The traditional image of a mother and baby at home features a piece of furniture known as the playpen. The image might depict a mother hard at work ironing, baking or cooking, while a child plays contentedly in their playpen, with a few toys. The image suggests that the child will be happy in such a place for quite a long period of time, or at least enough time for a mother to get a specific task accomplished.
More and more child experts are encouraging parents to allow their children more space and freedom around the house. Restricting children to a small space can be frustrating for children who have a natural instinct to seek out and explore. However this involves a risk that they may hurt themselves and, more often, cause a certain level of chaos around the home.
Parents can be terrified by reports of increasing numbers of child deaths and serious accidents within the home. They feel they need to do everything possible in order to keep their child safe. The question though is at what price? Are children overprotected today? How do parents protect their children without being over the top and inhibiting their natural and healthy instincts to explore and learn?
Many experts recommend that instead of restricting your child’s movement around the house, it is far better to set up your home environment so that is a relatively safe place for a child to explore and play. There is an assortment of baby proofing devices that can be found. Cupboard locks are a favourite for mothers in the kitchen as children love nothing more than to open and shut cupboard doors and explore what is inside. However, it’s often fun if one cupboard can be left unlocked. Perhaps a cupboard that contains the plastic storage containers or other harmless unbreakable items would be a good choice. This way the child is kept locked out of the majority of the kitchen, yet at the same time has a little space of their own.
The sitting room has traditionally been a place where parents are loath to leave their children. Vases, ornaments and electronic equipment are all vulnerable to children’s curious hands as well as potentially dangerous. It can be useful to adapt your sitting room to your children. So remove all potential hazards, install some plug socket covers, get a fire place guard and allow your child to roam and explore and enjoy the space without worry.
There is an alternative to the traditional playpen that some parents find useful. These newer versions are more like stair gates, but with several sides. They give the child quite a large space to play in, can be moved around the house quite easily and can also be used as a room divider. These modern playpens are much more versatile and adaptable. The idea is that a child may need to be put in a safe place temporarily when a mother needs to leave the room or get a specific task done, but it is no longer considered necessary or healthy for a child to remain there for a long period of time.
Parents are naturally concerned and worried about the safety of their home, but at the same time they should remember their home can be a wonderful playground and learning environment for their child. With the right attitude and an assortment of baby proofing products, the right balance can hopefully be found.