If you’re a parent, you already know that babies and toddlers tend to enjoy playing with random household items just as much as regular toys. For me, deciding on what non-toy items that Rowdy is allowed to play with was something that I had to really think about. I knew that I didn’t want to allow him to play with any and every thing in the house, but I also wanted him to be able to explore and learn.
To go along with the kindness motto, I think that consideration and care for one’s belongings are very important, therefore I quickly decided that my books are off-limits. Now, of course his books aren’t off-limits, and it’s easy for him to tell the difference. My books are on the bookcase in the living room, while Rowdy’s books are on the bookcase in his room. And at one-year-old, Rowdy knows that he should not mess with my books. When he does, I can say “No, no” long and low and he quickly slides the book back into place (most of the time). This is a great way for Rowdy to learn his boundaries. I keep the common areas of our home Rowdy-friendly and very clear of clutter, but I decided that I want my bookcase to hold my books and decorative items, and that was that. We alter our lives in many ways when we have a baby, but I was determined to stand my ground on some things, like my bookcase.
A few months ago, I let Rowdy explore the pantry a bit. After I realized how exciting it was for him to go in there, I decided to make it Rowdy-friendly. I moved any heavy or dangerous items completely out of his reach on high shelves, and I even put a basket of fake fruit and veggies within his reach on purpose. I don’t keep the door open regularly, so when he does get to go in there, it’s kind of a special experience. A treat. (If you’re a brand new parent or parent-to-be, you’ll soon understand how important it can be to keep things fresh and new. Some babies can get bored with the same ol’ thing easily.)
Just the other day, I opened up the pots and pans cabinet for him. All of our cabinets have baby-proof latches on them, but I decided to open that one up for Rowdy to let him explore. He loved it, of course. Not to mention, it kept him busy and happy while I got a few kitchen-related tasks done. 🙂
Sometimes I resist the idea of letting Rowdy explore certain things. I’m a control freak by nature. But one thing that being a parent has taught me is how to let go and to realize that I can’t control everything. I believe that balancing what Rowdy is and is not allowed to play with in our home is a great contribution to encouraging kindness and consideration.
What types of items do you allow your little one to explore and play with?