bed. Plus, it gives them a decoration they can actually grab and hold
Get Them Involved!
Why not give your children a tree of their own to decorate, but one that is much safer? You can either buy or create your own felt tree for them to enjoy and play with. It allows them to have something to decorate themselves and get stuck into and may help keep their mind off your tree. I personally adore them and will be getting one next year for my toddler! They look wonderful and is something your child can make again and again.
If you will be displaying ornaments or decorations on a table or surface that your little one can reach the edge of, don’t put a table cloth or material on the top of it – by doing so, you’re giving your little one the chance to drag everything off with one quick tug.